Funding Shortfall Forces Imara to Call It Quits

When federal stimulus dollars went to established players, several of them foreign manufacturers, the Menlo Park start-up ran out of funds.

Published: 09-Dec-2009

Neil Maguire of battery developer Imara “is looking for a new career as Imara did not get the funding necessary to move forward.” That’s how the startup’s business development chief — known as @KoolJoules on Twitter — announced the venture’s shuttering to his connections on Twitter and LinkedIn late Monday. On the official Imara blog, Maguire wrote that after a year’s delay in scaling up operations, “Imara is out of funds and out of time…investors needed to cut their losses.”

Michael Kanellos over at Greentech Media followed up with Maguire, who painted a bleak picture for venture-backed startups that did not make the cut for government grants and which face tough competition from established players. “It certainly did not help that hundred[s] of millions in DOE stimulus funds went to two Korean companies and one French company, Saft,” Maguire told Greentech Media, adding, “Unless something radically changes, the battery business is for big players that want to create billion-dollar business units, not VC-backed startups.”

Founded in 2006, Menlo Park, Calif.-based Imara had been working on small-format batteries for power tools and outdoor equipment, with the goal of eventually producing vehicle batteries after it builds “a solid economic base,” Maguire told Triple Pundit in June. The 38-person startup raised $20 million in venture capital (investors include Battery Ventures and Nth Power) and licensed its technology from SRI International.

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