QD Solar raises $2.5 mln in DSM Venturing-led Series A round

QD Solar's proprietary quantum dot-based solar cells use nano-engineered, low-cost materials that can absorb the otherwise wasted infrared light.© 2015 MaRS Innovation

QD Solar Inc, a Toronto solar technology startup created by the University of Toronto and MaRS Innovation, has secured $2.5 million in a Series A financing. The round was led by Dutch venture capital firm DSM Venturing with participation from MaRS Innovation and Saudi Arabia’s KAUST Innovation Fund. The company said the round’s proceeds bring available funding from all sources to $10 million. That includes $2.5 million raised from Sustainable Development Technology Canada last year. Founded in 2014, QD Solar has developed quantum dot-based solar cells that can absorb wasted infrared light and boost the output of solar panels.


QD Solar, incorporated by MaRS Innovation and the University of Toronto, secures over $10M for the development of transformational Solar Energy Technologies

TORONTO, ON–(Marketwired – February 13, 2017) – QD Solar, a Canadian technology company created by MaRS Innovation and the University of Toronto, announced today the closing of a C$2.5M Series A funding led by DSM Venturing, with matching investment participation from existing investors, MaRS innovation and KAUST Innovation Fund.

The development of this technology is also supported by project funding that was announced in March 2016 from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) through a C$2.5M grant, and through the generous support of the Ontario Research Fund (ORF).

QD Solar is a winner of the 2016 SunRISE TechBridge Challenge, a competition organized by Royal DSM, Fraunhofer and Greentown Labs to realize innovations in Solar Energy. The QD Solar product, an insert into conventional silicon solar panels based on QD Solar’s world leading quantum dot technology that captures the currently wasted infrared energy, has potential to increase energy output of solar panels by 20%, and therefore lead to significant cost savings.

In collaboration with the University of Toronto’s Innovations & Partnership Office, MaRS Innovation has been instrumental in bringing the nascent technology to the stage of market readiness by, among other things, providing seed funding, patent protection and nurturing the relationship with international industry partners and investors through a strong go-to-market strategy.

“We’re delighted to see QD Solar and this novel technology created at The University of Toronto receive this substantial investment from Canadian and international sources to advance their bold vision for a new clean energy product,” said Derek Newton, U of T’s assistant vice-president of innovation, partnerships and entrepreneurship.

“MaRS Innovation worked closely with the University of Toronto to found, seed-fund, and incubate QD Solar, because of the game-changing potential of the technology,” said Rafi Hofstein, President and CEO of MaRS Innovation. “We are thrilled to see this endorsement of the company, and the technology, from leading investors like DSM and KAUST, as well as the Government of Canada, through SDTC.”

“Thanks to the concerted efforts of the University of Toronto and MaRS Innovation, QD Solar has quickly gone from early stage to market ready,” said Reza Moridi, Ontario’s Minister of Research, Innovation and Science. “Our government is committed to supporting ground-breaking technologies like this that have the potential to create highly skilled jobs and keep the environment clean and healthy for people here and across the globe.”

About QD Solar
QD Solar’s proprietary quantum dot-based solar cells use nano-engineered, low-cost materials that can absorb the otherwise wasted infrared light. The world-leading underlying solar technology was developed in the Nanomaterials for Energy Laboratory, part of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto. QD Solar was incubated by MaRS Innovation since 2014. Inserting QD Solar’s product into solar panels has the potential to boost overall power generation by 20 per cent.

About Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC):
Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) acts as a primary catalyst in building a sustainable development technology industry in Canada, funding and supporting Canadian cleantech projects across a number of sectors. SDTC invests in Canadian companies that through their innovative technologies bring positive contributions to Canada: creating quality jobs, driving economic growth, and preserving our environment. SDTC is a foundation funded by the Government of Canada.

About the University of Toronto
The University of Toronto, Canada’s leading research intensive university, consistently ranks first among Canadian universities and among the top 10 global public universities. Its community of researchers and students are constantly creating new knowledge, as well as inventing and commercializing new technologies, products and services. Since 2011, U of T researchers have created more than 830 inventions, founded more than 90 research-based startups and generated $49 million from licensing revenues. Established in 1827, the University of Toronto has three campuses in downtown Toronto, Mississauga and Scarborough and is affiliated with nine renowned partner hospitals.

About MaRS Innovation:
MaRS Innovation is the commercialization agent for 15 of Ontario’s leading academic institutions, including the University of Toronto and its ten research hospitals, as well as Ryerson University and York University. Collectively, this group invests almost $1.5 billion annually in scientific research. MaRS Innovation has created and supported over 50 innovative and game-changing start-up companies based on the world-class science from these members — start-ups that, through MaRS Innovation’s strategic international networks, have attracted local and global industry partnerships and investments. Supported by the Government of Canada through the Networks of Centres of Excellence; by the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Centres of Excellence, Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science; and by its members, MaRS Innovation maximizes the commercial and social return on its member institutions’ research assets, thereby converting great science into commercially viable products and services.

Contact Information:

MaRS Innovation
Susanne Staer
Manager, Corporate Affairs
T: 647 260 7869
M: 647 991 2909

University of Toronto
Media Relations

Photo courtesy of MaRS Innovation