Battelle Ventures, Affiliate Invests $8 M in Renewable Energy Start-ups

Battelle Ventures, LP, and its affiliate fund, Innovation Valley Partners (IVP), have committed a combined $8 million in start-up financing to three energy-related companies, two of which are direct spinouts of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Laboratories managed by Battelle Ventures’ sole limited partner, Battelle Memorial Institute.

The companies are: Aldis, a traffic-management-technology company focused on energy efficiency that has a joint development agreement with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL); Ampulse, a “virtual” company that has been spun out of ORNL to commercialize the Lab’s flexible thin-film photovoltaic (PV) technologies; and Planar Energy Devices (Planar), a power-storage company developing thin-film batteries that is a spinout of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), as well as a licensee of both NREL and ORNL technology.

Details of the investments are:

Aldis, based in Knoxville, Tenn., received some $1.9 million in Series A funding, with another almost $1.9 million committed based on milestones to be achieved. Tennessee-based fund Meritus Ventures, L.P., also participated;

• Ampulse, which currently operates from the IVP office in Knoxville, received more than $1 million in pre-seed funding; and

Planar, which is based in Orlando, Fla., received $1.3 million in Series A financing, with another $2.7 million committed based on milestones to be achieved.

“We take a broad view of the energy & environment sector, a key investment focus for us, along with security and health & life sciences,” said Battelle Ventures General Partner Kef Kasdin, explaining that, in general, “we look for capital-efficient investment opportunities where there is significantly differentiated, breakthrough technology addressing key problems in the sector. We are not targeting any particular subsector.”

Battelle Ventures is a $220-million national fund that invests in technology companies at many early stages of development, from companies looking for seed or start-up capital through pre-revenue and post-revenue companies raising later rounds of financing. The fund focuses on three areas of investment: energy & environment, security and health care & life sciences.

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