Kovio came out of stealth mode Tuesday with a claim that it has figured out a more energy-efficient approach to making simple semiconductors.

Kovio, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., said it has developed a silicon ink for the printing of thin-film transistors, which are basically miniature electronic switches in circuitry.

Founded in 2001, the company has bagged a total of $58 million in four rounds of venture capital from Pinnacle Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Famed greentech venture capitalist Vinod Khosla led the investment for Kleiner Perkins and sits on Kovio's board.

Kovio has used the funding to create a technology that it claims is key to the integration of electronics into everyday items. That's because the company says its silicon spray can be shot onto flexible surfaces using an ink-jet printerlike nozzle.

The company also said the silicon spray consumes 25 percent less energy than traditional manufacturing methods, which make and connect transistors by etching and adding material onto silicon wafers.

Kovio expects to be ready to hit the market in late 2008. The company's initial target market includes RFID applications, such as tags on retail products and medicine bottles.

The company also announced Tuesday it signed two supply agreements. One is with Cubic Corp., a company that makes automated fare-collection systems for public transportation.

Tags: cubiccorp, energy, khosla, kovio, pinnacle, rfid