iPod inventor, Thiel Capital among backers of battery company Advano in new funding

  • Battery company Advano announced on Tuesday that it raised $18.5 million in its Series A funding round.
  • iPod inventor and Nest founder Tony Fadell is among the company’s backers through his venture capital firm Future Shape. Other investors include Mitsui Kinzoku SBI Material Innovation Fund, Y Combinator and Peter Thiel’s Thiel Capital.
  • The New Orleans-based company uses recycled silicon to increase the energy density of lithium-ion batteries, which power everything from iPhones to medical devices to cars to the International Space Station.

A battery start-up that’s backed by iPod inventor and Nest founder Tony Fadell, and which claims to have found a green and scalable way to make lithium-ion batteries more efficient, on Tuesday announced that it raised $18.5 million in its Series A funding round.

New Orleans-based Advano is focused on increasing batteries’ energy density by replacing the graphite in the anode — the battery’s negative side — with silicon, which is able to hold roughly ten times more lithium than graphite.

Ever since Sony first commercialized the lithium-ion battery in 1991, scientists have been toiling over how to make these devices cheaper, safer and more efficient, and Advano is far from the first company to explore using silicon instead of graphite. Other companies developing these types of batteries include Sila Nanotechnologies, for example, which is valued at over $1 billion.

Advano co-founder and CEO Alexander Girau said that what makes his company different is its use of recycled silicon, which cuts production costs while reducing the environmental impact, as well as the start-up’s laser focus on developing solutions that are scalable.

“We’re not trying to make the best battery in the world and figuring out how to make trillions of them. We’re trying to economically improve the trillions of batteries that will exist,” Girau said to CNBC.

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