Windspire Energy makes Chapter 11 filing
Windspire Energy, the Reno company that won plaudits for its sleek wind-turbine machines, is working to reorganize itself under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code.
The company, whose majority ownership rests with three venture capital firms in the San Francisco Bay Area, said in its filing in federal bankruptcy court in Reno that it owes nearly $6 million and has assets of about $220,000.
Among its biggest creditors are the law firm of Holland & Hart, which is owed $154,822, and Noventi LLC, a venture capital firm in Menlo Park, Calif.
Noventi, which also owns 40 percent of the equity of Windspire, is owed $147,071, according to court filings.
Other venture firms that took a stake in Windspire in a financing round that closed in late 2008 are Greenhouse Capital and Big Sky Partners, both of Sausalito in the Bay Area. Each of them took a 10 percent stake.
The wind-turbine maker also drew investment from individual members of the Sierra Angels of Incline Village.
Launched in 2005 as Mariah Power, Windspire Energy drew praise for its 30-foot-high, vertical-axis wind turbines. They’ve been installed in locations ranging from rural homes to the Parking Gallery in downtown Reno.
The company won awards such as the Popular Science “”Best of What’s New” in 2008.
But sales didn’t keep pace with the honors.
The company says in bankruptcy court documents that revenues in 2011 totaled $2.7 million, down 75 percent from the $11 million in revenues it posted in 2010.
Company officials didn’t respond to a request to comment last week.
Windspire Energy has developed a network of 110 dealers in the United States, Europe and Canada.
Its manufacturing has been handled since 2009 by MasTech Wind, which retrofitted a former auto-plants factory in Manistee, Mich., to produce the Windspire.
Tiffiany Howard, a UNLV professor and recent Congressional Black Caucus Foundation senior research fellow, is the lead author of the study aimed at identifying ways banks can help support and invest in Black entrepreneurs.