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Exclusive: Ion Storage Systems raising $15M for ceramic battery

Illustration of three batteries increasing in size overlaid with money and surrounded by abstract shapes.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Ion Storage Systems is raising a $15 million intermediate round to expand production of its sponge-like ceramic batteries.

Why it matters: French industrial materials supplier Saint-Gobain is anchoring the round, signaling crucial buy-in from an experienced, European manufacturer.

How it works: Ion has developed a multilayer solid-state battery that resembles a Rice Krispie treat.

Catch up fast: Conventional lithium-ion batteries use a liquid electrolyte solution. A solid-state battery aims to cram more energy density into a battery by using — as the name suggests — solid materials.

  • They've tended to be expensive to make in high volumes.

Driving the news: Ion, based in Beltsville, Maryland, says its innovation is combining dense, solid materials with an unusual coral-like structure.

  • It's now building a product line in Beltsville, with plans to begin production in mid-2024.

Of note: Ion characterizes the raise as an intermediary round — one sparked by Saint-Gobain. The startup previously raised an $8 million seed round in 2019 and a $31 million Series A in 2022.

  • "Saint Gobain came to us unsolicited," CFO Ben Chiu tells Axios. "When they made the investment, we said, 'OK, let's talk to our inside investors, our partners to see who wants to come alongside.'"

What's next: Ion anticipates closing the raise in Q1 2024. It anticipates raising a Series B in 2025.

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