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Sopogy featured on Dow Jones Venture Network

January 28, 2007

Solar Company Sopogy Raises Series A Financing

After six years in development, solar concentration technology developer Sopogy Inc. has emerged from a Hawaiian energy incubator and raised approximately $3 million in angel financing, VentureWire has learned.

The Honolulu-based start-up is the brainchild of Darren Kimura, chief executive officer and chairman of the Hawaiian energy project management firm Energy Industries LLC, and its start-up incubator Energy Laboratories.

“Back in 2001, I created Energy Laboratories, which is our cleantech incubator,” Kimura said. “Energy Laboratories and myself provided the angel capital before the Series A financing [for Sopogy].” The latest financing was raised from individual investors and a syndicate of angels.

Sopogy, which stands for solar-powered energy, has developed a solar technology based on thin-film solar cells and thermal fluid heat transfer, Kimura said.

Currently, the company has manufacturing capacity to produce approximately 30 megawatts of power, but Sopogy is in the process of raising an additional round of financing that would be used to increase capacity to approximately 300 megawatts, Kimura said.

The company, which has five employees, has been granted one patent and has another five pending on its technology, according to Kimura.

Sopogy is currently marketing two products: one designed for commercial and light industrial use and a smaller module for consumers. One of its largest customers is Hawaiian Electric Inc.


Sopogy in VentureBeat.com

January 28, 2007

Sopogy in VentureBeat

Sopogy receives a mention on www.venturebeat.com. Click link to visit site.

Green technology rages

By Matt Marshall 01.25.07 11:29 AM

greentech.bmpInvestments into new green technology companies tripled last year, and the trend continues unabated.

The President is pushing for alternative energy investments, and Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth gets nominated for two Oscars, which will only add fuel to the fire. The spigot is fully open. We’ve seen more green-related fundings today than ever before. Here are the latest:

–See our story today about A123Systems, the lithium-ion battery company that wants to make better electric cars. It just got $40M.

–Nexterra Energy, of Vancouver, a developer of waste-to-energy gasification systems, has just raised $6.8 million in a third round led by ARC Financial.

–Sopogy, a Honolulu developer of solar concentration technology, has emerged from a long incubation period (six years) and received $3 million in angel financing, according to VentureWire (sub required)

–Sulfurcell, a Berlin solar module maker, using thin-film solar technology (which lets you essentially paint solar cells onto roofs and parking lots), has raised under $10 million in a second round of funding. Masdar Clean Tech Fund LP, managed by Credit Suisse Group, led the round, and previous investors, including angel investor Engelbert Giesen, IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft, Vattenfall Europe AG and Ventegis Capital, also participated. It has raised a total of $32 million to date. Silicon Valley companies Miasole and Nanosolar are doing similar things.

–Vancouver’s Day4 Energy, has raised $11 million more to market its highly efficient solar panels. British Columbia Discovery Fund led the round, after having invested $2.8 million earlier.

Sopogy receives Honorable Mention Award from Hawaii Venture Capital Association

January 25, 2007

Sopogy honored by Hawaii Venture Capital Association

Hawaii Venture Capital Association
Deal of the Year – 2006
Hoana Medical, Inc. Tops the List
Award Luncheon Thursday, January 25, 2007

It was a banner year for venture investing in Hawaii as several of Hawaii’s most innovative companies attracted investment capital from within and outside of the state. Thanks to Hawaii’s vibrant climate for technology start-ups, the Hawaii Venture Capital Association is proud to acknowledge Hoana Medical, Inc., as this year’s Venture Capital Deal of the Year award winner. Hoana Medical, Inc. has raised $20.9 million dollars in a $15 million dollar Series D financing. A medical device company founded in 2001, Hoana Medical, Inc. is a spin-off company from Oceanit—one of Hawaii’s largest and most diversified science and engineering companies. Working with Oceanit, Hoana Medical, Inc. incorporated futuristic patient safety technology into everyday medical applications. “During this round of financing we were able to partner with some great investors – nationally and internationally,” said Patrick Sullivan, CEO and founder of Hoana Medical, Inc. “We exceeded our target in less than 8 weeks, eventually turning down investors. The speed and size of the investment underscores the enormity of the patient safety problem Hoana is addressing, and our ability to capture and dominate this untapped segment. This is just the beginning for us, and we are looking forward to working with our partners and investors to continue our expansion efforts.”

HVCA also acknowledges the following companies for their fund raising efforts: Hawaii Nano Sciences, Hawaii Biotech, Cardax, AssistGuide and Sopogy. The combined total amount raised by Hoana and these companies approaches forty million dollars. “The successful fund raising accomplished by these companies as well as several others demonstrates that Hawaii, mainland and foreign investors are recognizing the significant potential and world-class status of our growing innovation sector,” said Bill Spencer, President of the Hawaii Venture Capital Association.

Hoana Medical CEO, Patrick Sullivan, will be the keynote speaker at the Deal of the Year Luncheon, being held Thursday, January 25th, 2007 at the Plaza Club. HVCA members and the public are invited to celebrate the accomplishment of Hoana and five additional companies slated to receive honorable mentions. The entrepreneurs behind the companies receiving an honorable mention will also address luncheon attendees about their fundraising and future plans.

