January 28, 2020
Advano, the company that has created a scalable, affordable solution to improve the battery life of today's rechargeable batteries and is easily integrated into existing supply chains, emerged from stealth and closed a $18.5 million Series A funding round. The round was co-led by Mitsui Kinzoku SBI Material Innovation Fund and two investment firms, Tony Fadell's Future Shape and PeopleFund. Other investors participating in the round include Peter Thiel's Thiel Capital, DCVC, and Y Combinator among others.
Advano has also unveiled its first major strategic partnership, announcing that it will work with Japan-based Mitsui Kinzoku, one of the largest battery materials suppliers in the world, to leverage Mitsui's knowledge of manufacturing and access its vast distribution channels across multiple industries. John S. Foster, Ph.D., of microelectromechanical systems ("MEMS") biotech company, Owl Biomedical, Inc., and Innovative Micro Technology has been appointed as President and COO of Advano. Tony Fadell, 'Father of the iPod,' and a member from Mitsui Kinzoku SBI Material Innovation Fund have joined as observers on the company's board of directors.
Founded by chemical engineer Alexander Girau, Advano upcycles scrap, silicon waste from semiconductor or solar panel manufacturing, to create A-SiFx™, a finely engineered, scalable silicon solution that increases the energy density of li-ion batteries. By upcycling, Advano is able to sidestep the toxic silicon manufacturing process entirely, protecting both the environment and its engineers.
Advano's world-class battery design experts use a systems-based approach to understand the entire battery, creating a customizable solution that allows battery and materials companies across different sectors to "drop-in" or integrate A-SiFx™ into their existing supply chains to deliver safe, reliable, and scalable technology.
The standard material used for rechargeable li-ion battery anodes is graphite. Graphite-based batteries are maxed out. The impacts on consumers include shortened phone battery life and "range anxiety" caused by limited distance an electric vehicle can travel. Silicon is the only material that can change the performance of batteries – now. Silicon can store 10x more energy than graphite. Meaning, less material can be used per battery, decreasing battery cost and size.
But, solving the challenges of silicon is akin to solving a Rubik's Cube: fixing one problem creates others. Advano addresses all of the interrelated and competing issues, including scale, with its advanced and patented A-SiFx™.
"The greatest problem of our world is climate change, and Advano is helping to solve it by making energy more sustainable, cleaner, and cheaper through our silicon-based batteries. To fix the problem however, the solution must scale," said Alexander Girau, who serves as Advano's chairman and CEO "From day one of Advano's existence, scale has been the first criterion of every decision we have made."
Mitsui Kinzoku - SBI Material Innovation Fund said: "Advano has a timely and pragmatic approach to building better battery material at scale. Mitsui is proud to partner with Advano and looks forward to helping introduce its products to a variety of large consumer and industrial sectors."
Advano also announced three key personnel additions. Dr. John S. Foster, a former faculty member in Applied Physics at Stanford, who recently relocated to New Orleans, will serve as President and Chief Operating Officer of Advano. In 2011, Foster co-founded Owl Biomedical, Inc., a microchip-based cell therapy company, which he led as Chairman and CEO through its acquisition by global biotech company Miltenyi Biotec. Foster also brings to Advano extensive board and leadership experience from past executive positions at IBM, Innovative Micro Technology, and Applied Magnetics Corporation. Substantively, Foster's experience at all three companies involved MEMS and microchip manufacturing, and IMT was the largest MEMS foundry in the United States.
In addition, Girau welcomes Tony Fadell, principal at Future Shape, and a member from Mitsui Kinzoku-SBI Material Innovation Fund, as observers on Advano's Board of Directors.
"Adding silicon to li-ion batteries can 10x their run-time. Imagine eliminating 'range anxiety': more EVs, less CO2. But no one has been able to solve four key issues concurrently: material expansion, cycle-life, cost, and drop-in manufacturing scalability. Advano's battery experts are the first to successfully tackle them all. In addition, Advano's unconventional full-stack approach allows for the battery customization manufacturers require. Plus, they're using sustainably-sourced silicon to combat the environmental effects of our transition to electric everything! Advano's innovative work with silicon is the holy grail for batteries," said Tony Fadell.
Founded in 2016, and 2017 graduate of Y Combinator, Advano is a New Orleans-based company delivering a scalable solution for lithium-ion batteries with higher energy density. By conquering the challenges of silicon, Advano integrates or completely replaces graphite in today's lithium-ion batteries with A-SiFx™, its advanced silicon anode material. Advano is improving the longevity of lithium-ion batteries for blue chip battery manufacturers and tier one consumer electronics and automotive companies.