LONDON – Plastic Logic, a struggling venture capital backed company, which specializes in organic electronics, is set to receive $700 million in deal backed by Rusnano, the technology investment arm of the Russian state.
It was already known that Rusnano was interested in Plastic Logic with a view to taking the technology to Russia but the size of the proposed investment is unusual. The investment is set to include the creation of the world's largest plastic electronics factory in Zelenograd, Russia, as well as continued investment in Plastic Logic's manufacturing facility in Dresden, Germany, which opened in 2008, and its R&D center in Cambridge, England.
The project is intended to establish a commercial plastic electronics industry in Russia, Plastic Logic said.
Plastic Logic, founded in 2000 by researchers from the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge University, has become a leader in the development of organic electronics but was forced to cancel its only product, an e-book reader based on an organic backplane for the display in 2010. The price point selected for the e-reader was undermined by the advance of full-color tablet computers. Plastic Logic said it is now working on a next-generation electronic reader for business applications.
Plastic Logic said that, under the terms of the final agreement with Rusnano, it has received an initial investment package of $300 million. Rusnano (formally the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies) is investing $150 million in return for equity in Plastic Logic while lead investor Oak Investment Partners invests an additional $50 million. In addition to the equity investments, Rusnano has agreed to provide partial guarantees for $100 million of debt financing.
Over the next "few years" an additional $400 million in equity and debt will be raised, Plastic Logic added.
The size of the investment does raise some eye brows. The Russian company is willing to invest so much in an ailing company in a very competitive industry? I have to see how this would go in the future.
This is a good news to see that people other than US and China are investing huge amount of money to hi-tech stuff.
The technology seems interesting and it is addressing two of the key problems with current TFT display - power consumption and flexibility.
As I remember the display was based on the E Ink electrophoretic technology, the same as Kindle and other e-readers...the difference was an organic active matrix backplane to drive the display.
Plastic Logic was, and presumably still is, expecting to progress to full color display, but as this is on the E Ink (now PrimeView International) agenda that could well have been based on E Ink.
The scale of this investment is amazing but frankly it is an order of magnitude required to make a truly innovative technology a reality...a few millions here & there will typically not cut it, I have seen so many companies limping around trying to make something happen on a shoe string budget...I got familiar with Plastic Logic technology 5 years ago and was very impressed with it. Good luck guys, the world needs you, my eyes are tired from looking at my laptop display...Kris
300m$ initially & total investment of 700m$!!!!:). I have to say the numbers are unprecedented. That too in a company which attempted to do an ebook reader when their core competency was display!
Do you know how there display compares with other paper displays like E-ink/Qcom Mirasol /PixelQi ?
Plastic Electronics is a developing branch of electronics, the product form of this branch is plastic displays and solar cells, it will be a great investment by the Russians even though the time period of getting returns will be longer enough.
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