Unable to raise further cash, solar startup Wakonda has joined the growing list of defunct venture capital-funded greentech firms. The firm's phone is out of service, although their website is still up (it even claims that they're hiring). The CEO is still pursuing solar technology according to investors, but Wakonda seems to be winding down as a VC-funded startup.
Wakonda's technology, as well as its business plan, always seemed, well, fluid.
We've reported on the long list of viable and questionable VC-funded solar firms (see 150 Solar Startups) and the inevitable consolidation (see Solar Startup Bloodbath).
Founded in 2005 in New York, Wakonda was a virtual single crystal silicon, then cadmium telluride on flexible substrate, and as reported by GTM in April of this year -- the firm was also going after PV roofing material.
Wakonda raised $3.2 million from VC investors Advanced Technology Ventures, Envoi Ventures, General Catalyst Partners, Polaris Venture Partners, the Massachusetts Green Energy Fund, and Applied Ventures, the VC arm of Applied Materials. In 2007, the firm was NREL's Clean Energy Entrepreneur of the Year, an indication of the value of most awards of that sort.
The company had been attempting to raise an additional $7 million as a "restart" with a "clean cap table" since October of 2009, according to the firm's executive summary and investor pitch from that time. The pitch deck had circulated freely around the VC offices of Sand Hill Road and the halls of Greentech Media.
According to Hemant Taneja of General Catalyst, an investor in Woburn, MA-based Wakonda, the company wasn’t able to get its technology working "well enough, fast enough" to convince backers to keep putting money in, as reported on the website Boston.com.
- Solasta (nano-coaxial solar)
- SV Solar (low-concentration PV)
- Senergen (depositing silane onto free-form metallurgical-grade silicon substrates)
- OptiSolar (a-Si on a grand scale)
on the list of recently deceased VC-funded solar startups.