Electric vehicle solid-state battery technology provider Natrion has raised $2 million in seed funding.
Chicago-based TechNexus Venture Collaborative led the round with participation from Tamarack Global, Mark Cuban, Illinois Ventures, and other private investors.
This seed round marked the company’s first significant private capital raise. Before this, the company secured funding from the U.S. Department of Defense, including a $200,000 Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) contract from the U.S. Naval Air Warfare Centre Weapons Division.
The company plans to use the new funds to build in-house pouch cell prototyping capabilities at its R&D centers in Champaign, Illinois, and Binghamton, New York, which will allow it to prototype and validate Lithium Solid Ionic Composite (LISIC) in full-size cells that mimic those that are used in electric vehicle battery packs. Qualifying LISIC in pouch cells will be the company’s first step along the path of scale-up and, if successful, will help position the company to build out a pilot production line as early as 2023.
LISIC is the company’s patented and proprietary technology. While conventional lithium batteries use highly flammable, low-performance liquid electrolyte components, LISIC is a polymer-ceramic hybrid solid electrolyte that drops into existing battery manufacturing lines to replace liquids. LISIC is thus able to improve charging speeds, driving range, longevity, and safety for electric vehicles and has the potential to benefit an array of other transportation and defense applications significantly.
“The Natrion technology enables a significant increase in the thermal threshold of the battery, thus reducing fire risk and improving battery durability and cycle life,” said Terry Howerton, Co-Founder, and CEO of TechNexus Venture.
Solid-state battery companies have recently seen keen interest from investors. Earlier this year, Factorial Energy, a developer of solid-state batteries, raised $200 million in Series D funding to accelerate commercial production and deployment of Factorial’s solid-state battery technology.
According to Mercom’s Q1 2022 Funding and M&A Report for Storage, Grid, and Efficiency, Venture capital (V.C.) funding (including private equity and corporate venture capital) raised by Battery Storage companies in Q1 2022 came to $1.1 billion in 21 deals a 15% increase compared to $1 billion in 14 deals in Q1 2021. Quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) funding was 28% lower compared to $1.6 billion in 21 deals in Q4 2021.