Alameda, California-based next-generation battery materials company Sila Nanotechnologies (known as Sila Nano) has raised $170 million in Series E funding this week — which was led by Daimler AG. With this funding round, Sila Nano is going to bring the first Sila Nano-powered batteries to market and accelerate the path towards low-cost electric vehicles.
New investor 8VC also participated in this round along with existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Chengwei Capital, Matrix Partners, Siemens Next47, and Sutter Hill Ventures.
Including this round, Sila Nano has now raised $295 million. And in conjunction with this funding round, Daimler’s Director of Cooperation and Innovation Management Alexander Nediger is joining Sila Nano’s board.
Launched in 2011, Sila Nano is a leader in battery storage innovation and pioneered novel manufacturing methods to create a silicon-based anode to replace graphite in lithium-ion batteries. The improvements to traditional li-ion battery chemistry have stalled to just a 1% to $2% increase every few years — which holds back the potential for consumer electronics and electric vehicles. Fortunately, Sila Nano’s breakthrough chemistry have demonstrated a drastic 20% improvement and it has the potential to reach a 40% improvement over state-of-the-art traditional li-ion.
“We’ve cracked the code on silicon thanks to eight years and 35,000 iterations developing our materials to improve battery storage capacity,” said Sila Nano co-founder and CEO Gene Berdichevsky. “Now we’re ready to bring this to market, and partners like Daimler and Jeff Immelt bring critical expertise and support as we enter this next phase and begin putting Sila inside the vehicles and devices people use every day.”
Sila Nano’s materials are developed using widely available commodities and this ensures consistent supply. Then the final product easily drops into existing lithium ion factories.
The company also announced that former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt is joining Sila Nano’s board as an independent director.
“Advancements in lithium-ion batteries have become increasingly limited, and we are fighting for incremental improvements,” added Immelt. “I’ve seen first-hand that this is a huge opportunity that is also incredibly hard to solve. The team at Sila Nano has not only created a breakthrough chemistry, but solved it in a way that is commercially viable at scale.”
With this funding round, Sila Nano has started ramping up production volume and it is planning to supply its first commercial customers in consumer electronics within the next year. Plus Sila Nano is going to continue to scale up production in the next few years with plans to go to market with automaker companies including BMW and Daimler.
Sila Nano started building out its first production line for battery materials last year. This first line is capable of producing materials for supplying the equivalent of 50 megawatts of lithium-ion batteries, according to TechCrunch. Sila Nano also confirmed that its valuation is now more than $1 billion with this funding round. Sila was also founded by VP of Engineering Alex Jacobs and CTO Gleb Yushin.
“We are on our way to a carbon free future mobility. While our all-new EQC model enters the markets this year we are already preparing the way for the next generation of powerful battery electric vehicles. Lithium-ion technology is currently the most efficient battery technology available, and still shows plenty of potential for the future. The advancements Sila Nano have made in battery performance are very promising. We are looking forward to a fruitful cooperation, pooling our know-how on further development and fast commercialization,” explained Daimler AG’s EVP for Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Electric Mobility Sajjad Khan.