By Jonny Tiernan
L.A.-based battery company Romeo Power claims to make “the world’s most dense battery packs,” and it’s a claim that has led it to generate $30 million in seed funding, without involving venture capitalists. All of the investment came from the management team, unnamed family officers, and people who have invested in the previous startups CEO Mark Patterson has been involved with. Now that’s a gesture of faith.
The confidence in the company, which only launched in 2016, comes from a number of quarters. First, Patterson has a proven track record of successfully founding and selling companies, including a fraud detection company, InAuth, that was bought by American Express; second, the 190-person team features a wealth of expertise that has experience working for respected giants such as Tesla, Apple, Samsung, and Amazon, so they know what they are doing; and third, the company’s special method of building the lithium-ion batteries yields at least 25% more energy density than a comparable pack.
$65 Million in Orders Placed
While Romeo doesn’t make its own battery cells (it sources them from the likes of Samsung and LG instead), it has its own unique method of packing them that sets them apart. According to cofounder and CTO, Porter Harris, the company selects the best cells for a particular application (in a tablet computer or electric car, for example), and then picks out the right container and materials to house and connect them, and then keep the whole thing cool with its own firmware, software, thermal system, and battery system.
It’s a method that has drawn in a huge level of sales already, with orders totaling $65 million scheduled for delivery in 2018. Its customer list includes motorcycle and forklift manufacturers, robotics companies, automakers, and more. Patterson is aware of the runaway success, as he acknowledged in a statement. “We’ve seen incredible momentum in a short period, and we’re scaling manufacturing as fast as we can to meet demand,” he said. “There’s a massive market opportunity for energy storage technologies.”
Patterson is right about the market opportunity, as even the EV market alone is estimated to reach $32 billion by 2020. With this massively increasing demand for lithium-ion batteries, we can expect Romeo Power to keep charging along.
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