Applied Ventures Expands Portfolio with Two New Investments

With 2013 in our rear-view mirror, I’m pleased to announce that Applied Ventures has completed another successful and busy year, investing more than $18 million in 2013, including closing six new investments in early stage companies.  Altogether, since we first formed Applied Ventures in 2005, we have invested approximately $179 million in more than 50 portfolio companies spanning equipment, materials, device and process providers in the clean energy, semiconductor, display, lighting and energy storage sectors. 

Passport Systems’ 3D cargo screening technology identifies commercial items, contraband & other materials
Passport Systems’ 3D cargo screening technology identifies commercial items, contraband & other materials
Just today we announced two new strategic investments in advanced imaging detection companies: Oncoscope, Inc., a medical optical imaging technology company and Passport Systems Inc., a provider of advanced cargo scanning systems to identify dangerous and contraband materials.  These investments will be used by the companies to further product development and will also provide Applied Ventures with exposure to cutting-edge and potentially disruptive technologies and related new market applications in the advanced imaging space.

We also saw two exits in 2013, including Voltaix Inc., a U.S. based manufacturer of specialty chemicals, which was acquired by Air Liquide S.A.

Enphase Energy, Inc., a portfolio company that went public in 2012 and in which we continue to hold a position, also enjoyed a successful 2013 claiming a 62% year-over-year increase in its microinverter installations in the U.S. for the first nine months of  the year, and was named the fastest growing clean technology company by Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™.

And recently PitchBook named Applied Ventures among the most active cleantech investors in their 2013 Venture Capital Cleantech Report.

You may ask, after 45+ years as a successful semiconductor equipment company, what attracts us to invest in advanced technology companies like these? 

The answer lies in our commitment to continue being the global leader in precision materials engineering solutions that can support new products, applications and high-growth business opportunities in a fast-changing competitive world. Applied Materials loves complexity and we look for inflections that need technical innovations and thrive on leveraging our precision materials engineering expertise to help solve the industry’s toughest problems through collaboration and open innovation.

And precision materials engineering is proving to be ever-more-important to the industries we serve and to the device makers that increasingly rely upon us.

As the leading supplier in the chip equipment industry with decades of experience helping customers produce advanced chips and flat panel displays, we can offer startups and entrepreneurs exclusive expertise and insight to address complex materials and manufacturing roadblocks along the path to commercialization.

Our new portfolio company Passport Systems for example, developed proprietary non-intrusive cargo screening technology that uses 3-dimensional imaging detection to quickly analyze the composition of materials and accurately identify the contents of any container, including commercial items, contraband, and other materials.  This innovative technology offers a more accurate reading compared to current 2-dimensional image-detection equipment, and enables extremely rapid and automatic detection capabilities. The technology is also complementary to Applied’s own high-energy implant and inspection technologies that we have honed in the semiconductor industry over many years.

Passport Systems CEO Robert Ledoux says, “Applied Materials’ strengths in high-energy implanters and inspection and cost-effective high-volume manufacturing will be instrumental in helping us effectively scale our business for mass-adoption in the sea, air and land cargo inspection markets. The strategic and financial support from Applied Ventures will enable us to provide cost-effective, non-intrusive inspection solutions and to ramp up manufacturing capabilities to meet customer requirements.”

At Applied Ventures, our mandate is simple:  We follow the latest innovations wherever they happen across the world in our relevant served industries, with an eye for business development and exploratory funding opportunities. Areas of interest and opportunity continue to grow and include new processes, materials and equipment ideas and products that stand to benefit from Applied Materials’ strengths in precision materials engineering. We look for new opportunities that will help address imminent and critical materials engineering challenges, not just for the semiconductor and display industries, but for the many adjacent markets that play into these areas. These include equipment, materials, or even device and process providers in clean energy, lighting, energy storage and other markets.

Thank you to everyone who has worked with us along the way to make our investments a success.  We look forward to working closely with our portfolio companies toward a rewarding 2014!

For more updates from the Ventures team, check out our latest newsletter.

If you’re interested in getting in touch with us to share an idea or opportunity, please visit our Applied Ventures website.

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