Posh, a startup that automates EV battery recycling to build sustainable energy storage solutions, has raised $3.8 million in a seed funding round.

Y Combinator-backed startup – Posh – was founded in 2021 by Wesley Zheng and Chung Hoang.

Investors who participated in the round include Y Combinator, Metaplanet, Outbound Capital, Starling Ventures, Uphonest Capital, Global Founders Capital, Muse lead singer Matt Bellamy (through Helium-3 Ventures), and others.

One of the significant challenges in scaling up the applications of end-of-life electric vehicle (EV) batteries is automating battery pack disassembly and grading. Traditional automation suits pre-programmed, repetitive tasks in a highly structured environment. There are currently many product variants for retired EV battery packs and no common standards in battery pack design.

“There will be around 12 million tons of batteries retiring from EV between now and 2030. Most of these batteries have 80% unused capacity and thousands of dollars’ worth of precious metals. Today these retired batteries are disassembled almost 100% manually before they are reused or shredded for recycling. We are changing this by making battery disassembly fast, safe, and scalable. We want to bring affordable lithium-ion batteries to the masses and help create a circular economy for our electric future,” said Wesley Zheng, CEO and co-founder of Posh.

Co-founder and CTO Chung Hoang said developing flexible automation systems that can handle a large variety of packs and deal with uncertainties remains a significant bottleneck in expanding end-of-life EV battery utilization.

“In order to build a fully scalable solution, we have to build a model that we can train to handle all types of batteries,” he added.

According to Mercom’s Q1 2022 Funding and M&A Report for Storage, Grid & Efficiency, total corporate funding (including VC, Debt, and Public Market Financing) in Battery Energy Storage came to $12.9 billion in 26 deals compared to $4 billion in 27 deals in Q4 2021. Funding increased significantly year-over-year compared to $4.7 billion in 18 deals in Q1 2021.