Volta Energy Technologies Kicks Off Energy Storage Fund With Over $70MM From Investors
Expert-led venture fund intends to raise up to an additional $150MM in Q1 2021 from financial investors looking to capitalize on booming battery and energy storage market
CHICAGO (February 18, 2020) – Volta Energy Technologies today announced an initial closing on its venture fund focused on batteries, energy storage, and related hardware and software required to enable the use of lower-cost electric vehicles and renewable power generation.
The battery and energy storage markets are projected to grow by nearly 25% by 2025. Volta has caught the attention of financial investors who are seeking to sort through the ever-growing number of investment opportunities in this crowded space. Volta’s venture fund is also particularly attractive to ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) investors concerned about environmental sustainability as well as profitability. Each one of Volta’s investments is part of a technology ecosystem with the potential to make measurable, positive impacts to the environment by contributing to the rapid adoption of electric vehicles and renewable energy on the grid.
The new fund closed with $72.6M of committed capital in December and will continue to accept additional capital commitments through the end of Q1 2021. It is complemented by the firm’s pledge fund launched in 2017, with the backing of corporate strategic investors Albemarle, Exelon, Equinor and Hanon Systems.
“Investors who do not truly understand the energy storage ecosystem and its underlying technology challenges are at a distinct disadvantage,” said Goldman Sachs veteran and early Volta investor Randy Rochman. “It has become abundantly clear to me that nothing happens in the world of energy storage without Volta’s knowledge. I can think of no better team to identify energy storage investment opportunities and avoid pitfalls.”
Volta’s core team includes technologists that have led product development research and financial investors with experience in multiple sectors. Directed by industry veterans, Volta’s strategic focus is on sourcing and managing investments in technology at its inflection point — where the science and technology risk is low, and the potential for production and revenue growth is just starting to expand.
“Volta delivers value to our investors by pinpointing technologies where the fundamental science risk has been eliminated and the prospect is not overvalued. Where others may aim to spread their bets, the Volta team’s decades of energy storage expertise allow us to separate truly promising technology from empty promises, effectively removing a greater number of zeroes from our portfolio, ” said Volta founder and CEO Dr. Jeff Chamberlain, whose commercialization and industrial experience is complemented by ten years of leading energy storage initiatives at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory.
Hitting the ground running, the new fund has already deployed capital into investments warehoused by its early financial backers, including:
- Natron – A rapidly growing supplier of high-power, fire-safe Sodium-ion batteries using Prussian blue chemistry for applications that demand a quick discharge of power, such as data centers, fast charge of electric vehicles, electric forklifts, and small electrical grids. Since Volta’s investment, Natron has received UL approval and a $20M grant from the Department of Energy to build domestic manufacturing capacity for sodium-ion batteries. Natron is also backed by ABB and Chevron.
- Smart Wires – A company that has developed SmartValve—intelligent hardware that acts as a router for electricity to travel across underutilized power lines to optimize the integration of renewable power and energy storage on the grid. Smart Wires is currently executing a large contract with National Grid in the United Kingdom, and their technology has been qualified in over 90 utilities across the globe.
- Ionic Materials – A materials company that enables non-flammable, high energy, lower cost solid lithium batteries for both transportation and grid applications. Ionic Materials’ platform technology also enables breakthrough advancements in other growing markets, such as 5G mobile, and rechargeable alkaline batteries. The company is also backed by Renault-Nissan, Hyundai, Hitachi, Kleiner Perkins, Franklin Templeton and others.
These investments illustrate Volta’s approach to investing in a range of technologies and businesses that will enable the ubiquitous adoption of both renewable power generation and electric vehicles — including technological advancements not only in chemistry and materials but also in the hardware, software, and innovative business models that are integral to energy storage systems.
The firm expects significant impacts from a pipeline of investible deals aimed at lowering cost, improving safety, and increasing longevity of batteries for electric vehicles, and energy storage for the grid, including investments in battery recycling technology, solid state batteries, wireless fast-charging of EVs and advanced manufacturing processes.
Volta is currently seeking investors to participate in the final close of the new fund in Q1 of 2021 – with the aim of raising up to an additional $150MM. .
Volta Energy Technologies identifies and invests in battery and energy storage technology after performing deep diligence with the support of unparalleled global research institutions. Seeded by strategic corporate investors, Volta connects innovators with investors and relevant industries that are adopting energy storage technology, delivering strategic returns for all. To learn more, visit volta.vc and follow @VoltaLink on Twitter.