October 15, 2020
Newberry, Indiana (October 15th, 2020). “The same way Moore’s Law for microchips has changed the world, the next generation of computing will be enabled by an acceleration in energy storage,” said Rajan Kumar, PhD, founder and CEO of the battery startup Ateios. “Technology keeps moving towards smaller and thinner devices for everyday use. The only thing stopping it is the battery.”
Ateios (pronounced “Ah-TAY-ohs”) has developed the world’s first flexible, paper-thin customizable battery. Today, they announced closing an over-subscribed, $1.25 million Series Seed financing round, led by early-stage venture capital firm, Good Growth Capital.
Good Growth Capital Venture Partner, Krisztina ‘Z’ Holly, first met Dr. Kumar at the YoungStartup Venture Summit pitch competition in May and was immediately impressed by both the technology and the market potential. “Advances in batteries are becoming the key enabler for many industries: energy, medicine, transportation, ubiquitous computing,” explained Ms. Holly, who championed the deal. “Because Ateios’ breakthrough is streamlining the manufacturing process, rather than creating whole new battery chemistry, they can adapt their platform quickly for a wide range of existing applications. Their technology especially shines in small, flexible electronics applications that have been waiting for an innovation like this.”
The pandemic and geographical distance notwithstanding, the two teams have worked together virtually for the last six months to solidify their relationship. “Ateios stood out as the kind of transformative technology that Good Growth is focused on, with the solid team to lead this new market. Good Growth continues to aggressively invest and support new innovations, even under these pandemic and challenging times, and Ateios was something we could not delay in getting involved with,” added Good Growth Capital Managing Partner, David Mendez.
Dr. Kumar and fellow graduate student, Carlos Munoz, founded Ateios while conducting pioneering research in stretchable batteries at the University of California San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. After spinning out the company and engaging with customers in wearables and the Internet of Things (IoTs), the company developed a patent-pending manufacturing technique for thin-film batteries. The company relocated earlier this year to the Battery Innovation Center located outside of Bloomington, Indiana. The company’s manufacturing process is 10 times faster and one-fifth of capital cost compared to existing battery manufacturing. This innovation has already attracted customers in the flexible electronics industry, where the batteries can be highly customizable and rapidly integrated into their devices by Ateios’ ability to die-cut custom shapes and apply them robotically, like a sticker. The federally-funded battery center is providing additional equipment and facilities support to enable Ateios to deliver commercial quantities of batteries regularly, and the company is working with the State of Indiana to locate their next facility to deliver volumes beyond that. The seed round will enable them to meet customer demand and take their technology to scale.
“We’re thrilled Ateios chose to establish operations here,” said Ben Wrightsman, president of the Battery Innovation Center. “Ateios is one of the pioneering companies establishing Indiana as the technology leader in batteries and energy storage. They demonstrate how federal and state support alongside private capital can help supercharge entrepreneurs to build more innovation, domestic manufacturing, and economic opportunity.”
The funding round comes shortly on the heels of Ateios receiving Phase I SBIR funding from the National Science Foundation and graduating from The Heritage Group Accelerator powered by Techstars. Additional investors include Keshif Ventures, Techstars Ventures, Elevate Ventures, HG Ventures, Impact Assets, VisionTech Angels, and several high-value angels, providing experience in analytics, manufacturing, and advanced materials. Mr. Mendez, managing partner with Good Growth Capital and former Managing Director at Techstars, and Al VanDenBergh, angel investor and CFO for Heritage Construction and Materials, will join the board.
“We’re thrilled to have the top leaders partner with us,” said Dr. Kumar. “Good Growth Capital’s diverse network, deep operating experience, and expertise in a wide range of transformative technologies is a perfect fit for the next phase of our journey.”
Ateios is developing a new process to reshape batteries through rapid, custom manufacturing. The battery industry’s manufacturing process has remained relatively unchanged over the past 40 years, impacting applications such as Digital Health and the Internet of Things (IoT). This project will develop a novel platform for battery manufacturing using a cure-on-command technology, which will expedite the components curing process from hours to seconds. The cure-on-command technology will provide multiple benefits to battery manufacturing by eliminating unnecessary processing steps, such as cost savings, capital equipment savings of 3x, and environmental friendliness. For more information, please visit ateios.com.
