A 3-year-old Seattle-area startup is raising cash to develop materials that improve batteries in electric vehicles.
A new SEC filing reveals that Group14 Technologies raised $14.3 million. The company confirmed the amount when contacted by GeekWire but declined to say more about the financing round, which has not yet closed.
The startup specializes in creating nanomaterials that improve battery performance. Specifically, Group14 is creating materials for silicon-carbon anodes, which store lithium in a charged battery. Silicon anodes are responsible for improving the charge of new cell phone and car batteries by as much as 40 percent over graphite anodes, the current industry standard.
Panasonic, Samsung SDI and LG Chem currently lead the battery industry, but newer entrants including Tesla and China’s BYD have added new capacity at a breakneck pace in recent years.
Woodinville, Wash.-based Group14 spun out of EnerG2, a Seattle manufacturing firm that creates customized carbon materials for energy storage.
The company is headed by CEO and co-founder Rick Luebbe, who also co-founded and served as CEO of EnerG2 until it was acquired by German chemical company BASF in 2016. He also co-founded cloud startup Hubspan, which was bought by Liaison Technologies in 2012.
Rick Costantino is Group14’s chief technology officer and co-founder. Costantino also formerly worked at EnerG2 as vice president of research and development and spent 15 years in the pharmaceutical industry prior to that.
The company’s board of directors includes Luebbe as well as Bill Funcannon, managing director of OVP Venture Partners; Gerry Langeler, an investor at OVP Venture Partners; Bob Lutz, a former GM and Ford executive; and John Reagh, managing director at WRF Capital, the Washington Research Foundation’s investment group.
Group14 launched with the help of a $2.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to grow its manufacturing process.