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London Tech Week

UK-based Materials Nexus nets £2M for its AI tech that accelerates discovery of net-zero materials

Materials Nexus founder
Picture credits: Materials Nexus

Many green technologies, including wind turbines and electric vehicles, rely heavily on the mining of rare-earth materials and precious metals. The problem is that sustainable alternatives are slow and costly to develop, with a high rate of failure.

Materials Nexus harnesses the power of AI and quantum mechanics to streamline and speed up sustainable materials development – mirroring the disruptive power of AI in fields like drug discovery.

The UK-based deep tech startup has raised £2 million in a funding round led by British VC Ada Ventures. It also saw participation from High-Tech Gründerfonds, The University of Cambridge, National Security specialists MD One Ventures, as well as new institutional investor Michael Eisenberg at Genuine Capital Ventures, and angel investors Jasmin Thomas, Andrew MacKay and Hugh Smith.

How will the funds be used?

Materials Nexus will use the funds to roll out its ground-breaking AI and quantum mechanics technology which fast-tracks the discovery and development of sustainable, cheaper, higher performing materials.

The company plans to use the new funding to embark on real-world projects to demonstrate the efficacy of its AI technologies.

Materials Nexus has doubled its team in the last six months with critical technical hires. In addition to this, it seeks to bolster with more talent passionate about sustainability across all functions of the business.

Materials Nexus founder and CEO Jonathan Bean, commented: “As a society, we rely heavily on advanced materials to build the technologies which are vital for a net-zero world. These include magnetic materials used for clean energy solutions like wind turbines and electric vehicles, and precious metals for producing green hydrogen. Our mission is simple – to discover more sustainable materials which governments and companies can use to build green technologies, in a way that’s commercially viable.”

Where is Materials Nexus used?

Applications include finding alternative materials used in batteries and semiconductors, which are ubiquitous in today’s world from mobile devices to solar cells. Another possible application is superconductors used in green technologies such as Maglev transport which currently relies on materials that need substantial cooling or high pressure.

Rupert Cruise, co-founder of Magway, a deep tech company providing innovative solutions for sustainable and efficient goods transportation, said “By leveraging cutting-edge Materials Nexus technology, we aim to develop superior materials that will not only enhance our sustainability credentials but also result in cost reductions, ultimately driving wider adoption of our game-changing technology.”

Discovery of next-gen sustainable materials

Materials Nexus was founded by Jonathan Bean, a theoretical physicist from the University of Cambridge. Now, the team includes computational physicist Robert Forrest, chemist Dr Jon Pillow and commercial lead Nic Stirk.

The company works on an AI solution that greatly reduces the need to conduct physical experiments to discover new materials. It is possible as the company builds its own proprietary datasets and machine learning algorithms that can predict the properties of new material compositions, similar to how AI innovation has been used to disrupt R&D in drug discovery.

Accelerated discovery means the costs associated with research and development are lower and new products can be pushed to market more quickly and economically.

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