HomeRenewable energy ›MIT Spinout Active Surfaces Raises USD 5.6M for Innovative Flexible Solar Panels

MIT Spinout Active Surfaces Raises USD 5.6M for Innovative Flexible Solar Panels

Leading the investment charge is Safar Partners, a deep tech venture capital fund.

May 15, 2024. By Abha Rustagi

Active Surfaces, a startup born out of MIT's innovative ecosystem has announced the successful closure of its oversubscribed pre-seed funding round, securing USD 5.6 million. 

Leading the investment charge is Safar Partners, a deep tech venture capital fund. The round also saw participation from a diverse group of backers, including QVT, Lendlease, Type One Ventures, Umami Capital, Sabanci Climate Ventures, New Climate Ventures, SeaX Ventures, and others, ranging from institutional VCs to corporate supporters.

At the forefront of solar technology innovation, Active Surfaces is revolutionizing the landscape with its lightweight, flexible solar panels capable of seamless integration into various surfaces. Unlike traditional bulky panels, Active Surfaces' technology promises to blend effortlessly into everyday environments, from small consumer products to expansive commercial and industrial buildings.

Expressing enthusiasm for this groundbreaking venture, Tommaso Boralevi, Technology and Innovation Director Europe at Lendlease, stated, "Active Surfaces is pioneering a transformation in the built environment. At Lendlease, we are committed to advancing sustainable urbanization, and our investment in Active Surfaces represents a significant step towards integrating novel capabilities directly into the fabric of future developments."

Richard Swartwout, an MIT PhD and co-founder and CTO of Active Surfaces, expressed gratitude for the robust support from investors, noting, "This funding will enable us to expand our R&D efforts, scale up production, and bring our cutting-edge solar solutions to market more rapidly." Swartwout highlighted the company's vision for "solar 2.0" technologies, emphasizing their potential to deliver higher efficiency, lower costs, and greater versatility compared to conventional solar panels.

With a focus on scaling its innovative solutions, Active Surfaces plans to leverage breakthroughs in industrial roll-to-roll semiconductor printing technologies. This approach will facilitate mass production of thin, flexible solar materials of any size, building on the success of its laboratory-fabricated photovoltaic devices.

The company's momentum is further fueled by recent talent acquisitions, including Jeremiah Mwaura, a PhD in Materials/Chemistry with extensive experience in advanced roll-to-roll manufacturing. Active Surfaces boasts a skilled team comprising scientists and engineers from esteemed institutions such as Stanford University, Rice University, University of Pittsburgh, and MIT.

Active Surfaces is actively engaged in various startup accelerator programs and climate tech initiatives, including the Go Build program with Saint Gobain through Greentown Labs. 

Co-founder Shiv Bhakta, MIT MS/MBA, was recently honored in Forbes 30 Under 30 2024 in Energy, highlighting the company's growing recognition. Additionally, advisor Moungi Bawendi, Lester Wolfe Professor of Chemistry at MIT, brings invaluable expertise, having been awarded a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2023.

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