Daimler backs Sila Nano's $395m for silicon anode batteries

April 17, 2019 // By Nick Flaherty
Sila Nano's silicon anode material can be dropped into existing battery manufacturing lines
California startup Sila Nanotechnologies has raised $170m in its fifth round of funding for its silicon anode battery materials, bringing the total backing to $395m (€350m).

The Series E round was led by Daimler AG to bring the first Sila Nano-powered batteries to market with silicon anodes rather than graphite, accelerating global rollout of lower cost batteries for electric vehicles and giving the company a valuation over $1bn as a battery 'unicorn'. Jeff Immelt, former CEO of General Electric, will join Sila Nano’s Board as an independent director, bringing global expertise in materials and manufacturing.

The key to the Sila materials is that they can be dropped into the existing commercial battery manufacturing process to give a performance boost of 20 per cent, riasing to 40 per cent with optimisation. This means that the battery manufacturing partners can produce higher performing cells in existing factories on existing production equipment. This also means that car makers and consumer products companies can continue working with their existing battery suppliers while seamlessly incorporating Sila’s materials technology into new products. Nexeon in the UK is also working on silicon anode technology with signficant financial backing havin raised $120m.

Alongside Daimler, new investor 8VC joined Bessemer Venture Partners, Chengwei Capital, Matrix Partners, Siemens Next47, and Sutter Hill Ventures. With its investment, Alex Nediger, Daimler’s Director of Cooperation and Innovation Management, will also join the Sila Nano board.

“We’ve cracked the code on silicon thanks to eight years and 35,000 iterations developing our materials to improve battery storage capacity,” said Gene Berdichevsky, co-founder and CEO, Sila Nano. “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.”

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