Exclusive: Temasek backs battery maker Ionblox
Ionblox, a California-based battery maker for electric aircraft, has received an $8 million investment from Temasek.
Why it matters: The capital infusion from the Singapore sovereign wealth fund caps a $32 million Series B that closed last month, Ionblox tells Axios.
Details: Lilium, a German developer of electric jets; Applied Ventures; and Catalus Capital participated in the Series B.
- The first close took place in October. Temasek invested an undisclosed seed amount at the time, but needed to complete further due diligence, Ionblox CEO Sujeet Kumar tells Axios.
- Ionblox declined to disclose a valuation. The company is deciding between one of two candidates to appoint as an independent board member.
Catch up fast: Battery cells are compiled into modules. Battery modules are then combined in a battery pack.
- Battery cells typically use anodes that are made largely from graphite.
What's happening: Ionblox, previously named Zenlabs Energy, uses silicon in those anodes instead.
- Silicon promises greater energy density, more power and faster charging. But it's prone to swelling and fracturing.
- Ionblox uses silicon cells that are "pre-lithiated," coated in a sheathe of lithium, which the company says mitigates those problems.
What they're saying: "Our batteries can recharge 80% in 10 minutes. And not one time, but 1,000 times," Kumar says.
Context: Other companies working with silicon-based battery materials include Sila, Group14, Amprius and Enovix.
What's next: Ionblox, based in Fremont, Calif., is using the capital from this round to complete development of its large-format cells and expand manufacturing capacity.
- It's planning to launch a Series C in the next three months, targeting $50 million to $100 million.
- The company also plans to apply for Department of Energy funding and programs, Kumar tells Axios. It previously received a development contract from the U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium.
What we're watching: Lilium, the electric jet developer, is based in Munich. But Ionblox's customers include U.S.-based eVTOL makers too.
- "Maybe this year we'll sign an offtake agreement and make those announcements," Kumar says.