Lyten raises $200M to kick off battery production
Lyten, a startup that makes a novel form of graphene, has raised $200 million in a Series B round to build up production of its batteries.
Why it matters: The funding is another bright spot for climate-tech growth equity, and highlights how batteries for electric vehicles continue to attract investor attention.
Details: San Jose, Calif.-based Lyten said venture capitalists Prime Movers Lab led the round, which also included strategic investors Stellantis, FedEx, Honeywell and The Walbridge Group.
- The company produces a crumpled form of graphene (they call it 3D graphene) that it's using for three initial applications: to hold sulfur together in a high-energy lithium-sulfur battery; to make a lightweight material for things like industrial cases; and as part of an ultra-sensitive sensor.
- Much of the funding will go to graphene production and battery manufacturing capacity, says chief sustainability officer Keith Norman.
Of note: Lyten, founded in 2015, has raised more than $410 million.
Yes, but: Lithium-sulfur batteries, which don't use cobalt or nickel, have been under development for years and there are none being commercially produced at scale.
- Celina Mikolajczak, the company's chief battery technology officer, told Axios earlier this year: "Sulfur is unruly. Lithium is unruly. When you put these two elements together you get a chemistry that is really difficult to work with."
- Lyten's risk is beyond the R&D phase but not yet at the phase of scaling up repeatable commercial manufacturing. "We're working our way through that middle phase," says Norman.
Big picture: The Inflation Reduction Act has unleashed both government and private capital for domestic battery manufacturing, EV production and battery recycling plants.
- While climate-tech growth capital was challenged in the first half of the year, there seems to be a growing number of growth-round announcements this month.
- Some investors are predicting a return of growth equity coming soon thanks to pent-up demand, reset values on growth deals, and continued momentum of the IRA.
- Norman says there was no decrease in investor interest for Lyten's round but that investors are generally taking longer to close rounds compared to the funding heights.