30 June 2011
AlN substrate developer Nitride Solutions’ Series A funding reaches $1.8m
Nitride Solutions Inc of Wichita, KS, USA, which develops substrates for LEDs, lasers and power electronics, has secured major financing commitments from Nebraska Angels and Aurora UV Inc of Santa Barbara, CA (which makes ultraviolet LEDs for applications including air and water purification). Founded in 2009, Nitride Solutions has so far raised $1.8m in a Series A preferred round. Nebraska and Aurora join lead investor Midwest Venture Alliance, in addition to Mid-America Angels and Manhattan Holdings, in the round.
“Our investment group, the Midwest Venture Alliance, is looking to invest in solid management teams that are solving real market problems,” says Wichita Technology Corp's president & CEO Trish Brasted. “They [Nitride Solutions] have put together an experienced business and technical management team that is developing an industry-changing advanced material,” he adds.
Nitride Solutions is developing a manufacturing technology that aims to deliver high-volume, low-cost aluminum nitride (AlN) substrates. With projected defect rates 10 times lower than substrates currently on the market, the substrates will improve the quality of existing LED, laser and electronic products, while also making possible whole new categories of UV devices, the firm reckons. The result should be improved white lighting for consumer and industrial uses, more efficient power systems in hybrid vehicles, sharper color on flat-screen TVs, and better air and water purifiers. Nitride will use the funding to perfect the technology, and to begin manufacturing and sales in late 2011.
“The number of biomedical and industrial applications of LED technology is rapidly growing,” says Karen Linder, co-deal lead for Nebraska Angels in Lincoln, NE. “Nitride Solutions’ novel method of creating substrates on which these crystals can be grown will change the market,” he reckons. “The technology is revolutionary, and the leadership team has the commercial experience and the scientific skills that will make the company successful.” Nitride Solutions’ leadership has more than 30 years of experience in materials businesses — both in start-ups and Fortune 500 companies — and 14 years in crystal development. President & CEO Jeremy Jones was named Kansas PIPELINE 2010 Innovator of the Year for his work at the firm, which maintains strong ties to Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS (with key staff and advisors hailing from the university).
“We expect to benefit with both high financial rewards and the satisfaction that we will have been part of the effort of applying hard science to alleviating some of the world’s most vexing problems, including cheap access to pure water,” says Aurora UV’s president & CEO Muriel Taylor.
Nitride is still seeking a small group of financial and strategic investors to finalize the round, which will stay open until September.