Imperial’s startup ecosystem has helped connect About:Energy with the investment it needs to rise to the next level.
About:Energy, a startup founded from battery research at Imperial and the University of Birmingham, has closed its pre-seed funding round thanks to investments from three notable tech entrepreneurs. Rishi Khosla of OakNorth, Dr Nikhil Shah of S-Cube (also an Imperial startup), and Nicholas Yiu of Intercalation Station, joined forces to complete the six-figure funding round, which will drive the company’s further development.
About:Energy uses data and software to accelerate and enhance battery development for customers across the battery manufacturing, automotive, and aerospace sectors. The company was set up at the tail end of 2021 by PhD students Gavin White from Imperial and Kieran O’Regan from Birmingham, who were working together in the Faraday Institution’s Multi-scale Modelling Project, on cell thermal conductivity and electrochemical parametrisation respectively.
They were supported in founding the company by Professor Emma Kendrick from Birmingham’s Energy Materials Group; Professor Greg Offer, Dr Alastair Hales (now at the University of Bristol) and Dr Yatish Patel from Imperial’s Electrochemical Science and Engineering Group; and Neil Morris, former chief executive of the Faraday Institution.
“Being based at Imperial has given me such a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with technology and startup founders from a range of different fields and industries,” said Gavin White, who is now About:Energy’s chief executive. “The ability to connect with S-Cube’s Nikhil Shah and his network of business leaders, such as OakNorth’s Rishi Khosla, has given About:Energy a sturdy platform to grow both technologically and financially.”
S-Cube was set up in 2019 and has successfully commercialised fundamental research into full wave inversion carried out by Professor Mike Warner’s team in Imperial’s Department of Earth Sciences and Engineering. While working in a different field, the company shares About:Energy’s focus on applying algorithms to deep tech problems.
“Over the last few months, I’ve seen the rapid pace of About:Energy’s early development,” said Dr Shah, who is now S-Cube’s chief executive. “Gavin and Kieran are clearly building a company capable of scaling battery design technology, making it faster, cheaper and better suited to the needs of industry.”
I am a big believer in backing strong entrepreneurs. Rishi Khosla Chief executive, OakNorth
Similar endorsements came from the other two investors. “It’s exciting for me to be part of About:Energy’s journey at such an early stage,” said Rishi Khosla, co-founder and chief executive of fintech company and challenger bank OakNorth, who is investing in a personal capacity. “I am a big believer in backing strong entrepreneurs and supporting the efforts of a business which is taking a practical and innovative approach to battery software development.”
“I met Gavin and Kieran a year ago and really like their stories and the problem they’re trying to solve,” said Intercalation’s Nicholas Yiu. “It’s true that battery development projects can be slow, manual, and filled with trial and error. Starting from a stronger foundation, with accurate models, can and will be a step up for any company working with batteries.”
Although About:Energy has only been trading for five months, it is already generating revenue, enabling it to expand to eight full-time employees. The pre-seed investment will be used to further scale up the business, adding both personnel and advanced hardware. About:Energy will start a seed investment round this October, with a view to closing in January 2023.
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