Belgium-based chemicals conglomerate Solvay has invested $15m in the US-based organic lighting company Plextronics, making Solvay its largest minority shareholder. Solvay had previously invested in two other Plextronics rounds Solvay led Plextronics’ latest round, which raised $14m in August 2009, and was the largest investor in the first close of its series B round, contributing $10m to a final figure of $20.6m. In both cases the capital was invested via Solvay’s corporate venturing unit, Solvay North American Investments. The series B round, which closed in August 2007, also featured investment firm Firelake Capital Management, venture capital firms Birchmere Ventures and Draper Triangle Ventures, and investment fund Newlin Investment Company. Prior to those rounds, Plextronics raised $13.1m in a series A round, in August 2006. Birchmere led the round, with Draper Triangle Ventures and Firelake Capital also participating. The company has also raised a $1.2m research grant obtained in October 2008 from the US Department of Defense, and assorted seed funding. Plextronics focuses on printed electronics, using conductive inks to print its organic light-emitting diodes (LED) and solar electronics. Plextronics will use the capital to accelerate the development of its technology and the delivery of its product to customers. Léopold Demiddeleer, Head of Future Businesses & Corporate Platforms at Solvay’s recently created Innovation Centre, said: "This continued investment clearly demonstrates Solvay’s commitment to Plextronics and the field of printed electronics. Plextronics is our partner of choice to succeed in this high growth area, and we continue to work closely on developing joint business opportunities."

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