Battery Company Sakti3 Receives $4.2 Million from General Motors Ventures and Itochu Technology Ventures

Sakti3 Sakti3, Inc., an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based developer of next-generation lithium-ion batteries, announced earlier this month that it received an investment of $4.2 million from General Motors Ventures and Itochu Technology Ventures to advance the firm’s manufacturing capabilities. The companies also plan to work together to speed commercialization of Sakti3 battery cells. These two investors join previous investors Khosla Ventures and Beringea.  In April of this year Sakti3 received $7 million in Series B financing from Khosla Ventures and Beringea.

“These investments by General Motors Ventures and Itochu Technology Ventures bring us not only capital, but partnerships that will speed our commercialization efforts,” said Dr. Ann Marie Sastry, CEO of Sakti3. “Our product planning in the automotive and portables sectors will be accelerated by working with these two preeminent firms. The General Motors agreement partners us with a company that is clearly a global leader in vehicle electrification. Itochu Technology Ventures has a strong focus on energy technologies, and on growth markets in Asia. We’re very pleased to have engaged investors who will help us purposefully and quickly create our target products and address key regional markets.”

"GM Ventures is making strategic investments in new technology to support our core automotive business," said Jon Lauckner, president GM Ventures, LLC. "Our objective is to identify start-up companies that offer the best future technology for our vehicles, including next generation propulsion systems. In this case, our investment in Sakti3 gives us access to an innovative battery technology that has the potential to be a mainstream solution for electrically-driven cars and trucks of the future."

The following video contains additional background on Sakti3.

Solaria Raises $65 Million in Series D Financing

Solaria Solaria, a manufacturer of solar photovoltaic modules, announced earlier this month that it has concluded its Series D round of financing with a total amount raised of $65 million.  This figure was $20 million above the company’s original target and included a $10 million growth loan facility from Western Technologies Inc (WTI).

Adams Street Partners, Cycad Group, and WTI recently joined the Series D round, which was led by CMEA Capital and DBL Investors, following a May 2010 close that included Sigma Partners, NGEN Partners, Mitsui Ventures and Savitr Capital. enXco (an EDF Energies Nouvelles Company) also participated in the final close with a small investment.

Solaria will use the newly raised funds to increase availability of their solar modules, which are designed specifically for ground-mounted tracking systems. The company states that its proprietary manufacturing processes require only a fraction of the capital expenditure per watt of manufacturing capacity needed by standard industry processes. Solaria modules are available to customers in North America, Europe, and Asia.

“We’re accelerating production to meet strong demand for our new modules,” said Dan Shugar, CEO of Solaria. “We appreciate our customers and investors’ confidence in Solaria’s ability to deliver a reliable, cost effective product that advances the deployment of industrial and utility-scale solar power plants.”

“We are very pleased to make an investment in Solaria, as we believe they have developed a superior low concentration solar technology ideal for large solar tracking systems,” said Tom Berman, Partner, Adams Street Partners.

“Solaria’s technology promises an aggressive price/performance metric, focused on meeting increased demand from utilities, independent power producers, integrators, and other energy providers who are focused on affordably deploying solar power in the years ahead,” said David Kirkpatrick, vice president of solar development for enXco.

“WTI is pleased to continue its relationship with Solaria and to help them grow to the next phase. WTI is investing in Solaria because they’re gaining solid traction in the solar market, securing leading customers, and partnering with key players in the industry,” said Dan Holman, investment principal, WTI.

Solaria’s corporate headquarters are in Fremont, California and it has operations in Germany and India.  Some additional background on the company is available in the following presentation (in two parts) from Suvi Sharma, President of Solaria.

Green VC Partners with CleanTechnology TV

Green VC is pleased to announce a partnership with CleanTechnology TV (CTTV), a company that produces interviews with entrepreneurs, investors, and other members of the cleantech community.  CTTV focuses on Australia, but also interviews cleantech leaders from other parts of the world.  This partnership will include Green VC featuring video interviews from CTTV.

In the following video, which was recorded in Melbourne at the 2010 AustralAsian Cleantech Forum, CTTV interviewed cleantech venture capital investors, investment analysts, and other members of Australia's cleantech community to find out what they think their country's role will be in the growing global cleantech movement. In order of appearance: