Share this article:
The company said earlier this month it had secured the Series E financing led by Fidelity Management & Research Co. to accelerate the commercial use of its technology in electric vehicles.
“This series should take us through to the next stage,” Rango told the Business Journal on Feb.10. “We’re definitely evaluating other expansion options, acceleration options essentially.”
He added: “It’s not determined just yet, but I think that this money could very well take us through to an IPO down the road” and that could be “within two years.”
That listing could come from a traditional initial public offering or the currently popular special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) route, which is a faster way to public trading.
“We still have to evaluate what’s best for us, in terms of whether it’s a SPAC or a traditional IPO,” Rango said, emphasizing that there are no plans to sell the company.
The funding comes amid a period of heavy interest, and investments, for electric vehicle makers and related businesses, which have a large and growing base in Orange County.
Irvine’s Rivian, a maker of electric delivery vans for Amazon as well as electric-powered trucks and SUVs for consumers, is reportedly eyeing its own IPO later this year. Such a deal is expected to vault Rivian’s valuation to the $50 billion range, which would make it OC’s second most-valuable public company, trailing only Edwards Lifesciences Corp.
“It’s going to enable us to accelerate our commercialization of our battery technology,” Enevate’s Rango said of the Series E. “The whole electric vehicle space is definitely accelerating. The market’s obviously attracting a lot of new investors.”
With the latest funding round, Enevate has raised $191 million to date.
The company’s been around since 2005; its technical advisers include John Goodenough, who in 2019 won a Nobel Prize in chemistry.
Enevate founder and Chief Technology Officer Benjamin Park was a Business Journal Innovator of the Year Award recipient in 2016.
Enevate initially focused on developing batteries for cellphones and other consumer electronics before pivoting to the auto industry in 2016.
Its goal is to allow electric cars to be charged as fast as refueling a gas car.
While the company’s main focus is electric cars, which need fast charging, Enevate also sees a market for other electric vehicles and for power tools such as drills and hedge trimmers.
Enevate develops silicon-dominant, lithium-ion battery technology. Its XFC-Energy platform provides five-minute charging with high-energy density, low temperature operation for cold climates, low cost and safety advantages over conventional graphite lithium-ion batteries.
“As our fast-charge technology is implemented, we see a day in the not-too-distant future when EV drivers will be able to pull up to drive-thru charging stations that will look much like today’s gas stations, charge up and be back on the road in five minutes,” according to Rango, a former executive vice president at Broadcom’s mobile and wireless group.
Enevate licenses intellectual property and transfers technology to electric vehicle automotive companies and battery makers worldwide. The company has more than 350 patents issued and in process.
Enevate does not manufacture the batteries themselves for mass production, but the company does make sample cells for evaluation and is considering production for non-automotive markets.
Rango predicts the Biden administration will provide the impetus for more electric-powered vehicles in the U.S. following the decision to re-enter the Paris climate accord, noting that European automakers have been “more motivated” to make the switch.
Under the Paris Agreement adopted in 2015, nearly 200 nations have vowed to reduce global warming emissions to curb climate change.
Enevate said existing investors Mission Ventures and Infinite Potential Technologies also participated in the Series E round with Fidelity. They and Tsing Capital own the majority of Enevate, according to the CEO.
The company’s other investors include Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi (Alliance Ventures), LG Chem and Samsung Venture Investment Corp.
Enevate said it will be hiring “additional personnel with an emphasis on scientists and engineers” as it grows. It was advertising for 19 open positions on its website as of Feb. 16, including senior cell design scientist, senior scientist (anode) and facility engineer.
Along with the auto industry, the company also sees plenty of use for its fast-charging battery technology in power tools.
“Power tool users, especially in areas such as the home, industrial, and business construction, need portable power tools with longer battery runtimes and the ability to work in cold temperatures,” Park said on the company’s website.
Power tools with Enevate silicon cell technology will be lighter and more powerful due to increased energy and power density of the cells, according to the company.
For digital licensing requests for this article, Contact Kim Lopez