Desert Angels mentioned in Arizona Daily Star Article

State seeing venture capital dry up


When Tarek Makansi went looking for money to get his Tucson-based company’s technology for energy-converting computer chips into production, he soon found he’d have to look beyond the state borders.

About two weeks ago, his Tempronics Inc. announced that it had landed a $2.7 million venture financing round led by the San Francisco-based venture firm Nth Power, which specializes in the energy sector.

Makansi, an electrical engineer who spent 21 years with IBM Corp., said the venture funding will help Tempronics move from research to prototyping and limited production of its thermoelectric computer chips.

The technology, which exploits heat conversion on the microscopic level, has the potential to create a whole new category of solid-state devices for cooling, heat conversion and power generation, Makansi said.

Though Tempronics’ venture round included investments from members of Tucson’s Desert Angels angel-investor group, the lack of local venture capital funds troubles Makansi.


In March 2009, Tucson-based startup Salutaris Medical Devices Inc. received $1.5 million in financing from TRAC, along with funding from the Desert Angels to bring the investment to more than $2 million.

TRAC also has made investments of undisclosed amounts in Tucson-based Calimmune Inc., which is developing a stem cell HIV/AIDS therapy; and Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals, which is initially focused on colon cancer therapies.


David Wichner Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Sunday, March 7, 2010