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Monday, 16 May 2011 07:54

Fisker Automotive Fueled With Another $100 Million

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Venture investors apparently can’t get enough of Fisker Automotive Inc., which recently began production of its luxury plug-in hybrid sedan called Karma.
Only about two months after raising $190 million, Fisker confirmed with VentureWire that it raised another $100 million in Series C funding.

“I don’t think we needed it,” said Roger Ormisher, the company’s spokesman. “There was more on offer.

“It gives us enough money to fully execute both the Karma and the new project Nina,” said Ormisher, adding that there’s also “a good cushion for executing our business plan.”

That’s roughly the same thing Ormisher said when the company raised $190 million in March, when he told VentureWire: “We were offered additional funding. Obviously it was worthwhile in terms of additional cushion.”

New individuals and venture firms came in, but Ormisher declined to name them. Investors in the company include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, New Enterprise Associates, A123 Systems Inc., Palo Alto Investors, Qatar Investment Authority and Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide.

The Irvine, Calif.-based company started a limited production of Karma in March. The company plans to produce 15,000 Karmas annually, but it’s not clear at what point it hopes to reach this level of production. The company increased the price of the car–each Karma will cost $95,900, a price that’s 19% higher than originally proposed–and delayed its release, after originally promising to start selling in mid-2009.

In February, when VentureWire reported Fisker had closed on $150 million of the $190 million Series B round at a $600 million pre-money valuation, the company said it had enough capital to launch its first car and manufacture the second line, a cheaper sedan called Nina that will cost from $35,000 to $50,000.

A123 Systems, which is supplying batteries to the Karma, projected revenue of $210 million to $225 million for 2011, of which about 47% will come from Fisker, according to analyst Dilip Warrier, at investment bank Stifel Nicolaus & Co. The production of Fisker cars is due to pick up soon.

In a recent interview Ray Lane, managing partner at Kleiner Perkins, said, “Fisker will go public.”

Fisker is up against a number of competitors in the race to build a widely adopted electric vehicle, from large automakers like General Motors Corp. and Nissan Motor Co., to start-ups like Tesla Motors Inc., Coda Holdings Inc. and Think Global.