Battery Startup Lion Cells Starts Talking, Becomes “Imara”

imaralogoLion Cells, a Menlo Park-based startup backed by Battery Ventures and Nth Power, joined the energy-storage fray yesterday, emerging from two years of stealth with a new name — Imara Corp. — and a plan to ship its lithium-ion batteries by the fourth quarter of 2009.

While other lithium-ion startups, such as A123Systems, ActaCell, and Boston Power, have focused on storing energy for vehicles, laptops and electric grids, Imara plans to start with lower-hanging fruit — small-format batteries for power tools and outdoor equipment.

The company plans to reach annual production capacity of at least 8 million cells by the end of next year, with electrode manufacturing facilities in Menlo Park, Calif., and assembly for small-format batteries in Asia. According to Imara’s business development chief Neil Maguire, three contractors based in Asia are under consideration for the assembly deal. Read More about Battery Startup Lion Cells Starts Talking, Becomes “Imara”

Nth Power’s Nancy Floyd: Green Tech Needs Obama

When we compiled our list of cleantech investors who are backing Barack Obama, Nancy Floyd, an early investor who founded Nth Power, was the lone woman in the group — in May she gave $2,300, which is the max donation for the general election. But she gave a whole lot more at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night, when she delivered a speech in which she whole-heartedly endorsed Obama’s energy plan.

Floyd called Obama’s energy plan “comprehensive,” and said it will “get us off of foreign oil, stop global warming, and create millions of new jobs in the United States.” She highlighted Obama’s goals to cut taxes for fuel-efficient car buyers, keep green car manufacturing jobs in the U.S., and make major investments in cleantech, which could lead to 5 million new jobs over 10 years. She said that “investors are lining up” to back entrepreneurs, and what’s missing is leadership from Washington.

We can’t afford another 30 years of partisanship and inaction. We need new thinking and new leadership. We need Barack Obama as president of the United States… (according to the remarks prepared for delivery)

Floyd is an influential judge of all things energy. She is one of the original energy venture capitalists, and the firm she founded started making investments all the way back in the late ’90s. With $420 million between four funds, the group has backed the now-public Silicon Energy (ITRI), Northern Power (DESC), and Comverge (COMV), and is currently invested in startups Imperium Renewables, Terrapass and Tioga Energy. (Updated: Silicon Energy is currently listed as “surrendered” with the California Secretary of State; Northern Power’s parent company, Distributed Energy Systems, filed for bankruptcy in June). While cleantech investors are backing Obama more than 6 to 1 compared to McCain, Floyd’s endorsement means that the old-school energy investors have validated Obama’s plan.

Startup du jour: mFoundry

STARTUP: mFoundry, based in Sausalito
ELEVATOR PITCH: mFoundry helps businesses mobilize, and targets a variety of verticals, including mobile advertising, mobile banking, and mobile services for the enterprise.
WHAT THEY DO: mFoundry provides companies with software that they use to create, deploy and manage mobile applications.
PEOPLE: CEO Drew Sievers, formerly President of Semaphore Partners-the Publicis network’s interactive offering.
FUNDING: Under $10 million, though the company won’t give an exact amount. Recently the company raised a series B round of $7.3 million, and investors include Apax Partners, GRP Partners, and Ignition Partners.
KEY CUSTOMERS: Citibank, Nestle, Sprint, NBA, Toyota/Lexus, Verizon, Photobucket
COMPETITORS: Action Engine, AppForge

THE DEAL: mFoundry seems like it has more than enough projects in its pipeline. The company will release an upgraded version of its service — version 2.0 — that uses an AJAX framework, along with other enhancements, in the first quarter of 2007. In a few weeks the start-up is helping Sprint launch an ad-supported news stand application, which is based on mobile RSS feeds. And the company is working on a wireless application for photo-sharing site Photobucket that will enable users to wirelessly share and modify photos. (mFoundry CEO Drew Sievers confirmed this recently, which we wrote about in July).
Guess they’ve been busy. But helping companies mobilize is also an oft-targeted market, so the company will have to fight for more big name customers.

New UMPC web site launched

Tablet PC MVP Terri Stratton, owner of The Tablet PC, has launched a new web site dedicated to the Ultra-Mobile PC. Terri has lined up a fine group to help with the site:

  • Terri Stratton – Publisher / News Editor
  • Rebecca Crim – Feature Editor
  • Chris Hassler – Mobile Technology
  • Kate Chase – Contributing Columnist
  • Michael Stratton – News Editor / Photographer

Keep your eyes on this site for information about the UMPC.