Investment

Deal of the Week: Transformative cleantech group gets transformative sum from private investors

A Californian cleantech company has secured a big sum of money from a number of prominent investors, giving it the investment needed to make big advancements in the technology behind lithium production. 

Lilac Solutions, a mining technology company, has received $20 million in investment from Bill Gates’ backed Breakthrough Energy Ventures, which led the round, family offices/foundations, the Grantham Foundation and Lowercarbon Capital, and MIT venture-backed group, The Engine. 

Lilac says it has developed a patented ion exchange technology that facilitates production of lithium from abundant brine resources with minimal cost and ultra-low environmental footprint. Its mission is to increase lithium supplies needed for electric vehicles and renewable energy storage. 

Breakthrough Energy, launched in 2015 in coalition with some of the world’s wealthiest entrepreneurs and largest corporations, has at its disposal a fund valued at more than $1 billion to support cleantech related ventures. 

The coalition includes support from Mukesh Ambani (Reliance Industries); Jeff Bezos (Amazon); Michael Bloomberg (US presidential hopeful); Richard Branson (Virgin); Ray Dalio (Bridgewater); John Doerr (Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers); Jack Ma (Alibaba); Hasso Plattner (SAP); Nat Simons (son of hedge fund chief Jim Simons); Masayoshi Son (Softbank) George Soros; Ratan Tata, Zhang Xin (Soho China) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook). 

The Grantham Foundation is owned by Jeremy Grantham, co-founder of US asset manager GMO. Lowercarbon Capital was set up by venture billionaire Chris Sacca and is connected to his venture/family office, Lowercase Capital.

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