BASF increases investment

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BASF Venture Capital is increasing its shareholding in Arizona-based SDCmaterials, a developer and producer of nano materials for customers in the automotive, chemical and medical technology sectors.

SDCmaterials has raised approximately €4.7m in its Series A financing round, of which BASF Venture Capital is providing around €1.5m. Other investors include Emerald Technology Ventures.

SDCmaterials, which was founded in July 2004, will use the proceeds from the financing round to increase its workforce, and expand production capacity in the US and Germany.

The American start-up’s materials are used primarily for advanced catalysts and advanced ceramic materials. Using a method where materials are evaporated in an electrically generated plasma, SDCmaterials can produce several grams of a wide range of nano powders within a very short time, supporting customers in reducing development times of catalysts or inorganic materials. By up-scaling its process to ton scale, SDCmaterials can offer its customers large quantities of nano materials in a constant quality.

‘This investment fits in well with our own focus on nanotechnology – one of BASF’s five research growth clusters,’ said Dirk Nachtigal, managing director of BASF Venture Capital. ‘We wish to further strengthen our position in the field and use nanotechnology wherever it offers advantages over conventional products and processes.’

BASF says it has an ongoing program at its Schwarzheide chemical site in Germany through which small, independent companies are able to lease commercial space and use established manufacturing infrastructure. SDCmaterials will take advantage of this program and plans to start small-scale production of nano materials in September 2008.

The American start-up will invest roughly €3m in establishing pilot plant stations, laboratories and offices in the northern part of the site.