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NanoGraf raises $65M for Defense Department batteries

Alan Neuhauser
Feb 14, 2023
Illustration of an extra long battery with many charge indicator bars glowing green.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

NanoGraf, a Chicago-based battery anode manufacturer, closed a $65 million Series B round for energy-dense batteries backed by the Defense Department.

Why it matters: The company's target markets are defense, consumer electronics and medical devices.

Of note: Volta Energy Technologies, which was spun out of Argonne National Laboratory in 2016, co-led the round.

  • The venture firm has a contract enabling portfolio companies to more easily use the lab.
  • NanoGraf is also a spin-out of Argonne, as well as of Northwestern University.

Zoom in: NanoGraf replaces the graphite that's commonly used in lithium-ion battery anodes with silicon.

  • Silicon enables batteries to be more energy dense. It's an approach being pursued by companies like Group14, Sila and Ionblox.

Context: The Series B brings NanoGraf's total amount raised past $100 million. That includes a $10 million federal contract last year to build a silicon anode factory in the Midwest.

What they're saying: "They're very focused on the electric vehicle market — to raise large sums of money to get to the scale necessary to reach a cost that's viable for electric vehicles," NanoGraf CEO Francis Wang tells Axios.

  • "We're a very different approach — more step-wise," he continues, "focused on ... getting our products to beachhead markets as opposed to going straight for the mainstream."

Details: CC Industries co-led the round with Volta.

  • GIC, Emerald Technology Ventures, Material Impact, Arosa Capital, Nabtesco Technology Ventures and TechNexus participated.
  • Existing investors Hyde Park Angels, Evergreen Climate Innovations, and Goose Capital also joined.

Editor's note: This story was updated to add detail to Volta Energy in the first reference.

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