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Solid-state battery company Natrion nets $2M

May 25, 2022
Illustration of a battery with a dollar bill wrapped around it.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Natrion, a startup that makes a component for solid-state lithium-ion batteries, tells Axios it raised $2 million in seed funding.

Why it matters: Solid-state batteries are making big promises for EV makers and long-term energy storage but are still a far ways away from commercialization.

Driving the news: Natrion's $2 million in seed funding comes via convertible note with a $12 million valuation cap, co-founder Thomas Rouffiac tells Axios.

  • Chicago-based TechNexus Venture Collaborative led the round with participation from Tamarack Global, Mark Cuban and Illinois Ventures.
  • TechNexus Venture Collaborative CEO Terry Howerton will join Natrion's board as part of the round.
  • Natrion received its last check of the round two weeks ago, Rouffiac says.

How it works: Natrion makes a polymer-ceramic component for lithium-ion batteries that it says improves charging speed and longevity.

  • It's a replacement component for existing lithium-ion batteries, unlike some other solid-state companies that are rethinking the entire battery cell design to incorporate the solid materials.
  • Natrion is currently testing its technology in small cell batteries similar to what you'd find in a watch. With the funding, it plans to start testing larger prototypes that are more typical for EV batteries.

The intrigue: Natrion co-founder Alex Kosyakov said that materials shortages — primarily cobalt, nickel and manganese — are causing EV makers to turn to other available materials, which could impact the industry's shift to solid-state technologies.

  • Kosyakov said that Natrion is also working on components that work in lithium iron phosphate batteries, an increasingly common alternative.
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