Sila Nanotechnologies, a Silicon Valley battery materials company cofounded and led by a former Tesla engineer, raised an additional $590 million for the production of its silicon-based anodes that improve the efficiency of batteries for electric vehicles and consumer electronics.
The Series F round was led by Coatue Management and boosts Sila Nano’s valuation to an estimated $3.3 billion, the Alameda, California-based company said. It also boosts total funding to date for the Daimler-backed tech firm to about $934 million. Sila Nano, which is also working with BMW and ATL, plans to use the new funds to set up a North American plant that will open in 2024 and produce anode materials for 100 GWh of batteries annually.
“For any new technology to make an impact in the real world, it has to scale, which will cost billions of dollars,” cofounder and CEO Gene Berdichevsky said. “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.”
The news comes as the Biden Administration is prioritizing vastly greater U.S. production of electric vehicles and batteries as part of a broad-based effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Along with new federal plans to replace gas- and diesel-powered vehicles with electric ones, the U.S. is also readying a push to get at least 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations set up across the country.
Sila Nano says its materials allow battery makers to produce lighter, safer, more energy-dense batteries, which can lower the cost of electric vehicles. Its silicon-based anode, designed to replace graphite used in lithium-ion batteries, offers a 20% improvement in efficiency over current cells and could eventually boost efficiency by 50%, according to the company.
“We believe Sila Nano has created a battery technology that is new, groundbreaking, and has a clear path to scale and broad adoption,” said Jaimin Rangwalla, a senior managing director for Coatue Management.
Existing investors in Sila Nano including 8VC, Bessemer Venture Partners, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Sutter Hill Ventures also invested in the F round.