Kleiner Perkins-Backed Solasta folds

Solasta, the Massachusetts solar cell startup which had scored a $2.7 million Department of Energy loan guarantee, has closed shop.

The news , which also reports  that besides the DOE guarantee  the company had also raised a Series A in late 2008 from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Solasta was looking  to create and commercialize low-cost solar cells. The firm, which was launched in 2006 by three Boston College physics professors, has returned the DOE grants.

The closing of the company, despite stellar support from private and public capital, underscores the challenges promising cleantech companies face as they try to maneuver out of the “valley of death” – the financing gap created when venture capital funding is exhausted but before they can access more funding.

Interestingly, in an email to Greentech Media, Solasta Chief Technology Officer Michael Naughton says the company has sold some of its technology and IP portfolio to a Chinese research center.

Naughton writes:

After a reassessment of the thin-film solar market by its venture capital investors, Solasta has shut down. It has executed a sale of its assets, consisting of laboratory-scale solar cell fabrication and characterization equipment, and intellectual property. The former includes a license to the original nanocoax solar technology, still held by Boston College, as well as additional IP generated by the company.

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