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UNSW spinoff Future Solar Technologies is the first Australian investment for Chilean private equity firm Grupo Arcano.
Grupo Arcano was founded by Alberto Chang-Rajii, who was one of the first to invest in Google back in 1996, intends to invest up to US$100 million in Australia. His 1 percent stake in Google, bought for US$10,000, is worth US$3.74 billion today.
The first target is Future Solar Technologies, which is developing paint-on solar cell technology. The $1.5 million company consists of a team of researchers led by UNSW researcher Ashraf Uddin.
The company is researching a new form of non-silicon photovoltaic solar cells that will rival silicon cells in efficiency, while being cheaper and easier to manufacture. It would also be applicable to more areas, creating power-generating laminates on things like roofing or on the windows of buildings and cars.
According to Chang-Rajii, the proposed product from Future Solar Technologies is unrivalled in terms of being eco-friendly, thin, flexible, light, affordable and easy to deploy.
Grupo Arcano has invested in some big technology brands, like payment solution Square, Snapchat, and Uber.