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Serious Materials Raises $60M More in Funds to Speed Growth, Product Development

Green building materials maker Serious Materials has raised $60 million in a third round of funding, bringing its total raised to more than $120 million, the company said today.

Diversified financial services firm Mesirow Financial of Chicago led the new funding in the Series C financing. Other new investors were Enertech Capital, Cheyenne Partners and Saints Capital.

Clean- and green tech venture capital firm Navitas Capital of Berkeley, Calif., whose investors led Serious Material's initial financing round in 2005, was among returning investors in the third round. They include New Enterprise Associates, Foundation Capital, Rustic Canyon Partners and Staenberg.

In its announcement today, Serious Materials said the funds will be used to ratchet up "the rapid growth of the company and complete development of next generation, energy-saving building products."

Serious Materials develops and manufactures building materials that are designed to deliver high-performance energy efficiency, while creating less of a negative impact on the environment in their production than conventional materials. The company's products include super-insulating full-frame R-value SeriousWindows and super-insulating commercial glass called SeriousGlass.

{related_content}Serious Materials also makes EcoRock, an alternative to gypsum drywall that the company says is five times more eco-friendly. EcoRock was the first product whose environmental claims were validated by UL Environment. After investigating the claims, UL Environment confirmed this spring that EcoRock contains 80 percent recycled content, has low volatile organic compound emissions, is mercury free and is highly resistant to mold.

Serious Materials has sold limited test quantities of EcoRock to a few contractors since early this year, according to a representative for the firm, and the company plans to expand production and distribution in the next two years -- targets that are expected to be bolstered by the new funding. The product was among those recognized last week by the Wall Street Journal in its 2009 Technology Innovation Awards.

In the past six months, Serious Materials has taken over two shuttered window factories in Chicago and the Pennsylvania town of Vandergrift, converted them to SeriousWindows plants and has hired some of the laid off staff members to work in the reclaimed sites. Those efforts have been praised by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, who visited the Chicago factory in April. Serious Materials has said it plans to hire more of the factory workers who were left jobless as demand for its products grows.

Although the economic downtown has severely slowed the building industry, green building construction and a range of energy efficiency retrofits for commercial sites have been viewed as bright spots in a bleak landscape.

The market for green materials is expected to surge in less than five years, according to recent studies. The U.S. market for green building materials generated sales of $57 billion in 2008 and is expected to exceed more than $80 billion in 2013, according to a study released in February by industry research firm Freedonia Group Inc. NextGen Research reported in June that the global green building materials market, which continued to grow despite the roiling economy, was valued at $455.3 billion in 2008 and is forecast to reach $571 billion by 2013.

Image courtesy of Serious Materials


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