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Lithium is Too Lucrative For Venture Capital to Leave Alone

September 8, 2023
x min read

There is a relentless momentum for all things lithium.

With the demand for lithium continuing to outpace supply, new startups are being launched at warp speed and venture capital continues to flow en masse.

What’s new:

  • Ascend Elements just raised one of the largest rounds of the year for battery materials, landing $564M USD in a Series D financing. The round was led by Decarbonization Partners
  • Redwood Materials, the company started by Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) co-founder JB Straubel, raised $1B USD to expand their battery recycling technology
  • Swedish company Northvolt raised $1.2B to build out their newest giga factories, led by Blackrock and three Canadian pension funds
  • Cornish Lithium, a UK based lithium exploration company, raised $53M GBP, including $24M from the UK Infrastructure Bank. The round also saw notable participation from TechMet, who has US government backing

Why it matters:

  • With a need for more lithium to fuel electric vehicles and decarbonization, these large funding rounds are enormously important to build out scalable infrastructure
  • Seeing institutional capital be allocated to lithium and battery technology is another sign of validation that the energy transition is well underway

The intrigue:

  • In a surprising twist, even artificial intelligence is starting to show potential applications for lithium
  • General Motors invested $60M into Mitra Chem, a Silicon Valley based startup building an AI platform that aims to shorten 'lab to production' timelines for batteries
  • Accure, a startup using artificial intelligence to predict which lithium batteries are likely to fail, raised $7.2M Euros
  • The University of California’s Berkley Lab recently announced early validation for a new study they’ve launched which uses AI and machine learning to better understand lithium battery performance

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