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London Tech Week

InMotion Ventures’ first investment in Brazil: $1.2M funding for tech startup focused on lithium battery sustainability

Energy Source team
Picture credits: Energy Source

In an increasingly technological world, it is impossible to imagine ourselves without our smartphones or laptops powered by lithium-ion batteries. Also, electric cars and other equipment use this type of battery. As there is an increased demand for such electronic devices, lithium extraction is multiplying, creating a major problem: what to do with these batteries when they reach the end of their useful life.

Energy Source, an early-stage Brazilian startup, tackles this challenge. It offers solutions that repurpose lithium batteries.

VC’s first Brazilian investment 

Now, the Brazilian startup has caught attention overseas and has raised $1.2 million from InMotion Ventures, the investment arm of JLR (Jaguar Land Rover). This signifies InMotion Ventures’ inaugural venture into the Brazilian market. Notably, the investor has previously supported Carmoola and gained recognition for its involvement in sustainable mobility fintech, such as contributing to Bumper’s $48M funding round.

TFN learnt that the Brazilian startup was introduced to InMotion Ventures via JLR’s Open Innovation program in Brazil. The investment stems from collaboration between JLR Brazil and Energy Source, where used I-Pace batteries were repurposed for a solar-powered EV charging station at a local retailer.

Energy Source intends to use the fresh funds to capitalise on the growth of the country’s burgeoning startup ecosystem and broaden its focus beyond the UK and the US. It will use the capital to accelerate growth and expand operations, enabling it to continue catering to global clients in the future, such as JLR, from their 4,500 m2 industrial plant in São João da Boa Vista. 

Founded in 2016 by David Noronha, a serial entrepreneur having started six IT startups, Energy Source addresses end-of-life battery management and lifecycle optimisation. Their local repair offering prolongs the lifespan of existing batteries, negating the need for OEMs to replace a component that can be worth up to 70% of the EV sale price. 

The company’s second life storage systems allows OEMs to explore new revenue streams and energy reduction opportunities. These include battery powered-renewable charging stations at retailers.

Competition 

InMotion Ventures has already backed a US-based battery recycling startup Ascend Elements. In addition, cylib and tozero, two German startups also raised investments to recycle lithium-ion batteries more efficiently. 

However, Energy Source claims to be unique with its full-stack of post production services cover the repair, re-use and recycling of lithium-ion batteries.

Circular economy in Lithium-ion batteries 

Energy Source claims to be the first company in Latin America to manufacture second-life stationary lithium batteries for solar energy, telecom, security systems and others, and has evolved to position itself as a one-stop shop for lithium batteries. 

It offers battery recycling operations that enable manufacturers to reclaim high value materials, increasing circularity, and reducing the need for new mining activities. 

Since its debut, the company has produced approximately 10 MW/h of batteries, recycled 700 tonnes of non-reusable batteries, and repaired another 5 tonnes of them, preventing 1,600 tonnes of carbon from being emitted into the atmosphere. 

Igor Murakami, New Services and Open Innovation Director at JLR said, “Repairing, repurposing and recycling lithium batteries is critical for JLR’s Reimagine strategy, which is why this is an important first investment for us in Brazil. Equity ownership in Energy Source puts JLR on the path to developing an end-to-end EV ecosystem. David, Norona and the team are building one of Latin America’s most promising climate-tech startups and we’re excited to be involved at such an early stage”.

David Noronha, CEO and founder of Energy Source said, “My vision is to drive substantial progress in meeting the challenges of fleet electrification and advancing the electronics industry. In this pursuit, forging a partnership with JLR and InMotion Ventures is not just a choice but the ideal pathway for realising our ambitions. Together, we will harness collective expertise and resources, paving the way for the next significant step in our journey towards impactful solutions”.

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