©Lightyear

The Technology company Lightyear from Helmond (the Netherlands) has secured two new partners with BOM Brabant Ventures and Sioux Technologies. Lightyear develops electric cars with an energy-efficient design and integrated solar panels. Depending on the weather conditions, drivers can drive up to twenty thousand kilometers per year using sunlight. The Lightyear launch is scheduled for the end of 2021. According to the parties, the company has the potential to become a key business for the regional manufacturing industry. Last year, Lightyear launched its first on-road prototype, the Ligh­tyear One.

Founded in 2016, Lightyear currently employs more than 100 people. The team is made up of a mix of young talent and people with experience in the automotive industry, some of whom are former employees of Tesla and Ferrari. In less than three years, the company has raised more than €30 million in funding in the form of reservations, investments, and grants.

Sustainable transportation

“Sales of new cars fell by as much as 53% in April,” says Investment Manager Jeroen Willems of BOM Brabant Ventures. “But the differences between the brands were huge. Challengers of the established order of cars suffered a lot less from the corona crisis. Our expectation is that sustainable transportation will be able to accelerate rapidly out of this crisis.”

“This is a very good time for BOM to express our confidence and hop on board. This investment contributes to the Brabant economy, employment, and the development of new expertise, but also to the major social challenges such as energy transition and smart mobility. We hope that our involvement will also make it a little easier to convince new financiers. As far as BOM is concerned, the development of Lightyear is also important for other portfolio companies, such as IM Efficiency and Amber.”

Arnoud de Geus, Director New Business Development at Sioux states: “Sioux was one of the first investors in Lightyear. We are also a partner in its development. As a result, we have witnessed up close the growth of the company. This gave us the confidence to make a follow-up investment. There is a great deal of synergy with our own know-how and experience.”

Other marketing of solar cell technology

Earlier this year, Lightyear announced that the company will be marketing its advanced solar cell technology in other ways as well. For example, the start-up is looking at integrating solar roofs with alternative types of vehicles. Potential clients include a number of parties from Brabant, the Netherlands. Thanks to a recently formed partnership with chemical company DSM, this move towards the B2B market can be stepped up even more quickly.

“The Brainport region has a unique combination of factors that are indispensable for Lightyear’s success,” comments Lex Hoefsloot, CEO of Lightyear. “Collaboration is in the DNA there and there’s an incredible amount of talent coming to this region from all over the world. This involvement is the first step towards a long-term collaboration. We will also definitely make use of BOM’s expertise and international network.”

Read other articles about Lightyear via this link.

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About the author

Arnoud Cornelissen has for many years been writing about science and technology in, among others, various Dutch newspapers.