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10 June 2008


Singapore’s Mentarix receives first-round funding from BAF Spectrum

Singapore-based photovoltaic component startup Mentarix Pte Ltd has received first-round financing after local seed fund BAF Spectrum Pte Ltd took a 30% stake in the firm.
“We want to aggressively fund technology companies that can increase the viability of alternative energy,” says investment lead and BAF Spectrum managing director Francis Chua, who is taking a seat on Mentarix’s board of directors. Mentarix is the second company in the field of clean technologies funded by BAF Spectrum, which has committed more than US$14m for early-stage Asian ventures and is partly financed through the Business Angel Scheme (BAS) operated by the government-linked agency SPRING SEEDS Capital Pte Ltd.

“BAF Spectrum shares our long-term vision in building a vertical solar-hydrogen industry business,” says Mentarix’s founder and CEO Chee Khar Chit.

By using quantum dot technology and photonic technology, Mentarix plans to design and manufacture products that can increase photovoltaic cell operating efficiency by at least 20% from their relative baseline. The products will come in the form of a thin film attached to existing solar cells to change the incoming sunlight’s characteristics so that it is more easily absorbed (eliminating the need to equip the system with any extra mechanical structures). Mentarix aims to deliver a series of products improving the operating efficiency of any photovoltaic cell with minimum disruption to the existing production process. The technology is applicable to both traditional crystalline silicon cells as well as thin-film cells based on cadmium telluride/cadmium sulfide (CdTe/CdS), copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) and amorphous silicon.

Mentarix’s founders have track records in delivering large-scale infrastructure projects. In addition, the firm is working with the Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore, where a team of experts will assist in developing and commercializing the products.

“Chee Khar Chit is giving up a well-paying job in Malaysia to relocate to Singapore to start this project on a full-time basis,” says Chua. “The Singapore government’s recent financial incentives and the existing eco-infrastructure to nurture start-up technology companies through SPRING and other agencies are clearly important pull factors.”
The photovoltaic efficiency enhancement component market is currently a ‘green-field’ segment in the solar energy industry, says Mentarix, but is forecasted to be Euro 500m by 2020. Mentarix aims to take ‘significant’ market share with its ‘first mover’ advantage.

See related item:

Thin-film solar market to reach 9GW in 2012

Search: Quantum dot Photonic Photovoltaic CdTe CdS Amorphous silicon

Visit: www.mentarix.com

Visit: www.bafspectrum.com