Estonian startup UP Catalyst has closed a pre-seed round of €500k. The round was led by Sunly with the participation of Scottish Baltic Invest, Little Green Fund and UniTartu Ventures. The startup produces sustainable carbon nanomaterials and graphite for the green energy storage industry. With the latest capital, the company reached a total funding of €2.09M. The Tallinn-based company will use the capital to increase its R&D activities and enlarge its team. In addition, this funding will help them focus on European battery manufacturers aiming to transition to sustainable production. In 2021, Up Catalyst won the NewCo Accelerator Pitching Competition at Arctic15.
Estonian technology startup UP Catalyst secures €2.09M to begin revolutionising the electric car battery industry
Producing sustainable carbon nanomaterials and graphite for the green energy storage industry, UP Catalyst has evoked the interest of industry-specific investors and closed a successful pre-seed round of €500k. The investment came in addition to the €1.59M grant funding secured earlier this year. The pre-seed round was led by Sunly, a reputable developer of wind and solar parks in the Baltics and Poland, and joined by Scottish Baltic Invest, Little Green Fund and UniTartu Ventures.
Although founded in 2019, the scientific research and development of UP Catalyst goes back to year 2016, where relevant technologies to produce carbon nanomaterials and graphite sustainably were studied by the founders. Most of the carbon materials on the market are produced by employing expensive and environmentally harmful methods. This has a major negative impact on the environment as they are either mined or synthesised from energy dense fossil resources.
UP Catalyst uses CO2 rich flue gases from heavy industry emitters as a feedstock for producing sustainable carbon nanomaterials and graphite, a critical raw material both in the EU and the US. These materials can be used in electric car batteries increasing the energy and power density, speeding up the charge rate and improving the lifetime significantly.
“We in Sunly saw a match between great technology & business-led researchers in UP Catalyst. Turning CO2 into sustainable materials that can be used in energy storage has the potential to revolutionise the whole industry,” says Rasmus Udde, the Innovation Lead at Sunly.
Sunly was joined by Scottish Baltic Invest, an investment company linked to Interconnect Product Assembly (IPA), which specialises in the production of electro-mechanical solutions; and Little Green Fund that focuses on investments in cleantech innovation. The group is joined by a non-financial investor UniTartu Ventures, an investment company of the University of Tartu, which transfers the IP rights for equity.
The Estonian-based deeptech startup is in the process of developing the first scalable technology in the world to produce sustainable carbon materials from CO2 at industry sites.
UP Catalyst CEO Gary Urb says: “The funding will help us to scale-up the technology by building first industrial scale prototype synthesis unit, thus providing the material to customers in much larger volumes as the demand is already exceeding supply.”
The investment will be a valuable addition to the €1.59M grant funding that the company received from EIT Raw Materials earlier this year.
“The support from the investors will also enable UP Catalyst to further expand its R&D activities, grow the team, and focus on European battery manufacturers, which aim to make a shift towards sustainable production,” Urb adds.