NanoInk Pens $6M Series B Deal

Nanotools maker NanoInk Inc. of Chicago penned a $6 million Series B deal last week – just seven months after closing its initial round of venture funding.

Lurie Investment Fund LLC of Chicago led the round. Lurie, the venture capital arm of the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Foundation, is also the company’s seed investor. It invested alongside Washington, D.C.-based Galway Partners LLC in the company’s $3 million Series A round last April. Christopher Anzalone, a vice president with Galway Partners, sits on the company’s board of directors and is NanoInk’s acting chief executive.

Founded in 2001 by Northwestern University chemistry professor, Dr. Chad Mirkin, NanoInk has developed a pen that drops molecules on a surface – the same way a dot matrix printer drops ink on a sheet of paper – to draw lines and dots 10 nanometers wide using virtually any material. The company calls the technology Dip Pen Lithography. It can be used to drop DNA molecules on a surface, making it a research tool for drug discovery. It can also be used to build nanostructures, making it a tool for industrial manufacturing processes.

“The process is one of the most nanolithographies available, allowing one to construct nanostructures not possible via any other technique,” Dr. Mirkin says. “It’s going to open up a wealth of scientific capabilities and is beginning to enable major technological advances in the life science and semiconductor sectors.”

Although NanoInk has already registered sales, it is not alone in developing nanoimprint lithography techniques. Molecular Imprints, an Austin-based developer of nanoimprint lithography techniques, last year raised $12 million in three rounds of venture financing. The company is backed by Alloy Ventures, Asset Management Co., Draper Fisher Jurvetson, KLA-Tencor Corp., KT Venture Group and Motorola Ventures.

NanoInk launched the first commercial version of its technology in July and is currently developing a new instrument with multi-pen capabilities. Its most recent round of funding will accelerate those development efforts, as well as fuel its commercial launch in the first quarter of this year. The financing will also be used to build the company’s management team and to broaden its application-specific research and development efforts.

Contact Carolina Braunschweig