Sila Nano, EV Company Founded by Former Tesla Engineer, Raises $590 Million at a $3.3 Billion Valuation

By Adriaan Brits Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Sila Nanotechnologies, a Silicon Valley battery materials company co-founded and led by a former Tesla engineer, has raised $590 million in a new funding round, taking its valuation to $3.3 billion.

A Tesla charging at a Supercharger station.

A Next-Generation Battery Materials Company

The Series F round was led by Coatue Management, while other participants included funds and accounts managed by T. Rowe Price Associates, 8VC, Bessemer Venture Partners, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and Sutter Hill Ventures.

The engineered materials business said it would use the proceeds to hire 100 more employees in 2021 and start building a plant in North America that will be able to produce 100 gigawatt-hours of silicon-based anode material used in car and smartphone batteries.

The electric vehicles (EV) startup said their business production is expected to start in 2024, and materials produced at the plant will be in EVs by 2025.

“It took eight years and 35,000 iterations to create a new battery chemistry, but that was just step one,” Gene Berdichevsky, chief executive and co-founder of Sila Nano company, said.

“For any new technology to make an impact in the real world, it has to scale, which will cost billions of dollars. We know from our experience building our production lines in Alameda that investing in our next plant today will keep us on track to be powering cars and hundreds of millions of consumer devices by 2025.”

In Sila Nano’s batteries, the graphite is replaced by a silicon-based anode. What’s even more important for the business is that the startup managed to replace graphite without changing the manufacturing process of its lithium-ion batteries.

The company has put a major focus on developing the silicon-based anode as it increases the number of lithium ions that can be stored. Therefore, it allows a greater energy density, or in other words, the amount of energy that can be stored in a battery per its volume.

The product represents a strong opportunity for carmakers to try and attract more electric vehicles to the market. The majority of global carmakers are planning or already manufacturing a new series of all-electric and plug-in EVs, including Daimler, Ford, BMW, Hyundai, and more.

The demand for batteries keeps rising and carmakers are rushing to develop the most sophisticated technology that will help them increase their share in the market. Hence, it’s no surprise that the business has managed to increase its valuation quickly.

In 2010, battery production stood at around 20 GWh per year in 2010. Sila Nano expects that figure to climb to 2,000 GWh per year by 2030 and 30,000 GWh per year by 2050.

Summary

Sila Nanotechnologies, the company that works to produce the next-generation materials used in batteries, secured $590 million at a $3.3 billion valuation in a Series F round led by Coatue Management.

About the Author


Headshot for author Adriaan Brits
As an analyst of global affairs, Adriaan has an MSC from Oxford, with diverse interests in the digital economy, entertainment, and business. He is a specialist trainer in Advanced Analytics & Media.

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