The company, headquartered in Woodinville, Washington, provides silicon-carbon composite materials for lithium-ion markets, a fancy way of saying advanced battery materials, Rick Luebbe, CEO of Group14 Technologies, told Crunchbase News.
SK Materials led the investment with participation from returning investor OVP Venture Partners. The new funding gives Group14 approximately $41.5 million in total investment since the company was founded in 2015. This includes $35 million in venture-backed funding and $6.5 million in government grants, Luebbe said. Previously, the company raised an $18 million Series A round in 2019, according to Crunchbase data.
The company intends to use the funds to scale production for its flagship lithium-silicon technology, SCC55, which boosts energy density 50 percent more than conventional graphite for lithium-ion batteries. Use cases for the product include electric vehicles, medical devices, aviation and grid storage.
“That is revolutionary for an industry that traditionally sees single-digit density each year,” Luebbe said. “In the electric vehicle space, this kind of increase could bring the cost gap down between electric vehicles and gas combustion engines. We see this as today’s technology, not tomorrow’s technology. It will drop into current infrastructure and remove a lot of the hurdles.”
More investment has been going toward smart batteries and smart power. Epirus, a startup developing smart power applications, landed $70 million in a Series B round last week. Meanwhile, Romeo Systems, a maker of batteries for electric vehicles, filed to go public in October. The company had raised $123 million in known venture funding, $92 million of it in 2019, according to Crunchbase data.
In October, Group14 announced plans to break ground on its new hydro-powered production facility in Moses Lake, Washington, that would be up and running by 2023. Meanwhile, the company has already begun ramping up its pilot production and plans to supply its first commercial customers in consumer electronics in the first quarter of 2021.
In the past year, the company has grown from five to 30 employees. Luebbe expects that kind of growth to continue to position the company to go after a Series C round in 2021.
“Our next steps are to continue to validate the technology and other processes,” he added. “We are also looking at new partnerships and strategic investors that parallel our Series A that includes battery industry experts. This validates the technology more effectively and provides experts in materials, the making and deployment of them, as well as selling. It puts us in position for future success.”