The movement toward electric transportation and renewable energy is rapidly going mainstream and will make a big impact on improving our planetary health. Powering these systems requires a new class of batteries, with the lithium-ion battery market expected to grow from $44 billion in 2021 to $200 billion by 2028. However, the market is heavily supply constrained as new chemistries and better testing processes are required to improve performance and unlock the supply of batteries. We need to accelerate the transition to sustainable energy, sustainably.
Today I am honored to share that we have partnered with Kaixiang Lin, Harvard Ph.D, and Jason Koeller, UC Berkeley Ph.D, two of the world’s best battery innovators, who are the founders of Chemix, an AI-powered platform company that will discover, design and deliver better batteries. In addition to product innovation, a start-up requires a founding team with multiple skills, a capital efficient business model, and the ability to leverage the global ecosystem – and we believe Kaixiang, Jason and their team have true platform potential. Our journey with them reflects our roots as an early-stage investor, which requires the ability to dream big with founders, an appetite for risk, and the endurance to stay involved in companies throughout their inception to iconic journeys.
I met Kaixiang and Jason a year ago as they had decided to take their learnings from working together at a previous battery start-up to found Chemix. Inspired by their world-class expertise and unique approach, we partnered with them on their $3.6M pre-seed round in October 2021 and have been working with them since. Today they are announcing a $7M seed round, led by us along with their pre-seed investors Radical Ventures with participation from new investor Ibex Ventures. Key operating milestones since their pre-seed stage include defining their business as a complete battery solution provider including cell, pack, and AI-powered cloud-based software to monitor battery field deployments, securing UBCO, a leading EV adventure bike manufacturer, as their first customer/delivery partner with a multi-million-dollar contract, building an automated battery pilot facility, and expanding the team beyond the founders to a dozen domain experts.
We believe Chemix will soon achieve next-gen battery performance 10x faster and cheaper than conventional approach by:
- Building an AI-guided discovery platform to explore the vast chemical landscape to unlock commercialization potential of all battery chemistries vs. going all-in on one initial chemistry. This is a similar approach to our CRISPR platform portfolio company Mammoth Biosciences.
- By enabling application specific battery development strategy that enables customers to bring highly differentiated products to market instead of relying on suboptimal off the shelf batteries.
- By accelerating the testing process through an AI-powered approach that predicts cell life-cycle.
- By leveraging existing Li-ion manufacturing facilities (GWh level) to produce high‑quality & high-volume cells using the standard cylindrical and pouch cell formats for a high velocity, capital efficient business model.
- By including the life-time battery health monitoring software with its batteries for xEV OEMs and utilities.
Along with our other human and planetary health investments in precision medicine, new foods and materials, we look forward to enabling entrepreneurs to address the big problems to make our world better for the next generation. Please join me in welcoming the Chemix team to the Mayfield family.