Canadian quantum dot company QD Solar has closed Series A funding led by DSM Venturing with participation from existing investors, KAUST Innovation Fund and MaRS Innovation. Royal DSM is a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials.
QD Solar's underlying solar technology was developed in the Nanomaterials for Energy Laboratory, part of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto. The first QD Solar product, an insert into conventional silicon solar panels, has potential to increase energy output of solar panels by 20 percent, according to the company. The product is based on QD Solar's colloidal quantum dot technology that captures infrared energy that is currently wasted.
Longer term, QD Solar intends to develop quantum dot-based solar material that can be applied to any flexible surface to generate energy.
QD Solar is a winner of the 2016 SunRISE TechBridge Challenge, a competition organised by Royal DSM, Fraunhofer, and Greentown Labs to realise innovations in Solar Energy. The development of this technology is also supported by project funding that was announced in March 2016 from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC).
"DSM has extensive experience developing and commercialising material-based solutions for high-tech markets. We are excited to be a winner of the SunRISE challenge that enabled us to receive funding from DSM Venturing and start working with DSM Solar business on commercialising our technology," said Dan Shea, CEO of QD Solar, a former senior executive with Celestica and BlackBerry with extensive experience in manufacturing and the cleantech sector.
"With the combination of the Series A and SDTC funding, QD Solar has the resources to advance, develop, test and de-risk our solar technology while concurrently developing the manufacturing processes needed to bring this technology to market," he added.
"QD Solar is an excellent addition to our portfolio and a great example of a company that we were looking for in SunRISE that fits with DSM strategically and has the potential to revolutionise the solar market," said Pieter Wolters, managing director, DSM Venturing. "We are excited to help the company leverage their early successes and bring the technology to market."
"We are delighted to partner with DSM to further support QD Solar and its breakthrough hybrid quantum dots/crystalline silicon solution," said Nicola Bettio, Director of the KAUST Innovation Fund. "We stand at the cusp of a new era in which the paradigm for new energy is changing. This investment is very much in line with our aim to support technology-based ventures that have a very positive global impact on sustainability."
"MaRS Innovation worked closely with the University of Toronto to found, seed-fund, and incubate QD Solar, because of the game-changing potential of the technology," says Raphael Hofstein, CEO, of MaRS Innovation. "We are thrilled to see this endorsement of the company, and the technology, from leading investors like DSM and KAUST, as well as the Government of Canada, through SDTC."