UniQuest clean tech start-up Brisbane Materials snags $5 million
Tuesday, September 25, 2012/
Clean tech start-up Brisbane Materials, which has emerged from research commercialisation firm UniQuest, has closed a $5 million Series A funding round as it seeks to scale up its R&D, manufacturing and marketing both domestically and overseas.
Brisbane Materials, based in Brisbane and Silicon Valley, is a specialty materials company focused on creating innovative materials solutions for solar and other applications.
It has patented technology for creating high-performance, low-cost, wide-area coatings of porous silica and other materials, made at room temperature and atmospheric pressure.
For solar applications, the company’s anti-reflective coatings provide a cost-effective power increase when applied to glass, plastic and other substrates.
Now, the company has closed a $5 million Series A funding round, including $2.5 million from first-time investor Southern Cross Renewable Energy Fund.
This fund was set up specifically to assist early stage Australian companies in the renewable energy sector.
The round was led by Southern Cross Venture Partners and included co-investor New Venture Partners. It will help Brisbane Materials scale up its R&D and manufacturing operations.
The funding round will also enable the company to expand its sales and marketing efforts around the world.
“To be the very first recipient of an internationally supported clean tech syndication is… a very significant achievement,” UniQuest managing director David Henderson says.
“[It is] also a resounding vote of confidence in university-based Australian renewable energy research.”
According to Henderson, the Brisbane Materials journey began with a “serendipitous discovery” by former PhD student Dr Michael Harvey, who is now the company’s chief technology officer.
“Harvey [was] working with his technical co-founder, UQ’s Professor Paul Meredith,” he says.
“Under the experienced leadership of US-based CEO Dr Gary H. Wiseman, the BMT team has continued to develop its unique anti-reflection solar energy technology.”
“This injection of funds has opened up a whole new chapter in its research commercialisation story, and we are proud to have been involved thus far.”
In March last year, UniQuest provided seed funding to form Brisbane Materials, along with angel investors in Silicon Valley and a Queensland Government grant.
In July this year, Brisbane Materials formed a strategic partnership with EV Group, a leading supplier of turnkey manufacturing systems for the solar, display, electronics and other markets.
Under a cooperation agreement, EVG has optimised its large-area coating systems for the company’s unique materials and processes.
This has enabled the two companies to provide to customers a turnkey solution for high-yield fabrication of anti-reflective coatings with industry-leading performance and cost.
Brisbane Materials and EVG are jointly exhibiting at the European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition, which is being held in Frankfurt from September 24-28.