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Sayonara, Solasta?

Posted by Scott Kirsner  March 11, 2010 07:10 AM

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Several sources tell me that Newton-based Solasta Corp. is quietly shutting down this month. The company had been working on next-generation solar cells that would be covered with nanowires designed to both capture light efficiently and conduct electricity. Solasta spun out of work done at Boston College, and raised a first round of $6 million from Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers in 2006. Kleiner Perkins partner Bill Joy made the investment, and Mike Clary, formerly an entrepreneur-in-residence at KP, joined Solasta as its chief executive. 

In late 2009, the company said it was hoping to raise $20 million to get its product into production by the end of 2010.

"As with so many areas of the economy, it is a difficult time to secure financing," writes Michael Naughton, Solasta's CTO and chairman of the physics department at Boston College, in an e-mail. Naughton claims that the team "remains intact and focused on licensing the technology or re-booting the company." 

Clary didn't return my phone calls this week, and I didn't hear back from Kleiner Perkins' PR firm yesterday. The company's Web site has also been unavailable this week.

Naughton said that he remains "optimistic that the technology will make an impact in the future as the world seeks highly efficient solar energy solutions."

Clary also helped launch GMZ Energy, a Waltham cleantech company also backed by Kleiner Perkins, which continues operations.

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Innovation and technology news that matters, on a new website from the Boston Globe, featuring Scott Kirsner and other original reporting.

About Scott Kirsner

Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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