About Good Growth Capital
Good Growth Capital (GGC) is an early-stage venture capital firm known for its exceptional expertise in finding, cultivating, and assessing complex science and technology start-ups. Formed by a team of experienced operators, our strong capacity for understanding early-stage science and technology investments enables us to invest well at an earlier stage than most venture capital firms, giving us priority access to high-performing investment opportunities. We invest in seed-stage and Series A deals through our General Fund family and in pre-seed and seed-stage companies through our Infinite Corridor Fund, which primarily targets MIT-affiliated and transformative science start-ups. GGC is majority women and minority-owned and is uniquely positioned geographically in both the Southeast and New England. For more information, visitgoodgrowthvc.com.
About the Battery Innovation Center
The Battery Innovation Center (BIC) is a unique public-private partnership and not-for-profit organization that incorporates leadership from world-class universities, commercial enterprises, and government organizations to focus on the rapid development, testing, and commercialization of safe, reliable, and lighter weight energy storage systems for commercial and defense organizations. Located adjacent to Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane, the BIC provides both a virtual collaborative network of capabilities needed for the development of next-generation energy storage solutions as well as a state-of-the-art $15.6 million energy research lab. To learn more about the BIC, visit bicindiana.com/
About Keshif Ventures
The mission of Keshif Ventures is to foster the growth of the San Diego data science ecosystem through investments in early-stage teams focused on building infrastructure or enterprise solutions. Keshif Ventures was founded by Taner Halicioglu, Facebook’s first employee, and founder of the Halicioglu Data Science Institute at UC San Diego. To learn more about Keshif Ventures, visit keshif.com/
About Elevate Ventures
Elevate Ventures is a private venture development organization that nurtures and develops emerging and existing high-growth businesses into high-performing, Indiana-based companies. Elevate Ventures accomplishes this by providing access to capital, rigorous business analysis, and robust advisory services that connect companies with the right mix of resources businesses need to succeed long term. To learn more about Elevate Ventures, visit elevateventures.com.
About HG Ventures
HG Ventures is the corporate venture arm of The Heritage Group. HG Ventures supports innovation and growth across The Heritage Group by investing and partnering with private companies developing new technologies and approaches in our core and adjacent markets. We leverage the world-class expertise of The Heritage Group operating companies and research center to offer a unique value proposition to our portfolio company partners. To learn more about HG Ventures, visit hgventures.com/
About Impact Assets
ImpactAssets was spun out of Calvert Impact Capital in recognition of the growing need to increase flows of capital to the world’s greatest challenges. The ImpactAssets Donor Advised Fund was created “of, by and for impact investors” to provide a flexible solution for the innovative and creative impact investing that philanthropists were seeking. Since its inception, ImpactAssets has become the leading facilitator of direct impact investing within donor-advised funds. Our portfolio represents more than 568 impact investment positions and $1 billion in assets. To learn more about Impact Assets, visit impactassets.org/
About VisionTech Partners I VisionTech Angels
Founded in 2008, VisionTech Partners I VisionTech Angels is a privately held company that links investors to high-potential, early-growth companies. Based in Indianapolis, capital of one of the nation’s most vibrant innovation regions, VisionTech Angels has chapters in Bloomington, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Lafayette, and Dayton, Ohio. Our investment portfolio includes 34 companies, and more than 130 members across Indiana and Ohio. Membership is open to accredited investors. Those interested in joining are encouraged to contact VisionTech Angels. To learn more about VisionTech, visit visiontech-partners.com
Techstars is the global platform for investment and innovation. Founded in 2006, Techstars began with three simple ideas—entrepreneurs create the future, collaboration drives innovation, and great ideas can come from anywhere. Today our mission is to make innovation accessible to everyone, everywhere. We do this by connecting startups, investors, corporations, and cities to create a more sustainable and inclusive world. Since 2006, Techstars has invested in more than 2,200 companies and today has a market cap of $27 Billion. To learn more about Techstars, visit techstars.com.