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Courtesy of Romeo Power

Romeo Power, a 2-year-old startup, has raised $30 million in seed funding to build what it says are better custom lithium ion battery packs. The company will also open its new factory in Southern California by the end of the year.

Why it matters: Batteries are becoming increasingly critical with the rise of electric cars and the development of new technologies like drones and vertical take-off and landing vehicles. Batteries can also help with managing energy in commercial and residential buildings, and can even help people in areas with lower access to electricity.

Big claims: Romeo, which purchases batteries from suppliers like Samsung, says it can design and manufacture battery packs that perform better than the competition, and can be prototyped faster, largely thanks to the design software it has built.

  • The company claims that its battery packs are at least 25% denser and charge in 15-20% less time.
  • It says it already has $65 million in customer orders, which will be delivered next year. Customers include major automakers (in the U.S. and Europe), as well as industrial and robotics companies like Power Designers and Robotic Assistance Devices. "Tesla is the only one that won't be a customer," co-founder and CEO Michael Patterson told Axios in an acknowledgement of the automaker's established battery business.
  • It's also developing energy storage systems for buildings.
  • Romeo co-founder and CTO Porter Harris has led battery design at SpaceX as well as Faraday Future. Co-founder and CEO Michael Patterson is a serial entrepreneur who sold his last company to American Express.

Go deeper

Updated 13 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

U.S. Capitol and stage are lit at sunrise ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden. Photo: Patrick Semansky - Pool/Getty Images

President Biden has delivered his inaugural address at the Capitol, calling for an end to the politics as total war but warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country.

What's next: Biden, Harris and nearly all the living former presidents and their spouses lay a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery.

Inaugural address: Biden vows to be "a president for all Americans"

Moments after taking the oath of office, President Biden sought to soothe a nation riven by political divisions and a global pandemic, while warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country and defeat a "virus that silently stalks the the country."

Why it matters: From the same steps that a pro-Trump mob launched an assault on Congress two weeks earlier, the new president paid deference to the endurance of American political institutions.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: The Biden and Harris inauguration

Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were inaugurated as president and vice president respectively in a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: Top Democrats and Republicans gathered for the peaceful transfer of power only two weeks after an unprecedented siege on the building by Trump supporters to disrupt certification of Biden's victory. Trump did not attend Wednesday's ceremony.