Dyson Bets $15M on Sakti3’s “World-Beating” Battery Technology
Two years ago, Sakti3 co-founder Ann Marie Sastry told the crowd at Xconomy’s Mobile Madness Motor City conference that consumer electronics is the next frontier for solid-state lithium batteries like the the kind her company was producing.
That prediction seems to have played out in yesterday’s news that Dyson—the global manufacturer of vacuum cleaners, fans, hand dryers, and other products—became the latest investor in the Ann Arbor, MI-based startup, to the tune of $15 million out of a $20 million round. Also reportedly participating in the round were past investors General Motors, Beringea, Khosla Ventures, and Itochu Technology Ventures.
Dyson’s head of R&D, Mark Taylor, told Wired that solid-state batteries are essential to his company’s future growth. Taylor praised Sakti3’s technology as “world-beating”—a characterization similar to that of MIT Technology Review, which named Sakti3’s batteries one of 2011’s top technologies—and pointed out that its batteries already have nearly twice the energy density of today’s best lithium-ion batteries.
Though Taylor admitted Dyson is still a few years away from having products that will utilize solid-state lithium batteries, the consumer electronics industry is already hungry for a more powerful battery that requires less frequent recharging. Dyson is betting that day comes sooner than later and is putting its money on Sakti3.
At Mobile Madness Motor City in 2013, Sastry estimated that by 2020, consumers will own more than 1 billion devices, all of them needing a better way to store energy. (In aggregate, she said, it represented a decabillion-dollar market.) We said then, “It’s not just the first-world problem of wanting your iPhone to hold its charge during a night out on the town. In emerging economies like India, Brazil, and China, Sastry said the ability to walk away from the power supply—to sustain power drawn off the grid for increasingly longer amounts of time—enables more people to enter the middle class.”
But, as with any emerging technology, now we wait and watch Sakti3’s journey to market—which apparently just got a little easier, thanks to Dyson and other backers.
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