Recent Deals – 21 February 2023

Silicon-based lithium-ion batteries, the industrial metaverse, and soil-based carbon sequestration – Recent deals worth looking at:

Agriculture & Food

Loam Bio (2019) develops microbial products for soil-based carbon sequestration. Its technology allows for crops to be inoculated with micro-organisms that have mutualistic relationships with crops for organic carbon building within the soil. The firm has secured $73M in a Series B round co-led by Lowecarbon Capital and Wollemi Capital, with participation from Horizons Ventures, Acre Venture Partners, Main Sequence, Clean Energy Finance Corporation, and Grok Ventures.

This round of capital will be used to expand the availability of its seed coating technology which boosts a plant’s ability to store carbon in the soil, and to support the commercial launch of its CarbonBuilder seed inoculum and SecondCrop carbon business to farmers in Australia. As cropland accounts for roughly 10% of the earth’s surface, it plays a pivotal role in atmospheric carbon sequestration. Getting significant quantities of carbon into the ground, most of which ends up being drawn from the soil by the growing crops, requires microbial tools that accelerate and facilitate the process of improving overall soil health.

Energy & Power

Ionblox (2017) offers high energy density lithium-ion batteries to improve energy storage capabilities in ground and aerial electric vehicles. The technology leverages pre-lithiated silicon-dominant anodes for long life-cycle batteries intended to support electric vehicle manufacturers. Ionblox has produced batteries which offer up to 50% higher energy density, up to 5X more power and a charging time of up to 10 minutes – all advancing qualities compared to conventional lithium-ion cells.

Ionblox has recently secured $32M in its Series B round led by Lilium and Applied Ventures with support from Temasek Holdings and Catalus Capital. This latest injection of capital will allow Ionblox to scale its boundary-pushing technology and develop advanced high-power cells for electric aviation; it will further use the funding to prototype fast-charge cells for electric vehicles.

Materials & Chemicals

NanoGraf (2012) is a developer of silicon-graphene materials for the next generation of lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are well-recognised as a key part of the clean energy transition and a vital part of innovations across the electrification chain, from zero-emission electric vehicles to new power storage systems. By leveraging high-performing anode materials and creating batteries with minimal material swelling, NanoGraf is providing technologies with the potential to scale up energy density across the battery landscape and support expanded vehicle range, longer run-time for devices and ultimately encourage battery usage by lowering costs.

The company has recently bagged $65M in Series B funding in a round led by Volta and joined by Emerald Technology Ventures. The funds will be directed towards advancing NanoGraf towards mass production capabilities for its anode materials.

Resources & Environment

Carbonplace (2022) is a carbon credit trading platform, intended as a hub of exchanges, marketplaces and global registries that connect banks and customers to the carbon market. The aim is to simplify the process of purchasing carbon credits in the transition to a net-zero future and to streamline the role business plays in reaching it.

The firm has raised $45M in its seed round from UBS, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Standard Chartered Bank, Natwest, National Australia Bank, Itau Unibanco, CIBC Innovation Banking, BNP Paribas, and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria. The investment will be used to scale up its platform, to grow its team and to expand its range of services to additional banks and carbon market participants, including registries and marketplaces.

Transportation & Logistics

Zypp (2017) provides electric scooter and bike sharing mobility services through a mobile application aiming to simplify the process of transitioning towards fuel-alternative options for a daily commute. The application includes QR code scanning, location-based searches and a subscription program for planning on-demand, accessible modes of travel.

The start-up has raised $25M in a Series B round led by Gogoro with participation from LetsVenture, Venture Catalysts, 9Unicorns Accelerator, Indian Angel Network, We Founder Circle, Ivy Growth Associates, and Goodyear Ventures. The capital will be directed towards its fleet expansion objectives and to widen its range to 30 cities across India by December 2050.

Enabling Technologies

PreVu3D (2017) offers interactive 3D digital twin visualization and modelling software for the manufacturing industry. The visualisation platform leverages three-dimensional scanning methods and cloud processing technologies for photorealistic digital replicas which allows companies to optimally utilise spaces and collaborate on 3D models in real-life environments.

Overall, this technology allows businesses to take first steps into the industrial metaverse. PreVu3D has raised $10M in its recent Series A round led by Cycle Capital, with Brightspark Ventures and Desjardins Capital participating. This round of funding will go towards expanding its operations and development efforts, and more broadly to accelerate the deployment of its 3D digital twin platform towards industrial environments.

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