Nanogram, a VC-funded firm that dabbled in photovoltaics, was sold to a Japanese maker of chemicals and pharmaceuticals last week for somewhere in the $23 million range.

Nanogram was an odd company.  The company was sort of an IP holding firm which spun out Nanogram Devices, a nano materials firm focused on batteries for medical devices that was in turn sold to Wilson Greatbatch Technologies for $45 million back in 2004.  That kind of thing just encourages VCs. 

Nanogram also spun out NeoPhotonics, a firm which has its own history: Neophotonics was sort of a vacuum cleaner roll-up for less-than-successful optical component companies back in the great optical networking scare and its ensuing bubble of the late 1990s and the turn of the 21st century (that included a company called Lightwave Microsystems for you optical old-timers).  In 2006, NeoPhotonics acquired optical firms BeamExpress, LightConnect, Optun, and Paxera, as well.  NeoPhotonics threatened to go public earlier this year (see article in Light Reading).

Anyway, Nanogram'ssolartechnologies were based on LRD, Laser Reactive Deposition.  We reported on Nanogram back in 2008.  

Nanogram's VC investors included (take a deep breath): Bay Partners, Mitsui Ventures, Global Cleantech Capital, Harris and Harris, IVP, Nth Power, Technology Partners, TEL, Yasuda Enterprise Development, ATA Ventures, Masdar, Rockport Capital, SBV Venture Partners and more. 

About $60 million in VC went into the firm and about $23 million is coming out through the acquisition by Japan's Teijin, according to Asahi Shimbun

In 2009, Teijin formed an agreement with NanoGram to work on silicon nanoparticles and inks. Teijin has sintered silicon nanoparticle film on a polycarbonate resin for use in IC, TFT and solar applications. 

Teijin wants to use the ink to make thin-film transistors for use in solar cells and LCDs.