Solyndra took a 360-degree approach to solar energy. The company manufactured photovoltaic solar panels made of tube-shaped modules, rather than traditional flat modules. Designed for commercial rooftop mounting, its thin-film solar panels were distributed mainly in North America and Europe. Customers included solar system integrators and roofing materials manufacturers such as Phoenix Solar and Solar Power Inc. Founded in 2005 by chairman Chris Gronet, Solyndra received funding from Argonaut Private Equity, Redpoint Ventures, and U.S. Venture Partners. The company was forced to suspend operations, lay off most staff, and file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection amid stiff global competition in 2011.