US battery materials newbie Mitra Chem backed by prominent venture capitalist

Jeff Cooper (jecoopr) / CC BY (

November 16 (Renewables Now) - Mitra Future Technologies Inc, or Mitra Chem, a recently created California battery materials firm, has raised USD 20 million (EUR 17.5m) in a Series A funding round led by venture investor Chamath Palihapitiya’s Social Capital.

Mitra Chem is focused on iron-based cathodes for lithium-ion batteries and says it can take cathode products from lab to industrial scale significantly faster thanks to in-house machine learning technology.

The company aims to counter China’s dominance of key battery materials production. Iron-based cathodes shift away from nickel and cobalt but 100% of industrialised iron-based cathode manufacturing is also currently located in China, it said. At the same time, Tesla and other battery and electric vehicle (EV) companies are switching to lower cost and safer iron-based batteries such as lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP).

“Mitra Chem is taking a new approach to battery production that modernizes a decades-old process and accelerates the entire production timeline,” said Chamath Palihapitiya, an early backer of Slack, Tesla, and Bitcoin. “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,” he added.

Taiwanese industrialist Richard Tsai, Fontinalis Partners, Integrated Energy Materials and Earthshot Ventures also took part in the funding round.

Mitra Chem will use the money for product research and development (R&D) and expansion of North American pre-pilot production capacity.

(USD 1 = EUR 0.874)

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Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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