Nanosys raises blockbuster $30M despite skeptical VC community

April 24, 2003 — Nanosys Inc. has raised $30 million in the first close of a second round of venture financing despite a lackluster funding environment riddled with newly minted skeptics. Larry Bock, the company’s president and chief executive said the company will close on additional funds in a few weeks.


The round brought on a slew of new investors, including CDIB BioScience Ventures, Chiao Tung Bank, China Development Industrial Bank, Harris & Harris, Lux Capital, Quanta Computer and SAIC Venture Capital Corp.  Previous investors that also participated include a bevy of blue chip venture funds, including ARCH Venture PartnersCW GroupPolaris Venture Partners, Venrock Associates, Prospect Venture Partners and Alexandria Real Estate Equities.


Nanosys previously announced a $15 million round in February 2002, the company’s first major round, of which Bock said the company still has $10 million. Prior to that, Nanosys raised $1.7 million in initial funding in October, 2001. In addition, the company has secured about $14 million in non-equity grants and contracts, according to Bock. In January, the company announced a deal with Matsushita Electric Works to develop solar cells for the Asian building materials market.


The company’s three development programs cover chemical and biological sensors, photovoltaics and macroelectronics. Macroelectronics, or large area flexible electronics, can be used in applications as diverse as RFID tags, wearable electronics and flat panel displays. Bock said the company is about two-and-a-half years away from a product. The first will probably be nucleic acid sensors for drug development. Nanosys has just under 30 full-time employees on its scientific staff.


The science behind the products — inorganic nanomaterials such as nanowires and nanorods — was developed largely in a number of academic research labs. The company’s scientific founders include Harvard chemists Charles Lieber and Hongkun Park and University of California at Berkeley chemist Paul Alivisatos.


Bock said he expects current financing will be sufficient to carry the company into the black and that the company will soon announce new strategic partnerships.


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