The chief executive and president of Innovalight, Conrad Burke, won the 2010 Ernst & Young Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year award, the companies announced today, following the ceremony in Dublin, Ireland earlier this week. The award recognizes “entrepreneurs who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses” according to an E&Y press statement.
According to Innovalight’s website its silicon ink technology improves the photon to electron conversion efficiency of solar cells by one percent, which can drive the cost of solar energy down by six percent. Solar cells are semiconductor devices that convert photons from the sun into electrical current.
The U.S. Department of Energy backed Innovalight in 2008 with a $3 million grant for:
“…Developing very high-efficiency, low-cost solar cells and modules by ink-jet printing their proprietary ‘silicon ink’ onto thin-crystalline silicon wafers. The company’s contact-less printing process has been demonstrated to significantly reduce both the manufacturing costs and the complexity required to make today’s highly efficient [solar] cells and modules.”
Under Burke’s leadership, Innovalight has developed sales through licensing and collaboration deals with solar manufacturers, rather than through the manufacture and sales of its own solar photovoltaics. The company’s customers are major manufacturers seeking to increase the megawatts-per-year that they produce per line without increasing expenditures on new equipment. These include several of China’s top solar concerns, among them Yingli Green Energy, JA Power and as of last week SolarFun Power.
In January this year, the company raised $18 million in a series D round led by EDB Investments (EDBI) of Singapore, and joined by Vertex Venture Holdings (the venture subsidiary of Temasek Holdings in Singapore) and its pervious investors: Apax Partners, ARCH Venture Partners, Convexa Capital, Harris & Harris Group, Sevin Rosen Funds and Triton Ventures. That brought Innovalight’s total raised capital, mostly from venture, to about $60 million.
Innovalight is focused on bringing high efficiency, low-cost solar modules to the marketplace. Enabling this manufacturing paradigm shift is the companyâ€™s silicon ink, which has been in development since 2002. Historically, silicon has been processed either as a solid or as a gas. Using liquid based processing Innovalight will dramatically improve the cost and efficiency of todayâ€™s solar modules.
Although technologies and markets have changed dramatically during the last 25 years, the investment principles upon which Sevin Rosen Funds was founded in 1981 have not. The Sevin Rosen team, all seasoned high-tech executives, always takes a very active and team-oriented approach to helping entrepreneurs throughout every stage of the company-building process. Sevin Rosen Funds examine technology trends, identifying those technologies they believe will transform entire industries. Their emphasis is on what will happen next, what will succeed, and then,...