thank you Fennagain for sharing your story...I agree completely...You can "easily" develop a new app or even a software company on $30M investment. You should be able to start a fabless company and design a new hot IC (although to fully develop that product line you will need probably closer to $100M)...but any developments that require advances in materials take much longer and require much higher investment...people continuously underestimate the efforts required in that case...Kris
I was very fortunate to start up a new company at the time that Paul Cook, then of Raychem, realized that it was very hard to get completely new ideas generated for real practical businesses within the Raychem culture. This was in 1983. He gave the OK to back my idea, which turned out to be Andus, one of the first companies that participated in sputter roll coating of ITO on polymer films. They were patient and let us run the company with little interference but a lot of useful commercial advice. Andus was later sold for 6X Raychem's investment.
Sputter roll coating of ITO on PET is now over a billion $/year market. But it took over 20 years and the iPhone touch panel to give it a real kick start! Paul Cook and Raychem knew what time it took to get to market in a real environment. I am very happy to have been associated with him.
The problem as I see it in PVs is not the lack of good ideas. It is the understanding that you cannot go from the lab to a 1G factory in a couple of years with "only" $30 million. When are the investors going to get REAL?
This is surprising considering this was Intel's company. It seems like they didn't invest money in reserach like they do in the chip development. What a waste of all the money that was given to them. Given it was Intel they could have probably carried this business at least for a year or two to see whether it was going to be a sucess or not. Why not invest some more money in or get additional investors to run the company for a year or two.
Dear Intel: Move it back to Oregon, additionally fund my $3M round A, and I can turn it into a market leader with a patent I just filed. Chinese are irrelevant - lack of sufficient imagination and innovation is the issue.
well put thought (both Kris and Sheetal). I recently read an article (http://www.ebnonline.com/author.asp?section_id=1038&doc_id=202229&)that Intel should diversify to keep its position as a leader in semicon so solar can be a good market to be in. But maybe it was too soon for Intel.
when i read this article i had the same thoughts as yours. If a company has to shutdown in 6 months, I would wonder on what vision they had in mind while setting it up. Solar business is very slow its a known fact and for somebody like Intel this would definitely not something they want to be in news about. Its a bad news for solar market. It would discourage many start ups in solar domain.
I just got this from a reader: ''Here's additional thoughts: The timing in starting this project is strange, because the project started after NY's Cuomo filed a lawsuit against Intel (over anti-trade issues). It seems to me that Intel was trying to get sympathy! Now the project is cancelled but we do not know yet the "verdict from the lawsuit". This can be that Intel got some "sympathy" or perhaps "slapped again." One thing that I suspect is that this solar project is a teaser!
I would (if I was an Intel stockholder) start asking a lot of ugly questions of management. The meteoric rise and fall speaks of serious missteps or a too late to stop discovery of a flaw in the planning. I could not imagine locating any production in NY or CA, it does not make any sense. Go where the costs are low and labor is available, possibly NC or Tenn? Just wondering what was really going on behind the scenes?
@realist: good comments! I would take all of your points and apply them to California as well! Here is the morphed version for a company in the Silicon Valley!
1. manufacture in CA; invite President Obama & the fanfare to go with it, months later announce layoffs, leave a brand new building empty (with city of Fremont holding the bucket!)... Solyndra any one??
2. build a non-differentiated product (ditto)
3. rely on deep pockets of your parent company (read: Uncle Sam... too bad the voters have spoken!)
4. don't have the ability to scale at a competitive cost point (ditto!)