Welcome back to Baby Breakerdom! This week's quest to uncover budding Rule Breakers finds $100 million under the sun and more than 300 new Chinese babies.
First up this week is Nanosolar, which recently secured $100 million in new financing from a combination of sources, including both the government and institutional investors. Why so much attention? It may have something to do with who bootstrapped the firm: Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
Or it could be that alternative energy is attracting more customers than ever. Take California, for example. The state government there has pledged nearly $3 billion to harness 3,000 megawatts of power over the next 11 years. With its bigger bank account, Nanosolar is now poised to help. VentureWire reports that the company aims to use most of the proceeds to construct the world's largest solar cell production facility. When completed, it will be capable of manufacturing and shipping 200 million photovoltaic cells annually, equivalent to 430 megawatts of power.
Impressive as that is, it's technology might prove most frightening to existing power providers and budding sun hoarders, including Chinese manufacturer Suntech Power (NYSE: STP ) and domestic peer Evergreen Solar (Nasdaq: ESLR ) . Fellow Fool Dan Bloom did a terrific job of describing why here. In short, Nanosolar wants to print cell circuits like an inkjet printer colors paper. How's that for Rule Breaking?
Next up is a slew of new Chinese investments. According to VentureSource China, domestic venture firms have funded more than 300 Sino start-ups over the past two years, spending more than $2.8 billion.
Frankly, this isn't too surprising. When we recently went round and round in our Foolish Investing World Cup, China came up often as a model for how the developing world can offer generous returns. Consider a company like NetEase (Nasdaq: NTES ) , already a recommendation for the Motley Fool Rule Breakers newsletter. Its shares are up roughly 50% over the past 12 months, as it takes advantage of higher income levels and the increased number of people signing up for online access in China.
Of course, there are risks to investing in China or any developing market. Among other qualms, there aren't nearly as many securities available to Western investors, which makes diversification difficult for stock-pickers. But those days may be coming to an end, now that American VCs are spending heavily in the region. Call it yet another sign that 2016's Rule Breakers are more likely to be found in Asia rather than here.
And that's all for now. See you back here next Friday, when we continue our quest to find the next ultimate growth stock.
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Fool contributorTim Beyerswonders when the sun will stop burning him and start paying him. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. You can find out which stocks he owns by checking Tim's Foolprofile. The Motley Fool has an ironcladdisclosure policy.