Sparq raises $2.75 million in cleantech venture funding

Financing led by the MaRS Cleantech Fund

KINGSTON and TORONTO, ON, Oct. 24, 2013 /CNW/ - Sparq Systems Inc., a developer of advanced photovoltaic (PV) microinverters, announced today that it has raised $2.75 million from three Ontario cleantech venture capital firms. The financing was led by the MaRS Cleantech Fund, with participation from the Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF) and the Ontario Centres of Excellence.

"2013 has been a transformational year for Sparq," said Randall MacEwen, Sparq's recently appointed CEO. "We have successfully commercialized our first generation microinverter with sales in Canada, the United States and Mexico. With our recent financing, we have strengthened our management team and are commercializing our next generation microinverter — a product we believe will reset the industry standard for cost, reliability, performance, ease of installation and advanced grid functions."

Sparq designs and manufactures microinverters, which convert power produced from solar panels into usable grid power for home solar systems. Sparq's next generation microinverter is expected to be the lowest cost, most reliable and most advanced microinverter in the industry.

"We are excited to support Sparq as it develops and launches its next generation microinverter and starts to scale its business. Sparq has an innovative microinverter design that enables lower product cost and higher reliability," said Murray McCaig, co-managing director of the MaRS Cleantech Fund and recently appointed board member of Sparq. McCaig noted that the market for module-level power electronics has expanded at a compound annual growth rate of ~1,500% from 2009 to 2012. Global PV microinverter shipments are forecast to increase to 2.1 GW in 2017, up from ~500 MW in 2013.

"We are thrilled with the quality of our new investor partners," said Dr. Praveen Jain, Sparq's founder and chairman of its board of directors. We appreciate their confidence in our business model, management team, technology and market opportunities. We are also delighted that Randy has joined the Sparq team as our new CEO. He brings deep solar industry and growth company leadership experience to Sparq at time when the company is pivoting to growth and commercial scaling."

MacEwen added, "Like our new investors, I am excited to join Sparq given attractive global solar market conditions, Sparq's innovative product design and cost structure, a capital light business model and strong initial market reception of the first generation product." Founded in 2009, Sparq is a spin-out of power electronics research performed at Queen's University by Dr. Praveen Jain, Canada Research Chair in Power Electronics, and his team at ePower Labs, and supported by PARTEQ Innovations. Sparq has four issued and six pending multi-country patents.

Sparq will be meeting with channel partners at Solar Power International 2013 in Chicago from October 21-24, 2013.

About Sparq Systems
Sparq Systems delivers next-generation microinverters systems for the fast-growing distributed generation solar market. Our compact microinverters lower total cost of ownership, improve system reliability, increase energy production, simplify system design and installation, reduce fire safety risk and meet requirements for smart-grid integration. Our next generation microinverters are designed for easy "plug and play" field installation using industry standard cables, as well as direct manufacturing integration into an AC module. Connect with us at www.sparqsys.com.

About the MaRS Cleantech Fund
The MaRS Cleantech Fund (www.marsvf.com) is a private venture fund focused on early-stage cleantech investing. The Fund will invest in capital-efficient companies with strong intellectual property, a global market opportunity and experienced management teams. Portfolio companies will be encouraged to seek maximum support from MaRS. The fund is managed by two experienced entrepreneurs: Dr. Tom Rand (@tomrand, website: www.tomrand.net) and Murray McCaig (@murraymccaig).

About MaRS:
About MaRS Discovery District
MaRS Discovery District (@MaRSDD) is a mission-driven innovation centre located in Toronto. MaRS works with partners to catalyze, accelerate and amplify innovation. MaRS supports entrepreneurs building Canada's next generation of growth companies. In the last three years, MaRS startup clients have raised over $750 million in capital, earned over $375 million in revenue and hired well over 3,500 workers into knowledge economy jobs.

SOURCE: MaRS Cleantech Fund

For further information:

Melissa Hughes
 Manager,
Media & Community Relations

MaRS Discovery District

416 .673.8100 ext. 2710
mhughes@marsdd.com

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MaRS Cleantech Fund

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