First Solar’s Ahearn Over Halfway Toward Goal of $300M VC Fund

Michael J. Ahearn, chairman and onetime CEO of First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR), is reviving his interest in equity investing.

Ahearn is raising a $300 million venture fund, according to a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. So far he has been able to raise $192 million, the Jan. 12 document says. (The news was first reported by VentureWire.)

Ahearn is calling his new fund True North Venture Partners. Little additional information is available about the fund other than it is located in Tempe, Ariz.

Prior to joining First Solar, which bills itself as the world’s largest maker of thin film solar modules, Ahearn was a partner and president of equity investment firm JWMA, formerly called True North Partners (please see bio on this page). Ahearn formed the outfit with the late John T. Walton, son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. JWMA remains the largest shareholder in First Solar.

A bio of Ahearn on First Solar’s website states that he served as the company’s CEO from August 2000 to September 2009. Prior to First Solar and JWMA, Ahearn was a partner at law firm Gallagher & Kennedy.

The bio says he has served on the boards of Arizona Technology Enterprises, Arizona State University Research Park, Homeward Bound, the Arizona Science Museum and currently serves on the board of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.