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Exclusive: AM Batteries raises $30M led by Toyota Ventures

Illustration of a battery wearing a US flag as a cape.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Battery equipment startup AM Batteries has raised a $30 million Series B round to grow its team and continue to build out its pilot production line in Massachusetts.

Why it matters: Equipment makers like AM Batteries can play a key role selling into the battery manufacturing market that the Biden administration is trying to bring back to the U.S., an effort fueled by funds from the Inflation Reduction Act.

Details: Toyota's venture arm led the round. Other investors included Porsche, Asahi Kasei, and RA Capital - Planetary Health, among others, as well as existing investors.

Zoom in: CEO Lie Shi tells Axios the company will use the funds to double its team from around 25 people today over the next 6 to 9 months.

  • He adds that the round will give the company enough of a war chest for a runway of two to three years.

How it works: Most battery makers assemble electrodes using a wet process, involving a toxic solvent and a slurry to stick the anode or cathode to the current collector.

  • AM Batteries uses a dry process, which the company says is 40% more energy efficient, takes 20% of the space of the wet process and is more environmentally friendly.

What we're watching: While U.S. battery manufacturing is growing, thanks to the IRA injection, it has also hit some speed bumps partly due to high interest rates boosting costs.

  • For example, battery materials recycling company Li-Cycle paused construction of its planned plant in Rochester, N.Y., due to high construction costs.
  • AM Batteries will also need to move from the pilot stage of manufacturing into larger-scale production of its battery-making equipment.

Editor's note: This story was updated to clarify the seventh paragraph.

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