Startups to Watch: WattGlass closes Series A funding round

by Jennifer Joyner ([email protected]) 346 views 

WattGlass of Fayetteville has closed a Series A funding round led by DSM Venturing, the funding arm of a global science company called Royal DSM.

The startup, which makes anti-reflective glass coatings for solar panels and lighting fixtures, connected with the venture capital firm when it was one of five companies to come out on top for the 2016 SunRISE TechBridge Challenge, a solar energy innovation competition organized by Royal DSM, Fraunhofer and Greentown Labs.

“WattGlass is an excellent addition to our portfolio and a great example of a company that we were looking for in SunRise that fits with DSM strategically and advances the state-of-the art in solar materials,” Pieter Wolters, managing director of DSM Venturing, said in a WattGlass press release. “We are excited to help the company leverage their early successes and bring the technology to market.”

The amount raised was not disclosed at the time of publication, but a first-time investment for DSM Venturing is usually between $100,000 and $5 million, according to its website.

If WattGlass raises $1 million in private equity, it will have met the requirements of a $500,000 Phase II National Science Foundation grant.

The company’s coatings are created with water-based chemistry and have a broad range of applications, from solar panels, to LED lighting, to architectural glass and ophthalmic lenses, according to WattGlass.

“DSM is a leader in our market and has extensive experience developing and commercializing material-based solutions for high-tech markets,” Corey Thompson, CEO of WattGlass, said in the press release. “This funding provides us the resources needed to commercialize the research we are conducting under the NSF and DOE grants, and to bring our novel product to customers.

“WattGlass is looking to establish domestic production of their proprietary chemical blends for shipment to customers worldwide. We anticipate this round of founding allowing us to continue to scale our technology and to begin implementing it with glass partners around the world,” Thompson said.

WattGlass was founded to commercialize technology developed at the University of Arkansas. The initial research at was conducted in Dr. Min Zou’s group under an NSF EPSCoR project, Thompson said. The initial business plan was developed in the entrepreneurship program of the Walton College of Business under Dr. Carol Reeves.

WattGlass previously received support in the form of about $350,000 in grants from the NSF’s Small Business Innovation Research program, a $169,000 SunShot award from the Department of Energy, and $100,000 from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

DSM is headquartered in the Netherlands, and its North American headquarters is in New Jersey.