San Jose State University – Energy Lecture Series

January 7, 2007
Sopogy at San Jose State University

San Jose State University
Powering the Silicon Valley

Speakers at a Panel Session on
Clean Energy – Challenges and Opportunities

Moderator: Tai-Ran Hsu, Professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, San Jose State University, San Jose, California
Panelists: Darren T. Kimura, President and CEO, Sopogy Inc., Honolulu, Hawaii (on solar energy technology)
Blake A. Simmons, Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore, California (on fuel cell technology)
Walter Bacharowski, Founder and President, silicon Valley Biodiesel, Inc., San Jose, California (on biomass technology for California)
Jim Robbins, Executive Director, Environmental Business Cluster, San Jose, California. (on business opportunities)

Walter Bacharowski. Walter is the founder and president of Silicon Valley Biodiesel, Inc. in San Jose, California (www.siliconvalleybiodiesel.com). Biodiesel is a liquid fuel that can be used in place of, or blended with petroleum derived diesel fuel. Biodiesel can be produced with wasted oils such as vegetable oil, which is a renewable alternative energy source.
The company was incorporated in 2005 to commercialize the concept of a “distributed urban biodiesel plant” for California.

Walter held a series of engineering, marketing and management positions at General Electric, Monsanto Industrial Chemical Company, Kiethley Instruments, National Semiconductor, NEC electronics and LSI Logics. These positions provided experience in electronic design, instrumentation, process development, and marketing as well as engineering and marketing management.

Walter earned a BS in engineering from Cleveland State University with post graduate work in engineering and marketing at San Jose State University and Golden Gate University.

Tai-Ran Hsu. A Professor with the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA 95192-0087. (tairan@email.sjsu.edu)

His professional career began as a design engineer in large steam generation equipment industry with Montreal Locomotive Works and Combustion Engineering in Canada, and later as a research officer at the Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd specialized in nuclear reactor fuel systems. He was a development engineer at the Large Steam Turbine Division of General Electric in Schenectady, New York prior to joining the academe. He served as chairs of departments of mechanical engineering at both University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada and San Jose State University between 1990 and 1998. His research experiences in energy include nuclear reactor fuel systems modeling and simulation, bitumen extraction from oil sands, in-situ coal gasification and silicon solar photovoltaic design and packaging.

Tai-Ran earned a BSME degree from the National Cheng-Kung University in Taiwan, an MSME from University of New Brunswick, and a Ph.D (ME) from McGill University in Canada. He has published 72 technical papers in archive journals and authored five books and edited another two in finite element method in thermomechanics, computer-aided design and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS).

Darren T. Kimura. Darren is the President and CEO of Sopogy Inc., Honolulu, HI 96819. Sopogy is a leader in concentrated solar power technology. (www.sopogy.org)

Darren received a degree in Business Administration from University of Hawaii, and a BSEE degree from Portland State University. He founded Energy Industries in 1994 and today serves as its Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board. He also founded 5 energy companies which were acquired by Energy Industries, an Ozone clean tech company which was spun out and a non-profit organization focusing on renewable energy education. He has significant experience in mergers and purchasing a division of a National Energy Company in 1996, Quantum Lighting (Spokane, WA), Aurora Quantu (Alaska), and Q-Energy (San Francisco, CA) in 2005.
He is a Certified Energy Manager, Certified Demand Side Manager, Certified Cogeneration Professional, and is Lighting Certified. He has published 5 papers on energy and holds 1 US patent.

James Robbins. Jim is the Executive Director of Environmental Business Cluster, San Jose, CA 95113. (www.environmentalcluster.org)

The Environmental Business Cluster (EBC) was the first environmental incubator in the U.S. when it was formed in 1994. The EBC specializes in technology commercialization of clean and renewable energy technology, and it has commercialization contracts with the California Energy Commission and the U.S. Dept. of Energy. The EBC has the largest private technology commercialization program for clean energy start-ups in the United States.

Jim is also the Founder and a Principal in Business Cluster Development. Since 1994, BCD has helped thirty organizations with the formation of sector-focused incubators. The latest BCD projects include clean energy incubators in Toledo, OH, and Sacramento, CA, and defense and security incubators in North Carolina and Colorado. Jim is also currently the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA), the largest professional incubation association.

Jim is a Co-Founder of the Software Business Cluster, the first software incubator in California. The Software Business Cluster was named Randall Whaley Incubator of the Year for 2000 by the National Business Incubation Association. Over $550 Million in venture investment has been made in SBC companies over the last 4 years, and four SBC companies have gone public. Jim was also a Principal in Panasonic Ventures, a $100 Million dollar investment fund. BCD developed the Panasonic Incubator in 1999. It incubates early stage companies in order to create technology partnerships.

Jim has 30 years experience in the fields of new business formation, organizational design, technology development and management, business operations and law. He is also active in international incubation and has worked in New Zealand, Uganda, Nigeria and Brazil.

Blake A. Simmons. Blake is a Principal Member of Technical Staff, Nanoscale Science and Technology Department, Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore, California. (basimmo@sandia.gov)

Blake was born and raised in Blair, Nebraska. After high school, he joined the U.S. Navy where he served as a Nuclear Propulsion Operator for 6 years. After leaving the Navy, he attended the University of Washington and received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 1997. He then attended Tulane University for his graduate studies and received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in 2001. He then joined Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore, California, as a Senior Member of the Technical Staff in September of 2001. His research interests include biofuel cells, nanophotonic materials, microfluidics, nanofluidics, desalination, biomineralization, and enzyme engineering. He has published over 30 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters. He is currently a Principal Member of the Technical Staff in the Nanoscale Science and Technology Department at Sandia National Laboratories. Outside of his work at Sandia, he has served as a member of the Industrial Advisory Board for two NSF Centers (Keenan Center located at the University of North Carolina and the Center for Nanoscale Chemical-Electrical-Mechanical Manufacturing Systems [Nano-CEMMS] located at the University of Illinois), has organized several conference sessions on nanofabrication and materials science, and has been a proposal review board member for the NSF CAREER Panel and the NIST Center for Neutron Research since 2004.