Climate tech startup funding: UW-spinoff BattGenie, Microsoft vet, and weeding robot raise fresh cash

Picture credit: Aigen weed zapping robotic (Aigen Picture), charging house electronics (GeekWire / Lisa Stiffler), Port of Tacoma (Inventive Commons / J.Getz)

Right here’s the newest funding information for local weather tech startups throughout the Pacific Northwest.


New funding: BattGenie landed a $1.5 million seed spherical from Powerhouse Ventures and VoLo Earth Ventures, plus a $300,000 grant from Washington state.

The enterprise capital can pay for tech growth, new hires and commercializing their product.

The grant comes from the Washington State Division of Commerce. It can fund a undertaking to repurpose retired, electrical bus batteries for {the electrical} grid. The undertaking website can be chosen by Two Rivers CDC, a Native American-owned nonprofit.

The gist: BattGenie is a College of Washington spinoff creating software program to enhance the efficiency of lithium batteries. The software program optimizes quick recharging whereas extending the lifetime of batteries.

BattGenie crew, from left to proper: Manan Pathak, Chintan Pathak and Venkat Subramanian. (BattGenie Pictures)

The historical past: The corporate began in 2013 and integrated in 2017. Its expertise comes from the lab of Chief Expertise Officer Venkat Subramanian, who’s now on the College of Texas. Its different co-founders, CEO Manan Pathak and Chief Product Officer Chintan Pathak, earned their doctoral levels from the UW.

BattGenie has seven workers in Seattle and Austin.

Final yr the startup joined an accelerator led by vitality large Shell International and the Nationwide Renewable Power Laboratory. Previous funding features a $100,000 funding from Liquid 2 Ventures; a $5 million grant from the Division of Power (DOE); and $75,000 in grants from a number of organizations.

The take: “With our expertise, we’re proud to have demonstrated battery cycle life enchancment in extra of 100%, elevated battery storage, and cost occasions as brief as quarter-hour throughout batteries utilized in EVs, shopper electronics, grid storage and extra,” Pathak mentioned in an announcement.


Todd Brix, CEO and co-founder of OCOchem. (OCOchem picture)

New funding: OCOchem, a Richland, Wash.-based vitality startup, has acquired two authorities grants.

  • $2.93 million awarded by the DOE to a partnership together with OCOchem, carbon dioxide seize firm AirCapture, and others. The cohort is designing a plant that makes use of waste steam generated at a fertilizer facility to seize CO2 from the air and convert it into formate.
  • $1.5 million from the Division of Commerce for a undertaking to develop inexperienced, moveable vitality mills and produce electro-fuels to be used on the Port of Tacoma. The grant comes along with $2.5 million contributed by different sources.

The gist: OCOchem, situated in southeastern Washington, is a part of a rising sector to create new fuels and different merchandise which have a decreased local weather influence and put CO2 to make use of. OCOchem’s technique is to cleave hydrogen from water and bind it to carbon dioxide to create a liquid molecule referred to as formate.

Formate can be utilized to provide vitality, inexperienced hydrogen or to make chemical compounds.

The founders: CEO and co-founder Todd Brix was at Microsoft for 18 years earlier than launching OCOchem in 2017. He labored in IoT, cell and e-commerce within the Home windows Enterprise Group. He started his profession at Chevron Analysis and Expertise.

Vice President of Engineering Dr. Arun Agarwal has greater than a decade {of professional} R&D expertise in renewable chemical compounds, vitality, oil and fuel.

A.T. “Terry” Brix, chairman and chief technique advisor, has created or run 16 inexperienced chemical firms over 4 a long time, resulting in seven exits and one IPO. He’s additionally dad to Todd Brix.

Different funding: OCOchem has acquired a number of grants from DOE and has partnerships with a number of universities.
In 2018 the startup closed a $700,000 seed spherical backed by Bend Enterprise and angel buyers. In 2020, it joined the inaugural accelerator cohort of Halliburton Labs and acquired its first business contract from the U.S. Military to provide formate.


Funding replace: In January we reported that Aigen, a startup creating solar-powered robots for weed management and soil regeneration, had raised a $4 million seed spherical. That funding has since grown to $7 million.

As a result of “overwhelmingly constructive reception from the market, top-tier expertise and buyers” the crew opted to extend the spherical, mentioned co-founder Kenny Lee by e mail.

The Kirkland, Wash.-based ag tech firm launched in 2020 and has 10 workers. Aigen co-founder Wealthy Wurden was one of many first engineers at electrical boat firm Pure Watercraft and labored at Tesla. Lee has a background in cybersecurity and co-founded a startup that was acquired in 2017.

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