On the heels of news that it had scored a deal with laptop maker Hewlett Packard (s HPQ), lithium-ion battery maker Boston Power says this morning it has raised $55 million to keep growing its business. The 4-year-old company has now raised a total of $125 million, making it one of the most well-funded firms (other than the thin-film solar guys) in cleantech. The new financing was led by Foundation Asset Management and included existing investors Oak Investment Partners, Venrock, GGV Capital and Gabriel Venture Partners.
Batteries have long been a major pain point for our gadgets, cell phones and laptops, and much of the new innovation in consumer electronics is happening around better ways to store energy. Apple (s AAPL) made news this month with a lithium-polymer battery for its MacBook laptop that can run for up to eight hours on a single charge. Boston Power’s lithium-ion batteries run for closer to four hours on a single charge, but they last for three years, and the charge fades less than other comparable lithium-ion batteries.
Boston Power’s deal with HP is for a premium upgrade for its laptops (likely around $20 to $30 more), and the battery, called Sonata, will be branded “HP Enviro Series” for HP. Of course, it’s Boston Power’s hope to strike a deal with a large manufacturer for whom its battery will be the standard option, and Boston Power CEO Christina Lampe-Onnerud told us she’s hoping that will happen in 2009. But HP’s massive market share is a game-changing win for a relatively young company.
We’re also wondering if some of those new funds will go toward establishing a division to look into creating lithium-ion batteries for vehicles. Lampe-Onnerud told us recently that the company was doing research into how to enhance the Sonata technology for transportation. Boston Power might have little experience in that area today, but let’s face it, U.S. firms are far behind their counterparts in Asia, so Boston Power wouldn’t be too far behind its peers in the U.S.