The innovative battery materials company, Sicona Battery Technologies, has raised $3.7 million in a pre-series A round. It’s exciting progress for the local company that already supplies the likes of Tesla, and it represents the first investment by deep-tech impact fund SDGx.
The funding round was led by Artesian Investments and included US-based Riverstone and Chaos Ventures, as well as local investors Bandera Capital and SDGx.
Sicona is working to bring greater efficiency to lithium-ion batteries through using innovative materials in the battery anode. It uses a silicon-graphite composite in the anode and has been developed over ten years at the Australian Institute for Innovative Materials (AIIM) at the University of Wollongong.
“Sicona’s unique silicon-graphite anode products solve the technical challenges experienced by using silicon in a battery but at a fraction of the cost of competing approaches due to our simple and scalable production process.” says co-founder Christiaan Jordaan.
It has the potential to deliver 50% to 100% greater capacity than traditional batteries. And with the size of the battery market already huge, and growing, this represents a major opportunity for a local team. A report by Accenture suggests diversified battery industries could contribute $7.4 billion annually to Australia’s economy and support 34,700 jobs by 2030.
Sicona was founded in 2019 by Christiaan Jordaan, an experienced entrepreneur, and Andrew Minett, a materials scientist with deep experience in batteries technology. The pair were selected for the Startmate accelerator in the 2021 climate technology cohort, which followed on from a $1m seed round in July 2020, and winning a $704k ‘Accelerating Commercialisation’ Grant by the Australian Federal Government in late 2020.
For VC investor SDGx this investment represents the first deployment of funds from their climate tech fund.
“At SDGx, we invest in deep tech companies that have the potential to create a meaningful and measurable impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions whilst scaling up to transform the largest industries in the world. Sicona clearly has that potential.” Says Zarmeen Pavri, Partner at SDGx Ventures.
“As the Fourth industrial revolution continues to pick up momentum, as investors, we are seeing tremendous alpha opportunities within the deep tech space. These types of investments are not only revolutionary and financially attractive but have the societal impact woven throughout the fabric of their organisation from day one and have a clear vision on how they will make the world a better place. It’s these sorts of investments that have catalytic transformation abilities that can accelerate the transition to a low carbon future.”