July 20, 2024

Lightyear’s solarEV innovation secures strategic investment from South Korean VCs

Today Lightyear announced a strategic investment from two South Korean venture capital funds, Sunbo Angel Partners and Lighthouse Combined Investment. The investment amount has not been disclosed,

In the past six years, Netherlands company Lightyear has built up a broad and strong patent portfolio supporting the development of highly efficient solar electric vehicles. 

Lightyear One.

It raised over €168.4 million in funding and spent the last few years working on a premium solar electric vehicle called Lightyear 0, priced at €250,000.

It promised the ability to drive for months without charging, gaining up to 70 kilometres of range per day from the sun alone. 

Besides its solar capabilities, the vehicle was classified as the world’s most aerodynamic commercial car, with a drag coefficient of 0.175 Cd, meaning huge advantages for range. 

However, in January, Lightyear announced it had suspended the production of the Lightyear 0 to focus on the €40k Lightyear 2. Then, three days later, the parent company, Atlas Technologies BV, was declared bankrupt.

The company restructured with the operating company, the parent company, and the solar panel division integrated into a new entity called Lightyear Technologies, which employed a smaller workforce of around 100 people, down from the team of 600. 

Today the company mainly focuses on developing and producing solar-integrated technologies for third-party vehicle manufacturers. 

Lex Hoefsloot, CEO of Lightyear, shared: 

“We are excited to welcome Sunbo Angel Partners and Lighthouse as strategic investors.

Our relationship began early this year at the CES in Las Vegas, and our interactions in both the Netherlands and South Korea have facilitated a deeper relationship.

As their limited partners (LPs) represent multiple automotive suppliers, this step also broadens our access within the strong South Korean automotive sector. 

Through this investment, Lightyear will gain access to Sunbo Angel Partners’ and Lighthouse’s robust ecosystem. This includes next-generation technologies in solar energy, electric motors, and advanced manufacturing capabilities from their portfolio companies and LPs.

Established in 2016, Sunbo Angel Partners has invested in over 120 technology startups internationally, in sectors such as green energy, clean mobility, sustainability, and spacetech.

According to Youngchan Choi, CEO of Sunbo Angel Partners:

“We are excited to join forces with Lightyear and witness the remarkable synergies that arise from this collaboration. We strongly believe in the value that Lightyear brings in these crucial times and its power to steer the market towards efficient solar electric vehicles.”

Lead image:Youngchan Choi and Lex Hoefsloot. Photo: uncredited. 

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