Boston-Power, Inc., a provider of lithium-ion battery cells, modules and systems, today announced $125 million in new funding from a combination of private equity investment and support from China. The growth capital and Chinese government incentives will be used predominantly to scale manufacturing, research and development, and business development activities in China for the company’s energy storage technology and products.
The private equity round was led by GSR Ventures, a venture capital firm with over $1 billion under management that invests primarily in early stage and growth stage technology companies with substantial operations in China. GSR Ventures has offices in Beijing and Silicon Valley. Additionally, through its stimulus programs and local industrial policies, the Chinese government is providing a range of grants, low-interest loans and related financial and tax incentives. Existing Boston-Power investors Oak Investment Partners andFoundation Asset Management (FAM) also participated in the round.
"Innovation in energy storage is redefining whole industries and allowing us to rethink what’s possible for transportation, utilities, consumer electronics and countless other sectors," said Boston-Power Founder and International Chairman Dr. Christina Lampe-Önnerud. "The company’s mission has always been to deliver longer lasting, better performing, faster charging, safer and more environmentally sustainable battery solutions to fuel these profound shifts. The growth capital and incentives announced today position Boston-Power even more strongly to continue to deliver game-changing energy storage to customers from around the world."
As part of its plans, Boston-Power is establishing an R&D and EV battery engineering facility in China. This organization will build upon the current generation of Boston-Power’s lithium-ion battery technology to develop new energy storage products and solutions. The company also will build a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in China that will be capable of producing 400 megawatt hours (MWh) of lithium-ion battery cells annually by the end of 2012.
This substantial infusion of capital and incentives will help drive Boston-Power’s solutions more deeply into China – the world’s largest market for clean tech and energy storage products. Due to the strategy to focus predominantly on China in both the immediate and longer term, the company is reallocating its global resources. This includes transitioning a number of positions and responsibilities from its Westborough, Massachusetts offices. Doing so will enable Boston-Power to operate most effectively by having the optimal mix of staff and operations where they will provide the greatest value to customers, prospects and partners. Details are still being finalized; however, the team in Westborough will maintain responsibility for intellectual property development, research and development, global customer support, sales and business development and partnerships with advanced research organizations in the Boston area.
As part of its investment in Boston-Power, GSR Ventures Managing Director Sonny Wu will serve as chairman of the board of directors. With a focus on the new energy, semiconductor and new materials sectors, he is a high technology and investment executive with a track record for introducing companies into China and guiding them to market leadership.
"China is building world-class companies in the clean technology space and is investing substantial amounts of resources and public policy to accomplish that goal," Wu said. "There is significant and rapidly expanding demand for Boston-Power’s batteries here, as highlighted by the government’s unprecedented support for electric vehicles. GSR Ventures identified and aggressively pursued this opportunity and we welcome Boston-Power to the list of companies in which we’re investing – particularly co-investing with long-term, value-driven investment partners like Oak and FAM. We’re excited by what lies ahead and know the best is yet to come."
Wu co-founded GSR Ventures in 2004, following a series of senior-level positions with Nortel Networks, Shanghai ASMC, Shanghai Nortel Semiconductors Corporation and Guangdong Nortel Telecom Corporation. He was raised in China and completed his education in engineering physics at the University of British Columbia, the University of California at Berkeley and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as a Sloan Fellow.
Along with Lampe-Önnerud, Boston-Power’s board includes Bandel Carano, managing partner, and Allan C.Y. Kwan, venture partner, Oak Investment Partners; Richard Nilsson, senior analyst, Foundation Asset Management; and Robert C. Purcell, Jr., CEO, Protean Electric and a 32-year auto industry veteran responsible for the development and production of the GM EV-1, the world’s first modern electric vehicle.
GSR Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm focused on building world-class technology companies in China. The firm invests primarily in the Internet, wireless, green technology, and semiconductor sectors. Founded in 2004, GSR has more than 50 companies in its portfolio and more than US$1 billion under management.
Established in 1978, Oak Investment Partners is a venture capital firm with a strong track record as a multi-stage investor. Their primary investment focus is on high growth opportunities in information technology, clean energy, communications, Internet, financial services information technology, semiconductors, healthcare services, and retail. Oak concentrates on building long-term relationships with experienced management teams to develop successful companies that deliver consistent performance over time. These include 2Wire, Aquantive, Athenahealth, CBORD Group, Compaq, Fastclick, Genzyme, Gmarket, Inktomi, Parametric Technology Corporation, PictureTel, Polycom, Seagate Technologies, Synopsys, TeleAtlas, Virata, Wireless Facilities, etc.
Boston-Power, Inc. is an award-winning systems provider of next-generation lithium-ion battery cells, blocks, modules and systems. Designed to fuel a wide range of applications, its flagship offerings, Swing® and Sonata®, serve as the foundation for a new era of longer lasting, faster charging, safer and environmentally sustainable batteries. The company’s Swing product delivers unmatched capabilities for Battery Electric and Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (BEV/PHEV), and utility energy storage applications. Sonata delivers industry leading performance to the portable power and notebook computer markets.
Founded in 2005 by International Chairman Dr. Christina Lampe-Önnerud, a globally recognized innovator, entrepreneur and technology advisor with regard to portable power, energy storage and climate change, Boston-Power has more than 150 patents filed on its breakthrough technology. The company has earned accolades for its executive leadership and technology from organizations that include The Wall Street Journal, the World Economic Forum, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA). Boston-Power is headquartered in Westborough, Massachusetts, and has Six Sigma-level mass manufacturing operations in Asia.