Bedrock Materials Secures $9M Seed Funding

Bedrock Materials Secures $9M Seed Funding and Opens Chicago R&D Headquarters

Bedrock Materials, a pioneering battery technology startup founded in 2023 from Stanford University, has secured $9 million in seed funding. The company has also opened its new Research & Development (R&D) headquarters in Chicago, Illinois.

Mayor’s Welcome

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson warmly welcomed Bedrock Materials. He emphasized the city’s strong talent pool and vibrant tech ecosystem, stating, “This decision reflects the strength of Chicago’s talent pool, our esteemed research and academic institutions, and the vibrant tech ecosystem emerging here. We look forward to the positive impact Bedrock Materials will have on our city’s growing tech sector.”

Focus on Sodium-Ion Batteries

Bedrock Materials specializes in producing materials for low-cost, eco-friendly sodium-ion batteries. These batteries are an alternative to Lithium-ion versions, using affordable, widely available materials. The company recently began R&D scale production of battery precursor materials in Near West Chicago. Plans are underway for a larger, permanent site later this year.

Government Incentives

The Illinois state government has provided Bedrock Materials with an incentives package under the Reimagining Electric Vehicles in Illinois Act. This package is contingent upon specific job creation and capital investment targets. Governor JB Pritzker expressed his enthusiasm, highlighting Illinois’ robust EV ecosystem and the innovation Bedrock Materials will bring.

Strategic Location

Chicago was chosen due to its strong materials science institutions like Northwestern University, University of Chicago, University of Illinois, and Illinois Institute of Technology. Additionally, Argonne National Laboratory, a leader in Sodium-ion Battery development, is nearby. CEO Spencer Gore pointed out, “Argonne National Laboratory wrote the book on modern sodium-ion technology. Today, pulling on the deep regional talent pool they have built, we are excited to perfect and scale it.”

Academic Collaboration

Professor Shirley Meng of the University of Chicago noted the advantages of Illinois attracting startups like Bedrock Materials. “It is truly exciting that the State of Illinois can attract startup companies like Bedrock Materials to be part of the clean tech community. The innovation ecosystem is growing, and we look forward to collaborating with and supporting startups,” she said.

Temporary and Permanent Headquarters

For now, Bedrock Materials operates out of mHUB, a hardware technology incubator. CEO and Co-founder of mHUB, Haven Allen, expressed excitement, “Bedrock Materials is poised to advance the adoption of EVs through Sodium-ion Battery technology. mHUB is thrilled that its wet labs, prototyping equipment, and network of resources for early-stage hardtech innovation continue to serve Bedrock Materials on its journey to scale.”

Investment and Future Outlook

The $9 million financing round was led by Trucks Venture Capital, Refactor Capital, and Version One Ventures. Other investors include Hanover Technology Investment Management, SpaceCadet Ventures, Brainstorm Capital, Evergreen Climate Innovations, and others. Co-founder and CTO Rafael Vilá commented, “We are fortunate to have such an incredible group of supporters and investors helping us build the foundation for the future of sodium-ion batteries.”

Paul Seidler, Managing Director at Evergreen Climate Innovations, also expressed optimism, “We see tremendous potential for the Bedrock team to usher in this next generation of electrochemistry. Sodium-ion will gain a meaningful share of the fast-growing battery industry. Chicago is the ideal place to develop and scale this technology due to its proximity to world-class national labs and universities.”

About the Founders

Bedrock Materials was founded by Rafael Vilá, a distinguished battery scientist from Stanford University, and Spencer Gore, a seasoned battery industrialist with experience at Tesla and Enovix. Their team includes former executives from Tesla, Volkswagen, General Motors, Samsung, Panasonic, QuantumScape, Sila Nanotechnologies, and Apple.

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