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Female-founded climatetech startup tozero gets €3.5M to recycle lithium-ion batteries

Image credits: tozero

tozero, a Munich-based climate tech startup, has raised €3.5M in a pre-seed financing round led by Atlantic Labs.

Other investors, including Verve Ventures, Possible Ventures, renowned business angels, and serial founders, joined the round, like former VW board member Jochem Heizmann, and co-founders of Personio and FINN, among others.

The company will use the funds to build its prototype plant in Munich, Germany – where one-third of Europe’s lithium-ion batteries are planned to be produced by 2030.

Recycling lithium-ion battery

Founded by Sarah Fleischer and Dr. Ksenija Milicevic Neumann, tozero aims to build lithium-ion battery recycling company with the support and technical advisory of Prof. Bernd Friedrich, the pioneer in battery recycling research at IME, RWTH Aachen University.

The German company has introduced a novel process to recover critical materials such as lithium, nickel, and cobalt from lithium-ion batteries (LiB).

Lithium-ion batteries are crucial to enable decarbonisation efforts and will be used to electrify mobility vehicles, machines, drones, or power banks.

“We need to act now and build a scalable and robust battery recycling process. At tozero, we’re committed to challenging the status quo of the material life-cycle to accelerate decarbonisation. This will allow us to enter the electrification era without worries, continue innovation and increase quality of life without compromising”, said Sarah Fleischer, Co-Founder and CEO. “We’re happy to have won such renowned investors and Prof. Bernd Friedrich as our advisor to back our mission.”

The German company aims to close the loop of lithium-ion batteries and bring toxic waste to zero by returning raw materials such as lithium, cobalt, nickel etc., back into the market.

These materials will be provided as fresh battery-grade materials to battery producers, decreasing the environmental footprint and strengthening Europe’s geopolitical position.

“Introducing a novel and sustainable way to recycle black mass from lithium-ion batteries is a game changer in the industry, allowing for significantly higher recovery rates of key metals than with currently used methods”, said Daniel Niemi, Principal at Atlantic Labs. “Sarah and Ksenija are a fantastic founding team with symbiotic skill sets, deep domain expertise and an ambition to build a lasting venture. We are thrilled to partner with them on this mission.”

“Recovering all raw materials from lithium-ion batteries through recycling is a must from an economic and ecological point of view, but it is not yet state of the art” said Prof. Jochem Heizmann, a former member of the board of Volkswagen. “Besides the importance of this task, the competence of the tozero founding team convinced me to invest”

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