FibeRio, a US-based developer and manufacturer of a nonwoven material, has raised $13m from two strategic investors. Saudi Basic Industries Corporation’s corporate venturing unit, Sabic Ventures, and Aster Capital Partners, a multi-corporate venturing fund sponsored by France-based industrial group Solvay, Schneider Electric and Alstom, led the investment in FibeRio. James Wilson, of Sabic’s Innovative Plastics Strategic Business Unit, and Todd Dauphinais, partner at Aster Capital, will join the FibeRio board. FibeRio’s existing shareholders also participated in this financing round, including the University of Texas System – UT Horizon Fund, the University of Texas – Pan American, the State of Texas, and private equity firms Silverton Partners and Cottonwood Technology Fund I. Regulatory filings showed FibeRio raised $3.64m in September 2011 and $1.25m earlier in the year. It is the University of Texas-Pan American’s first technology start-up company after research by Karen Lozano, an endowed professor of Mechanical Engineering, in 2006. FibeRio’s Forcespinning technology uses centrifugal force to spin out the gossamer thin layers of material rather than creating them through heat or electrical current. Those fibres can then be sandwiched into products, from industrial and medical filters, baby nappies and ballistics to electrical capacitors. Hans Kolnaar, managing director of Sabic Ventures, said: “FibeRio’s unique processing technology not only increases our market reach, but offers Sabic an opportunity to move further down the value chain with innovative fibres for our customers.” Pascal Siegwart and Dauphinais, partners at Aster Capital, in a joint statement added: “Thanks to our sponsor, Solvay, we were able to validate that FibeRio has a unique breakthrough technology to accelerate nanofibre growth for all levels of production.” Sabic and Aster said their resins cover everything from commodity polymers to high performance materials but some had yet to be made into nanofibres and could offer materials performance advantages to FibeRio Forcespinning equipment customers. Ellery Buchanan, chief executive of FibeRio, said: “The support of two of the leading, knowledgeable strategic investors in this space, Sabic and Aster Capital, is a strong validation of the uniqueness of our Forcespinning technology and will help the company accelerate our growth, open new markets and enable new applications for all of our customers.” Woodside Capital Partners served as placement agent.
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Strategics weave way into FibeRio
Feb 26, 2013 • Global Corporate Venturing
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