This article was originally published by Betakit on January 19, 2023 (link)
Calgary cleantech startup Summit Nanotech, which develops solutions for lithium extraction, has secured $67.4 million CAD ($50 million USD) in what it classifies as a Series A2 round.
The funding was led by Evok Innovations and BDC Capital’s Climate Tech Fund, which are both first-time investors in Summit. The round also included new investors Volta Energy Technologies, NGP, Helios Climate Ventures, and The Grantham Foundation. Previous investors Xora Innovation (Temasek’s deeptech investment arm) and Capricorn Investment Group also participated in the round.
“What we’re able to do now is to get more lithium to market faster and make sure that it’s more sustainably sourced.”
The cumulative $50 million was raised across two tranches. The first tranche closed with $39 million USD, and the second tranche, which closed this week, raised $11 million USD. Summit founder and CEO Amanda Hall called this a bridge round, noting that Summit hopes to raise a larger Series B round that gives it a “high valuation” at a later date.
Founded in 2018, Summit uses advanced nanomaterial to offer direct lithium extraction technology. It claims that its patented denaLi product captures the lithium ion from brine water with minimal impact to the environment.
Manufacturing for electric vehicles (EVs) have been stifled by the lack of battery materials, which includes lithium, said Hall. The demand for lithium has been on an upwards trajectory due to the accelerating EV industry, however, there has also been a global shortage for the metal.
Hall told BetaKit it takes many years to expand an existing operating mine, and that the existing methods of mining were very archaic.
“What we’re able to do now is to get more lithium to market faster and make sure that it’s more sustainably sourced,” Hall said. “That way, we can keep feeding it to EV and battery manufacturers to keep up with demand and ultimately that is to satisfy the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the environment.”
Summit initially closed a $14 million USD Series A round in December 2021 (led by Xora and Capricorn), which went towards building the startup’s pilot unit in Chile and delivering it to the field, Hall told BetaKit.
This most recent funding round will be allocated towards building demonstration units for customers on site in South America, which Hall said has received interest after Summit’s multi-client pilot program in Chile.