Monday 9 December 2019

McCaughey and O'Reilly hit by SolarPrint crash

Gerry McCaughey. Photo: Marc O'Sullivan.
Gerry McCaughey. Photo: Marc O'Sullivan.

Roisin Burke

A start-up that had a deal to install solar panels on the tops of Fiats had attracted a roll call of well-known investors as well as taxpayer money prior to its liquidation.

Former Chevron CEO and chairman David O'Reilly; former Dublin Docklands Development body chair Gerry McCaughey; entrepreneur David Bobbett and Airtricity backer Louis Fitzgerald are among those who lost following the liquidation of the €5m-backed start-up SolarPrint.

Ex-IDA chief Padraic White was an adviser to SolarPrint and held a small stake, as did former boss of Swiss chemical giant CIBA Brendan Cummins, who was also an adviser and backer.

Enterprise Ireland had put in €750,000 which it is believed it will not recoup.

SolarPrint also had cash from notorious collapsed investment firm Custom House Capital, whose investment on behalf of clients is said to be in the region of €1m.

The Kernel Seed Fund 2009, which ultimately moved to appoint a receiver, had a 20 per cent stake. That fund was run by BoI and venture capital fund Kernel Capital and was last week reported to have seized the assets of SolarPrint.

The company raised several significant rounds of funding to develop what it believed was a state-of-the-art way of converting light into energy to power devices such as laptops, phones and on-board devices in cars.

It was founded in 2008 by Mazhar Bari, Roy Horgan and Andre Fernon.

SolarPrint struck a deal in 2010 to develop solar panels for cars in a partnership with Fiat, in a project funded by over €3m in European Commission money. It had losses of €3.6m at the end of 2012 on its last filed accounts.

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