Boston-Power Adds $30M to Bring Venture Funding Pot to $346M

Source: Erin Kutz,  Xconomy, December 22, 2011.  Erin Kutz is an Associate Editor for Xconomy. You can reach her by e-mail at or by phone at (617) 252-0700, or follow her on Twitter at @erkutz.

Anyone who says cleantech companies are having a tough time raising money should take a look at Boston-Power. The Westborough, MA-based advanced lithium-ion battery maker is announcing today that it’s taken in $30 million in equity funding, just three months after announcing a massive $125 million Series F funding round. The company has now attracted more than $346 million in financing since its founding in 2005.

Of course, that recent money has come with some strings attached. The newest investment was led by Beijing-based GSR Ventures, a firm that led Boston-Power’s $125 million Series F round and is focused on building companies in China. Along with the September financing, Boston-Power announced that it was moving the majority of its operations to China to chase the electric vehicle market, and said it was reducing its 80-person Bay State workforce by about 35 percent.

Boston-Power, which also sells its batteries to customers like Hewlett-Packard for portable electronics, plans to add between 600 and 800 jobs in China across manufacturing and engineering roles. The company has begun construction of a manufacturing facility near Shanghai in Liyang and has established a temporary R&D site in Beijing, which will focus on customer applications of its battery technology. Both sites are expected to be complete in 2012, said founder and international chairman Christina Lampe-Onnerud.

Boston-Power also has an executive search underway, in China, to fill positions like CEO, said Lampe-Onnerud, an Xconomist. In September, Boston-Power’s Westborough-based CEO, CFO, and vice president of marketing left as part of the shift to China. Lampe-Onnerud said the pool of CEO candidates the company is considering is mixed, comprising both engineers earlier in the careers and more senior managers.

For her part, Lampe-Onnerud says she is excited to think about what she’ll do next. Alongside the September financing, Lampe-Onnerud committed to remaining with Boston-Power for at least another year, in the role of international chairman, and is helping to oversee the shift in operations.

“This opens up opportunities for me to do what I love to do, which is executable innovation,” she says of when this one-year commitment period ends. “I’ll have a chance to look at other problems that need attention.”

She says she’s interested in staying in high-tech or cleantech, and that water-related energy and transportation are areas of particular interest. We’ll have to keep our eye on her.