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Posted: Feb 19, 2011
Carbon Nanotube Electrode Manufacturer Closes $3.2 M Funding Round
(Nanowerk News) C3Nano, Inc. this week announced that the company has closed a US $3.2 million round of Series-A financing from China and Silicon Valley-based GSR Ventures. A spinout company from Professor Zhenan Bao's chemical engineering lab at Stanford University, C3Nano has developed a sustainable, proprietary hybrid carbon nanotube (CNT) based transparent electrode ink and film for use in devices such as touch screens, OLED devices, photovoltaic solar panels and flexible displays. C3Nano's revolutionary inks and films are poised to meet the industry's growing demand for a viable, low cost alternative to the predominantly used -- but increasingly scarce -- indium tin oxide (ITO). The funding will support C3Nano's efforts to further develop and scale its technology, engage in joint development programs with customers, and establish strategic channel partnerships.
"We're really looking forward to commercializing this technology," said Cliff Morris, chief executive officer of C3Nano. "For years the display industry has been searching for an alternative to ITO, but everything that came along either underperformed or was too expensive. C3Nano's material delivers a cost-effective, robust, printable, solution-coatable material that enables the industry to move forward without the intrinsic disadvantages and scarcity issues of ITO."
Begun as a project in Professor Bao's lab by Dr. Melbs LeMieux and Dr. Ajay Virkar on solving fundamental problems with CNT conductivity, C3Nano has developed a novel thin film transparent electrode -- one of the basic components for devices ranging from touch sensors in smart phones to solar panels -- to rival the performance levels of ITO. C3Nano's films are cost effective to produce, more durable and flexible and, in some applications, more transparent than conventional ITO-based electrodes. Unlike ITO, which is created using a vacuum sputtering process, C3Nano's material is solution-coated and printable. ITO has been the predominant technology for transparent conductive films up until now. However, supply is increasingly scarce; it is brittle and, therefore, prone to cracking; and, is highly capital intensive for large display screens and unsuitable for flexible displays on plastic. C3Nano uses a hybrid carbon-based material that is abundantly available and intrinsically lower in cost. In addition, the material is flexible and transparent, rendering it an ideal, low cost alternative to ITO.
"C3Nano has taken a simple and unique approach to solving one of the display industry's biggest challenges," stated Kevin Yin, partner at GSR Ventures and a board member at C3Nano. "GSR is excited to support C3Nano in the development of global partnerships, especially in mainland China, Taiwan, and Asia, where many of the leading manufacturers of displays, touch screens, solar, and OLED devices are based."
Headquartered in Hayward, California, C3Nano is an early stage venture backed startup developing a revolutionary new transparent electrode material for applications such as flexible displays, touch screens, solar cells and smart windows. C3Nano was founded in January 2010 based on research and technology developed by Dr. Melbs LeMieux, Director of Materials and Process Engineering, and Dr. Ajay Virkar, Director of Research and Development, with Prof. Zhenan Bao, a member of C3Nano's Board, at Stanford University. C3Nano won the 2010 MIT Clean Energy Prize, and the 2010 NASA Game Changer Technology Award. For more information, please visit www.c3nano.com.
About GSR Ventures
GSR Ventures is a venture capital fund focusing primarily on investing in high-tech start-up companies with substantial operations in China and serving the worldwide market. GSR currently has US$700 million under management and has offices in Beijing and Silicon Valley. For more information, please visit http://www.gsrventures.cn/en.