With Tesla and Others Moving to Lower Cost Iron-based Batteries, Mitra Chem is Positioned to be the First North American Battery Materials Product Company Built to Shorten the Lab-to-Production Timeline by >90%
Family office of Chairman Richard Tsai (Fubon Financial Holdings) participates as major investor
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Nov. 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Mitra Future Technologies Inc. (“Mitra Chem”), a leading innovator in North American production of lithium-ion battery materials, today announced the completion of a $20 million Series A round. Mitra Chem was co-founded by Taiwanese-American William Chueh (闕宗仰), who is concurrently an Engineering Professor at Stanford University in California. The round was led by Social Capital, a leading California investment firm run by Chamath Palihapitiya. Other participants include Taiwanese industrialist Richard Tsai, Fontinalis Partners, Integrated Energy Materials and Earthshot Ventures.
Lithium-ion batteries are the key platform technology enabling electrification in transportation, consumer electronics, along with residential, commercial, and grid-scale energy storage. Mitra Chem is positioned to disrupt the global production and supply chain of these vital battery materials, and revitalize the North American battery supply chain industry. Mitra Chem is building the first North American lithium-ion battery materials product company that shortens the lab-to-production timeline by over 90%. Mitra Chem’s first core product category is iron-based cathodes for non-Chinese battery applications. Iron-based cathodes shift away from the use of elements such as nickel and cobalt, which are facing imminent supply crunches and overconcentration of investment in China. China dominates the global production share of core battery materials, and the North American market is facing imminent threats of supply shortages without localization and reshoring efforts.
Over 60% of existing global battery cathode manufacturing capacity and 80% of capacity in construction is located in China. Even as Tesla and other battery and electric vehicle companies move to lower cost and safer iron-based batteries such as lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP), 100% of industrialized iron-based cathode manufacturing occurs in China today. Weak manufacturing capacity in the North American battery supply chain represents not only a geopolitical and national security risk but also threatens the long-term domestic scalability of EVs and other energy storage products.
Mitra Chem takes cathode products from lab to industrial scale faster than the competition by leveraging an in-house machine learning technology advantage to dramatically shorten the R&D timeline. Mitra Chem’s goal is to transform the cathode from a specialty chemical to a platform technology that differentiates cell performance by end application.
Mitra Chem will use the capital from the round to invest in product R&D and expand North American pre-pilot production capacity.
“The impending threat of climate change requires a significant global ramp up of electrification across a wide range of carbon-based sectors. The lack of North American based production and distribution of key battery materials represents a significant gap in our ability to lead in climate innovation. Mitra Chem has the ability to upend the balance of power within the complicated global battery supply chain, supporting the explosion in electrification and disrupt the marketplace for these vital materials. We deeply appreciate the support from Chamath, Social Capital and our partners participating in the round, and look forward to continuing to drive innovation in a sector that is on the front lines of the fight against climate change,” said Mitra Chem CEO and Co-Founder Vivas Kumar.
“Electrification is fundamental to a sustainable energy future – and impossible without a durable, resilient, and scalable battery supply chain. Mitra Chem is taking a new approach to battery production that modernizes a decades-old process and accelerates the entire production timeline. Importantly, they are building their supply chain in North America – the first of its kind – which will dramatically decrease our dependence on China, where the overwhelming majority of battery materials manufacturing takes place today. Our investment in Mitra Chem is part of our ongoing commitment to support innovators, businesses, and technologies looking to deliver solutions to address the urgent threat and devastating impacts of climate change,” said Chamath Palihapitiya, founder and CEO of Social Capital.
Mitra Chem also announced that Chamath and supply chain executive Will Drewery have joined the company’s board of directors. Chamath is CEO of Social Capital, a renowned tech investor, Chairman of Virgin Galactic, and an early backer of Slack, Tesla, and Bitcoin. Will is a manufacturing and supply chain executive with industry experience spanning automotive, aerospace, construction, and robotics. As Astra’s VP of Supply Chain, Will leads sourcing, logistics, and distribution of materials and services necessary to operate the business. Prior to Astra, Will led Tesla’s capital equipment supply chain team, where he managed expansion programs for Tesla’s global manufacturing operations.
SOURCE Mitra Chem