ION Energy

Five-year-old energy-tech start-up ION Energy has raised $3.6 million in a pre-Series A funding round led by Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund. The round included participation from Silicon Valley-based Climate Capital, early-stage investor YourNest Venture Capital, Riso Capital, Venture Catalysts, and other angel investors as well.

The $2 billion Climate Pledge Fund was launched by e-commerce powerhouse Amazon last year to aid firms which have been developing sustainable technologies, and ION is the first company Amazon has invested in outside the US and the first in India. Some of the companies the e-commerce behemoth has invested in are Redwood Materials, Rivian, and ZeroAvia.

According to ION Energy, the proceeds from the round would be utilized to grow its team to over 150 from 70 at present, invest in product development and expand its software business in North America and Europe. As part of the round, Anup Menon, Head of Strategy & Emerging Technology at Bank of America will join ION’s Board of Directors.

Amazon confirmed the development. According to Kara Hurst, vice president and head of Worldwide Sustainability at Amazon, “As we continue to identify visionary companies whose products and solutions will facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy, we’re proud to invest in ION Energy, our first investment in India through the $2 billion Climate Pledge Fund We are inspired by ION’s mission to build technologies that improve the life and performance of lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles and energy storage systems, ultimately scaling solutions that help us all achieve our ambitious climate goals.”

ION, which raised $1.2 million in 2018, is known for developing advanced electronics and software platforms for new energy enterprises. It operates in France and the US as well and currently works with more than 75 customers in the mobility and energy industry across 15 countries, including India, France, Spain, and the US.

It offers a small battery management platform (BMS) that leverages proprietary algorithms to improve battery life and performance. The company sells it as a product or a technology license to OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) that are developing lithium-ion batteries and/or electric vehicles.

It has also joined forces with Ray Electric Motors, the Spanish Electric Scooter start-up. So far, the firm’s customers have deployed 60,000 smart BMS in electric vehicles and stationary storage systems. ION also launched Altergo in 2019, and the battery analytics software helps owners and operators of battery fleets improve the operational efficiency of their assets post-deployment.

According to Akhil Aryan, co-founder, and CEO, there were immense opportunities at the intersection of electronics and software. “We will be launching products that are at this intersection—whether it is motor controllers, electric vehicle chargers, or telematic systems,” he said.

Aryan said that they believed 2021 to be the inflection point for the new energy transition as both companies and governments come together towards reducing carbon emissions, and ION was confident that advanced electronics and software that help enterprises accelerate this transition would become mission-critical to meet their goals of a zero-carbon future.