June 10, 2008 -- Hopewell Ventures, a $110 million Midwest-focused venture capital fund, today announced it has closed on its lead investment in Helios Coatings Inc.’s $4 million preferred equity financing.
Helios Coatings is a Canton, Ohio-based provider of OEM-approved, environmentally responsible metallic coatings for the automotive industry.
Helios produces and markets the Metallight™ coating system, an environmentally friendly replacement for chrome plating on aluminum alloy wheels and other auto parts. Metallight™ offers increased durability and eliminates the environmental hazards of chrome plating. Helios will use funding from the Hopewell Ventures-led financing to expand production and distribution. Also investing as part of the financing group was G.C. Andersen Partners LLC of New York City.
“Metallight™ gives auto manufacturers and aftermarket suppliers the opportunity to seamlessly incorporate chrome-like finishes into their designs without the environmental and health issues associated with hexavalent chromium plating,” said Tom Parkinson, Hopewell Ventures partner. “This process has consistently passed the automakers’ most rigorous safety and durability testing. Helios is in a great position to build its capacity and market share to satisfy the increased demand.”
Harnessing insights into advanced coating technologies, metals, nano-technology and physical vapor deposition, Helios developed a patented process that results in a metallized coating that is similar in appearance but more durable than plated chrome. With process temperatures below 325°F, Metallight™ is ideal for critical cast alloys and electro-coated substrates, as well as certain non-metallic materials, such as composites and ceramics.
Designed against the toughest automotive OEM specifications, the Metallight™ system holds up against corrosion, thermal shock, thermal cycle and UV exposure. Helios also provides a low-temperature, environmentally friendly chrome-like coating for temperature intolerant substrates, such as plastics utilized in automotive trim and wheel caps allowing for exact match of metalized features.
Over the past decade, many automotive manufacturers have phased out chrome from their designs due to cost and the environmental hazards of using traditional chrome plating. Also, because the Helios process provides significant durability improvements over plating, Metallight™ wheels can be distributed in adverse-weather environments without warranty issues that have long plagued plated chrome wheels.
“Consumer response to our coating has been exceptional, leading to significant growth in orders and the need to expand our production capabilities,” said Mark Leininger, Helios Coatings chief executive officer. “With the Helios product, manufacturers can design for the consumer again. Along with the new capital, the breadth of expertise provided by Hopewell Ventures creates value that will help propel Helios to become the leader in the environmentally friendly chrome market.”
With the investment, Tom Parkinson from Hopewell Ventures and Thomas Blum from G.C. Anderson Partners join the Helios Coatings board of directors.