NORMAN — A local chemical company that produces carbon nanotubes has been granted $3 million from investors to continue research and development in the field. Privately held SouthWest NanoTechnologies Inc. will receive the financing through a payment schedule this year from Troy, Mich.-based growth capital fund Insight Technology Capital Partners LP. Insight will manage the fund which will be used to develop, manufacture and market new products as well as the company’s current single-wall and multiwall nanotube offerings.
Investors rareIn a down economy, investors can be hard to come by, making this financial infusion so important, said Dave Arthur, SouthWest’s chief executive officer. "Insight is an ideal investment partner for SouthWest NanoTechnologies,” Arthur said, and a much-appreciated partner for a firm that not that long ago was in survival mode. "We are planning for several new product launches this year, and are hoping to grow the business quite significantly.” Insight has a successful track record of investing in advanced materials companies, he said. "We look forward to working together and benefiting from their advice, counsel and contacts,” Arthur said. Single and multiwall carbon nanotubes consist of a hollow cylinder of carbon with a diameter equal to approximately one nanometer — a billionth of a meter. Carbon nanotubes possess extraordinary optical and electronic properties, tremendous strength and flexibility, and high thermal and chemical stability. Today, carbon nanotubes are used in a wide range of applications in the automotive, aeronautics, electronics, displays, energy and health care markets. "The materials we are making are materials with incredible properties ... the strongest materials known to man,” Arthur said. And that made SouthWest an inviting partner for Insight investors, he said.
About the companySouthWest NanoTechnologies Inc. has 15 employees who work at an 18,000-square-foot production facility that was completed last year. The company was founded in 2001 as a product spin-off for nanotube research created at the University of Oklahoma.