Solaicx Closes $27.1 Million Series C Funding Round

The D. E. Shaw Group Leads, Mitsui Ventures Joins and Applied Materials

Increases Investment



May 08, 2007, 01:00 ET from Solaicx

    SANTA CLARA, Calif., May 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Solaicx, a leading
 manufacturer of mono-crystalline silicon ingots and wafers optimized for
 photovoltaic applications, today announced it has closed $27.1 million in
 Series C financing. The D. E. Shaw group is the lead investor in the
 funding round, which includes a new investment from Mitsui Ventures and
 follow-on investments from Applied Ventures, LLC (the venture capital arm
 of Applied Materials, Inc.), Firsthand Capital Management, Big Sky
 Ventures, and Greenhouse Capital Partners.
     "We have a strong interest in emerging leaders in the alternative
 energy space and are delighted to support Solaicx through this investment,"
 said Alexander Wong, head of venture capital at the D. E. Shaw group.
 "Solaicx plays a crucial role in the solar energy value chain. Their
 continuous ingot growth technology provides the best of both worlds by
 increasing energy conversion efficiencies and reducing material costs.
 Ultimately, this translates to more cost-competitive solar energy for
 everyone."
     "We look forward to working with Solaicx to help them expand into the
 global marketplace," said David Takeuchi, investment partner at Mitsui
 Ventures' Silicon Valley office. "Solaicx's Series C round gave us the
 perfect opportunity to get involved in an extremely promising solar play.
 We are pleased to have them as part of our cleantech portfolio."
     J. Christopher Moran, vice president and general manager of Applied
 Ventures, added, "Since we invested in the company last fall, Solaicx has
 made great strides with its unique manufacturing technology. This
 technology will benefit the photovoltaic industry as it ramps up to meet
 growing demand."
     Solaicx's proprietary, continuous Czochralski (CZ) high-volume ingot
 and wafer production system improves on every factor of the manufacturing
 process, which results in superior quality silicon ingots. Solaicx employs
 streamlined ingot production techniques and up to 30% higher efficiencies
 in polysilicon feedstock usage to enable reduced costs throughout the solar
 electricity value chain.
     "Our investment partners enable Solaicx to pursue a rapid growth
 strategy. This capital will help Solaicx accelerate our production of high
 quality solar ingots and wafers," said Bob Ford, president and CEO of
 Solaicx. "The scale of this funding round enables us to execute on our
 large-scale manufacturing plans -- to deliver on our promise to
 dramatically reduce the cost of solar. In the end, this allows more people
 to take advantage of this critical energy technology."
     About Solaicx
     Solaicx is a manufacturer of low-cost, high-efficiency silicon wafers
 for the photovoltaic (PV) industry. By designing and building equipment
 optimized for the high volume, continuous manufacture of high-performance,
 single crystal silicon ingots, Solaicx creates significant competitive
 advantages, in terms of cost and quality, which are then passed through the
 value chain of the silicon-based solar cell manufacturing market. For more
 information, visit www.solaicx.com.
     About the D. E. Shaw Group
     The D. E. Shaw Group is a global investment and technology development
 firm. Since its organization in 1988, the firm has earned an international
 reputation for financial innovation, technological leadership, and an
 extraordinary distinguished staff. The D. E. Shaw group encompasses a
 number of closely related entities with more than 1,000 employees,
 approximately $29 billion in aggregate investment capital, and offices in
 New York, London, Silicon Valley, Houston, Kansas City, San Francisco,
 Washington, D.C., Bermuda, and Hyderabad and Gurgaon, India. www.deshaw.com
     About Mitsui Ventures
     Mitsui Ventures is the venture investment arm of Mitsui & Co., Ltd., an
 international trading and investment company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan
 (www.mitsui.co.jp). Mitsui Ventures acts as a financial investor and mainly
 provides early stage capital to entrepreneurial ventures in the world. Over
 the years, with a special expertise to accelerate business growth globally,
 Mitsui Ventures has invested in and contributed to the success of start-ups
 in the fields of communication, software, information services, life
 science, medical device, and retail services. Located in Tokyo, New York,
 Silicon Valley, Shanghai and Seoul, Mitsui Ventures currently manages over
 US$350 million in capital. www.mitsuiventures.com
     About Applied Ventures
     Applied Ventures, LLC (www.appliedventures.com), a subsidiary of
 Applied Materials, Inc., invests in early stage companies with high growth
 potential pursuing technologies that provide a natural extension to Applied
 Materials' core business and innovations that stimulate the growth of
 applications for semiconductors, displays and related products and
 services. Applied Materials, Inc. is the global leader in Nanomanufacturing
 Technology(TM) solutions with a broad portfolio of innovative equipment,
 service and software products for the fabrication of semiconductor chips,
 flat panels, solar photovoltaic cells, flexible electronics and energy
 efficient glass (www.appliedmaterials.com).
     About Firsthand Capital Management, Inc.
     Firsthand Capital Management, Inc. was founded in 1993 and is a
 California corporation and SEC-registered investment adviser. Firsthand has
 years of experience in managing public- and private-equity technology
 investments. The firm currently manages approximately $750 million,
 primarily in technology- sector mutual funds and separate accounts.
     About Big Sky Partners
     Big Sky Partners is a Los Angeles, Calif.-based early stage venture
 capital firm that invests across a range of high tech startups and select
 emerging growth companies. The firm applies a cross sector approach to
 investing at the seed and early stage levels, with a particular focus on
 cleantech, software as a service, digital media, and wireless broadband
 applications. Managing Partner, Michael Schwab, sits on the Board of
 Directors of Solaicx, MongoNet, and several other Big Sky portfolio
 companies. For more information, please visit www.bigskyvc.com.
     About Greenhouse Capital Partners
     Greenhouse Capital Partners is a Sausalito, Calif.-based seed stage
 venture fund with a primary focus on early stage cleantech opportunities.
 The Fund's principals have been early investors in Solaicx since the seed
 round, and are currently reviewing opportunities in the solar, biomass,
 hydrogen, recycled plastics and other emerging growth markets. Managing
 Partner, Peter D. Henig, currently sits on the Board of Directors of
 InsideView and the Board of Advisors of PVI Solutions. For more
 information, please visit www.greenhousecapital.net.
     Media Contact:
     Sonia Aggarwal, Antenna Group for Solaicx
     sonia@antennagroup.com, 415-977-1921
 
 

SOURCE Solaicx