Energy Foundry Invests in the Future of Batteries

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Startup SiNode Systems finds strategic value with an energy-focused venture fund.

"Energy Foundry’s investment in SiNode is an exciting indicator for commercializing battery research in our community." – Mark Peters, Deputy Director of Argonne National Laboratory

Today Energy Foundry announced its investment in SiNode Systems, a Chicago-based startup with technology that will change the future of batteries for cell phones and portable electronics. It is the third equity investment Energy Foundry has made in an Illinois-based energy startup.

SiNode’s technology, developed at Northwestern University, is an advanced battery material made of silicon and graphene in a novel layered structure. The material enables game-changing improvements in the amount of energy a battery can store, as well as how quickly it can charge. “SiNode is a testament to university entrepreneurship; the team has transformed a breakthrough scientific discovery into a high-potential business," said Linda Darragh, Kellogg Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship.

SiNode’s business plan and technology won a host of top honors at business and innovation competitions around the country, including wins at the 2013 Department of Energy National Clean Energy Business Plan Competition and the 2013 Rice University Business Plan Competition. SiNode was also a finalist at the 2013 Clean Energy Challenge and named an "up-and-comer" in the 2013 Chicago Innovation Awards.

“SiNode is doing groundbreaking work in the battery market and their technology is showing enormous promise,” said Jason Blumberg, CEO, Energy Foundry. “The team is extraordinarily talented and focused on a rigorous and comprehensive commercialization process. We are thrilled to be joining forces with the SiNode team and other investors, and doing what we can to help them be successful.”

Energy Foundry’s investment in SiNode represents a powerful example of the potential to drive energy storage innovation forward in Chicago. “The investment by Energy Foundry is an important validation of the vision and potential of our company,” said Samir Mayekar, CEO, SiNode Systems. “Our partnership with Energy Foundry is about more than capital. Their core focus on energy innovation adds tremendous strategic value, and will help us build bridges into the energy community.”

This investment is just the tip of the iceberg. The U.S. Department of Energy and Argonne National Laboratory are investing $120 million into advanced battery research and commercialization. Mark Peters, Argonne’s Deputy Director, “Cutting-edge battery research requires strategic partners to help bring technology from the lab into the market. Energy Foundry’s investment in SiNode is an exciting indicator for commercializing battery research in our community.”

About Energy Foundry

Energy Foundry is an impact venture capital fund, created out of the Illinois Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act. The law directed Illinois electric utilities, ComEd and Ameren, to provide $22.5M for the creation of the fund, a first-of-its kind model to stimulate Illinois’ innovation ecosystem and to support the emerging energy-technology marketplace. Energy Foundry invests and supports emerging energy and grid technology startups. The evergreen nature of the fund, where profits are reinvested into other promising Illinois-based energy businesses, will continue to catalyze growth and entrepreneurship in the ecosystem.

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Rebecca Schultz
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