Starfire Systems Receives Venture Capital Investment from Harris & Harris Group - News Item

Starfire Systems, Inc. announced today that Harris & Harris Group, Inc. will invest up to $1,000,000 in privately held Starfire Systems. Harris & Harris Group is a publicly traded venture capital firm that invests in tiny technology -nanotechnology, microsystems, and microelectromechanicial systems (MEMS). The investment will assist in the development and manufacturing of Starfire's leading ceramic-forming polymer technologies for use in a wide range of applications including, optoelectronics, nanoelectronics, automotive and aerospace.

Albany NanoTech at the University at Albany-SUNY (UAlbany) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency (NYSERDA have provided Starfire Systems with key strategic assistance that has helped to position the company for rapid growth in the Saratoga Technology and Energy Park (STEP). The company is forecasting growth to $100 to $200 million in sales within five years with employment projected to reach 150 employees.

Richard Saburro, President of Starfire Systems said: "This investment by Harris & Harris Group provides further validation of our technology-driven business strategy, and would not have been possible without our partnership with Albany NanoTech and NYSERDA."

Saburro added: "Albany NanoTech was instrumental in securing this investment through a combination of joint research and development and business assistance programs, including making the introduction to Harris & Harris Group and providing the critical networking support to make the deal happen. Furthermore, NYSERDA's ongoing financial and infrastructure support have accelerated our product development and manufacturing expansion at STEP."

Alain Kaloyeros, Ph.D., Executive Director of Albany NanoTech and Vice President of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at UAlbany, stated: "We congratulate Mr. Saburro and Starfire Systems on yet another demonstration of Starfire's technological vitality and business viability.

He continued: "Through Governor George Pataki's visionary creation of our Center of Excellence in Nanoelectronics, and pioneering technical development and business assistance policies, as embodied by NYSERDA, the Governor has enabled critical high tech investments and job growth in New York State, particularly in environmentally friendly, energy efficient technologies."

Peter R. Smith, President of NYSERDA said," This investment is not only great news for Starfire Systems, but for all of us who have been involved in this exciting public -private partnership to date. It demonstrates that the policies Governor Pataki has put in place are working to attract investment in New York companies. We are looking forward to Starfire's continued growth at STEP as we go forward."

The investment by Harris & Harris Group will assist Starfire Systems in the development and production of a family of revolutionary ceramic-forming liquid polymers that allow customers to dramatically reduce the cost of manufacturing of high performance silicon carbide products and materials for applications under aggressive thermal, chemical, and mechanical environments. Silicon carbide ceramics, one of the hardest substances known, is the material of choice for achieving superior resistance to wear and corrosion and maintaining stability at very high temperatures.

"Starfire's ceramic-forming polymers are enabling exciting new products and capabilities never before possible in a broad range of industries including electronics, aerospace, transportation, energy and emissions control," said Richard Saburro.

The Center of Excellence in Nanoelectronics at Albany NanoTech (ANT) has worked closely with Starfire for the last few years to enable the use of its ceramic-forming liquid polymers in rapidly emerging opportunities in the nanoelectronics and nanosystems markets. In particular, Starfire researchers and ANT scientists have teamed up to develop and deploy chemical vapour deposition processes using Starfire's silicon carbide based family of materials.

NYSERDA has also supported Starfire over the last several years providing research and development grants and space in its Saratoga Technology and Energy Park (STEP). Starfire's expansion in 2003 at STEP dramatically increased its capacity to scale-up production of its advanced nanotechnology-based materials to meet future customer demand.

Harris & Harris Group closed last week on the initial investment for this round of $250,000. This investment closely follows an earlier venture financing round, primarily to qualified individual investors, that raised over $1 million. Harris & Harris Group's investment initiates a relationship with Starfire that could lead to additional investment in later closings of the current financing round as well as in future financing rounds to support Starfire's anticipated growth.

Posted 13th May 2004


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