Bedrock Materials Secures $9 Million Seed Funding, Establishes R&D Headquarters in Chicago

CHICAGO, IL, May 16, 2024 – Bedrock Materials, a pioneering battery technology startup launched out of Stanford University in 2023, today announced a successful close of $9 million in seed funding alongside the inauguration of its new Research & Development (R&D) headquarters in Chicago, Illinois.

“On behalf of Chicago’s residents and businesses, I extend a sincere welcome and congratulations to Bedrock Materials for choosing our city as the location for its Research & Development headquarters,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson. “This decision reflects the strength of Chicago’s talent pool, our esteemed research and academic institutions, and the vibrant tech ecosystem emerging here. We look forward to the positive impact Bedrock Materials will have on our city’s growing tech sector.”

Bedrock Materials specializes in producing essential materials for low-cost, eco-friendly sodium-ion batteries. These batteries are seen as a next-generation alternative to lithium-ion versions, utilizing affordable, widely available materials. Last month, the company began R&D scale production of battery precursor materials at its facility in Near West Chicago. Plans are underway to open a larger, permanent site later this year.

Concurrent with this strategic move, Bedrock Materials also secured an incentives package from the Illinois state government under the Reimagining Electric Vehicles in Illinois Act, contingent upon achieving specific job creation and capital investment targets.

“Illinois is home to one of the most robust EV ecosystems in the nation, and I’m thrilled to welcome Bedrock Materials to our great state,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Their research and development headquarters will join our growing EV supply chain, bringing innovation and job creation to our EV economy.”

The company’s decision to locate in Chicago was driven in large part by the abundance of strong materials science research institutions in the area, including Northwestern University, University of Chicago, University of Illinois, and Illinois Institute of Technology. Moreover, Argonne National Laboratory, in Lemont, Illinois, is a key leader in the development of sodium-ion batteries.

“The choice to come to Chicago was an easy one. There is arguably one active laboratory in America that has produced a successful automotive battery chemistry, and it’s here” said Spencer Gore, CEO of Bedrock Materials, “Argonne National Laboratory wrote the book on modern sodium-ion technology. Today, pulling on the deep regional talent pool they have built, we are excited to perfect and scale it.”

Professor Shirley Meng of the University of Chicago commented, “It is truly exciting that the State of Illinois can attract startup companies like Bedrock Materials to be part of the clean tech community. The innovation ecosystem is growing, and we look forward to collaborating with and supporting startups.” Professor Meng is also the Chief Scientist of the Argonne Collaborative Center for Energy Storage Science.

The company’s temporary headquarters are at mHUB, an 80,000 square foot hardware technology incubator near Fulton Market in the Near West side.

“Bedrock Materials is poised to advance the adoption of EVs through sodium-ion-battery technology,” said Haven Allen, CEO and Co-founder, mHUB, and Managing Partner, mHUB Ventures. “mHUB is thrilled that its wet labs, prototyping equipment, and network of resources for early-stage hardtech innovation continue to serve Bedrock Materials on its journey to scale. We look forward to seeing and supporting what they do next.”

The $9 million financing round was led by Trucks Venture Capital, Refactor Capital, and Version One Ventures. Additional investment was provided by Hanover Technology Investment Management, SpaceCadet Ventures, Brainstorm Capital, Evergreen Climate Innovations, Expansion VC, Climate Capital, Quest Venture Partners, Meliorate Partners, Valia Ventures, Ritual Capital, and several individual angel investors with strong ties to the electric vehicle and battery industries.

“Bedrock Materials is solving one of the greatest challenges that exists at the intersection of energy storage, manufacturing, and sustainability,” commented cofounder and CTO Rafael Vilá. “We are fortunate to have such an incredible group of supporters and investors helping us build the foundation for the future of sodium-ion batteries. The world needs cheaper and more sustainable batteries, and together – we are going to make that happen.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Bedrock Materials to Chicago and to the Evergreen portfolio,” said Paul Seidler, Managing Director at Evergreen Climate Innovations, a Chicago-based firm that participated in Bedrock’s seed financing. “As an active investor in battery technologies for more than a decade, we see tremendous potential for the Bedrock team to usher in this next generation of electrochemistry. As the lower cost option, sodium-ion will gain a meaningful share of the very large and fast-growing battery industry. Chicago is the ideal place to develop and scale this technology due to its proximity to world-class national labs and universities and our city’s heritage in manufacturing and logistics.”

Founded in 2023 by Rafael Vilá, CTO and a distinguished battery scientist from Stanford University, and CEO Spencer Gore, a seasoned battery industrialist with experience at Tesla and Enovix, Bedrock Materials boasts a management and advisory team composed of current and former executives from Tesla, Volkswagen, General Motors, Samsung, Panasonic, QuantumScape, Sila Nanotechnologies, Enovix, and Apple.

About Bedrock Materials

Bedrock Materials is a battery technology startup that manufactures critical input materials for sodium-ion batteries, which promise to offer a cost-effective and environmentally sustainable alternative to traditional lithium-ion batteries. The company aims to leverage the rich resources and strategic positioning of Chicago to lead the next wave of battery technology innovation.

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