Heliatek receives US$ 27 million to continue development of organic solar cells
- Wellington Partners leads second round of financing
- New funding earmarked for building an initial production facility in Dresden
- Production of efficient, flexible and extremely lightweight PV modules on film
Heliatek GmbH, a pioneer in the field of organic solar cells, is receiving US$ 27 million (€ 18 million) in a second round of financing under the lead of the pan-European venture capital firm Wellington Partners. Also participating in this round are the industrial investor Bosch and the corporate venture capital investors RWE Innogy Ventures and BASF Venture Capital, the High-Tech-Gründerfonds, eCAPITAL entrepreneurial Partners AG, the Technologiegründerfonds Sachsen Start-up GmbH & Co. KG and GP Bullhound Sidecar.
Heliatek will be utilizing the new funding primarily to build an initial production facility in Dresden. In this step and right through to mass production, the company will be using its proprietary tandem technology to efficiently produce, flexible and very lightweight PV modules on a film substrate. Their weight will be merely 500 grams per square meter, instead of today's customary 20 kilograms per square meter. This will open up a forward-looking market for mobile applications, for architectural solutions and for independently supplying regions with weak infrastructures.
"We believe that truly break-through 3rd generation technologies that bring PV well beyond grid parity will be the success stories of the future, and we think Heliatek is excellently positioned to capture that opportunity," explained Bart Markus, General Partner of Wellington Partners.
This is affirmed by Crispin Leick, Executive Director of RWE Innogy Ventures: "We want to help to commercialize this innovative technology through our venture capital investment in Heliatek. Organic photovoltaics has the potential to deliver considerable cost savings given the low amount of energy used and the unlimited availability of the raw materials."
Speaking on behalf of the other investors, Dr. Alexander Flaig, Vice President Corporate Research at Robert Bosch notes: "Over the course of the past two years, Heliatek has made impressive progress in terms of the efficiency and service life of its organic solar cells. The time has now come to also show just how cost-efficiently these cells can be manufactured under industrial conditions. This round of financing will enable the company to execute this important step - from the research laboratory to an initial production facility."
Heliatek CEO Dr. Andreas Rückemann explains: "With this new round of financing, we have now created an opportunity to take advantage of our technology edge in this forward-looking market in order to be one of the first suppliers to ramp up a production operation. We are very proud that we have been able to receive the support of the industrial company Bosch and the venture capital investors RWE Innogy Ventures, BASF Venture Capital, Wellington Partners, eCAPITAL and Technologiegründerfonds Sachsen."
Heliatek was advised on this round of financing by the leading European investment bank for technology companies GP Bullhound.
Formed in 2006 as a spin-off from the Universities of Dresden and Ulm, Heliatek GmbH develops organic solar cells incorporating its proprietary tandem technology from so-called "small molecules", organic dyes that are chemically synthesized from hydrocarbons.
In August 2009, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) certified a power conversion efficiency of 6.1% for a solar cell of this type from Heliatek. These rapid advances in efficiency and the outstanding life time of the solar cells are based predominantly upon newly developed organic molecules from the laboratories of Heliatek and BASF.
Heliatek employs a total workforce of 30 people at its locations in Dresden and Ulm. Two strategic investors, BASF and Bosch, participated in an initial round of financing in June 2007; additionally participating was the pan-European venture capital firm Wellington Partners.
Further information is available at www.heliatek.com .
About BASF Venture Capital
BASF Venture Capital GmbH was established in 2001 as a wholly owned subsidiary of BASF Future Business GmbH, Ludwigshafen, Germany, with the aim of exploring new growth potentials based on investment in start-up companies and funds. BASF Venture Capital GmbH's financial commitment per company is in the range of one to five million euros, with active support provided for young start-ups. BASF Venture Capital GmbH selects businesses for investment whose success factors include innovative chemistry-based solutions and which are of strategic interest for BASF. More information about BASF Venture Capital GmbH is available on the internet at www.basf-vc.de .
The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. In the areas of automotive and industrial technology, consumer goods, and building technology, some 280,000 associates generated sales of 45.1 billion euros in the 2008 fiscal year.
The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its more than 300 subsidiaries and regional companies in over 60 countries. If its sales and service partners are included, then Bosch is represented in roughly 150 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further growth.
Each year, Bosch spends more than 3.5 billion euros, or eight percent of its sales revenue, on research and development, and applies for over 3,000 patents worldwide. With all its products and services, Bosch enhances people's quality of life by providing solutions which are both innovative and beneficial. Additional information can be accessed at www.bosch.com .
About RWE Innogy
RWE Innogy GmbH is the company responsible for renewable energies within the RWE Group. The company invests through its venture capital activities in the development and commercialisation of forward-looking renewable energy technologies.
Being a driver for innovative technologies RWE Innogy intends to continue growing its portfolio in the future. Investments in the triple-digit millions are planned for the years ahead. Currently the venture capital portfolio comprises investments in 7 companies active in the sector of wind, hydro and solar power, biomass and energy storage.
In the focus are promising companies throughout Europe which have developed a technology in the area of renewable energies that allow resource-conserving and carbon-neutral energy generation.
More information can be found at www.rweinnogy.com .
About Wellington Partners
Wellington Partners is one of the most successful pan-European venture capital firms. With some € 800 million under management and offices in London, Munich, Palo Alto and Zurich, Wellington invests in companies throughout Europe that have the potential to become global leaders, in particular in the areas of digital media, Cleantech, electronics, software and life sciences.
Since 1998, Wellington Partners has invested in more than 100 companies in Europe and Israel, including now publicly traded firms like Actelion and XING and successful privately held companies like Alando (acquired by eBay), Ciao (acquired by Microsoft) and ImmobilienScout24 (acquired by Deutsche Telekom).
For more information please visit www.wellington-partners.com .
About eCAPITAL entrepreneurial Partners
eCAPITAL is a venture capital company which is managed by entrepreneurs and is based in Münster, Germany. Since 1999, the company has actively been investing in innovative entrepreneurs in seminal industries. The investment focus is on rapidly growing companies in the segments of information technology/communications, process technology/new materials, optical technologies, Cleantech and innovative services.
eCAPITAL currently manages five funds totalling more than € 85 million. The funds invest in companies which are in the early stage and later stage phase, as well as in small and medium-sized companies throughout Germany.
More detailed information can be found at www.ecapital.de .
About Technologiegründerfonds Sachsen (TGFS)
TGFS is a 60Mio €-VC-fund that targets technology start-ups with high growth potential and the opportunity to become market leader in their industry. The fund is managed by an experienced team with a track record of 14 years as highly engaged and committed as the entrepreneurs they support. Fund investors are the State of Saxony, financially supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), three major local saving banks and LBBW. www.tgfs.de