Nanotech firm raises US$9.5m

4 May 2004

Irish nanotechnology hopeful Ntera Ltd has secured US$9.5m in funding, bringing to US$30m the total raised by the company to date.

The latest funding round was led by Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures, with existing shareholders also participating in the round.

George Powlick, partner, Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures and Don Caldwell, senior managing director, Cross Atlantic Technology Partners will join the board of Ntera.

In a statement, Ntera said the funds raised would be used to drive the company’s sales and marketing efforts internationally and to underpin production of Ntera’s NanoChromics Displays at its plants in Taiwan and Dublin.

These displays use patented nanotechnology that are designed to improve optical performance and cost effectiveness compared with existing LCD and new display technologies.

“The compelling advantages of Ntera’s display technology, combined with the ability to produce the displays on existing LCD manufacturing lines, has enabled it to secure significant customer interest and traction,” said Powlick.

“The company has a number of early successes under its belt and we look forward to working with the company’s management team in maximising its potential.”

In the low-resolution display market (eg clocks, white goods, meters, instrumentation displays), Ntera both sells its products direct to end customers and has OEM agreements with several LCD manufacturers that are licensed to use it in their products. The company also said it plans to enter the high-resolution display market (eg notebooks, PDAs, e-readers, etc) and is talking to a number of strategic partners about gaining access to it.

“We have made great strides in bringing our NanoChromics display technology to market,” said Laura Shesgreen, chief finance officer, NteraLtd. “This latest round of funding is another major milestone in our development. It will help us continue to exceed customer expectations and expand our product offerings.”

Stillorgan-based NTera, formerly known as Nanomat, was established as a UCD campus company in 1997 to develop and commercialise nanomaterials, tiny computers that are up to 100,000 times thinner than the average human hair and which can be used in a variety of industrial and medical applications.

In 2001, the company acquired Swiss battery technology firm Xoliox for around €4m in cash and shares.

By Brian Skelly