High-tech battery startup closes venture funding round

WEST BLOOMFIELD TWP.—Intecells Inc., a developer of advanced manufacturing technology for lithium-ion batteries, announced the closing of a Series A funding round, led by  San Francisco-based Walden International and its partner, Steinhagen, Germany-based Plasmatreat GmbH, a developer of plasma-based metal treatment technology.

West Bloomfield Township-based Intecells is developing and commercializing battery-manufacturing technology that improves battery performance and reduces costs. It is a client of Southfield’s Centrepolis Accelerator, a manufacturing startup accelerator run by Lawrence Technological University and the city of Southfield.

Company officials said the funding will accelerate the company’s growth and accelerate its product development aimed at reducing battery cost and improving battery performance for all forms of batteries. Weber Jin, partner at Walden International, and Hing Wong, managing director of WI, say they will work closely with Intecells CEO Xiaohong Gayden, to build the company it into a global enterprise to impact the future of battery manufacturing. Intecells leverages the expertise of Plasmatreat to develop cold plasma technology for battery manufacturing.

Gayden said in a press release: “Intecells is offering a new path towards a low-cost battery manufacturing globally, while helping to catalyze domestic battery industry. Intecells will focus on developing integrated solutions for the whole battery value chain. Leveraging Walden’s network will enable the company to achieve initial commercial success sooner. Having access to the engineering talent at Plasmatreat GmbH further shortens the product development cycle to better serve our customers.”

Added Wong: “Given the rapid global growth of the electric vehicle industry, longer battery life and high performance are critical. Intecells’ new battery solutions are equipped to address this challenge. I am very excited to be working with the Intecells team to build this company into a global battery technology supplier to the EV industry and the consumer electronics industry.”

And Jin said: “The Intecells team is strong and experienced in the battery industry. Dr. Xiaohong Gayden is the inventor and pioneer in the development of cold plasma technology used in battery manufacturing. I am very impressed by Dr. Gayden’s vast experience and knowledge of the battery technology.”

Meanwhile, Christian Burke, CEO and managing partner of Plasmatreat, said: “We want to break free from the constraints of conventional battery design and existing production processes to develop a technology that significantly increase battery performance and make production more efficient. New battery technologies are not only of vital importance to the rapidly growing field of electro-mobility, they would also optimize countless applications in the consumer electronics sector, or even make them feasible in the first place.”

WI has more than $2.6 billion in capital. Its earlier investments have included GoPro Inc. and  WebEx.  For more information, visit www.waldenintl.com.

Plasmatreat has technology centers in Germany, the United States, Canada, China, and Japan, as well as subsidiaries and sales partners in more than 30 countries. For more information, go to www.plasmatreat.de.

Intecells, founded in 2017, is focusing on bringing down the cost of battery manufacturing while improving the performance of batteries. The company is developing a scalable, solid-state battery manufacturing technology to enable the integration of improved battery chemistries into energy efficient cells at a cost that is significantly lower than today’s technology. This proprietary technology offers a new pathway to achieving efficiency in battery design and manufacturing for every kind of battery powered devices and products including wearables, electronics, electric vehicles, and energy storage systems.

Since its first commercialization, lithium ion batteries have been made by a decades-old process even though the materials that are used to make the batteries have continued to evolve in order to satisfy increasingly demanding requirements. Over the last decades, lithium ion batteries have gone from powering mainly consumer electronics to driving electric vehicles. The conventional battery manufacturing process has various limitations and remains costly, especially when it comes to the most desirable battery chemistries and materials. Before consumers are willing to trade-in their internal combustion engines, batteries must be affordable. The cost and performance challenge in terms of energy storage and power performance cannot be solved by simply inventing more new materials. It requires reimagining the process and tools to make batteries. And the Intecells’ team is doing just that.

Intecells applies additive manufacturing concepts to combining a commercially proven coating technology with a series of innovative electrode designs to reach overall efficiency and flexibility. This manufacturing technology eliminates solvent to protect the environment and eliminates wastes. It also reduces the costs related to capital investment, floor space, energy consumption and process time by more than 50 percent. It has the potential to catalyze domestic battery manufacturing base, which is currently dominated by Asian countries.

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