Sakti3 Plans to Accelerate Product Planning

Sakti3, Inc., an Ann Arbor-based developer of next-generation lithium-ion batteries, announces the investment of $4.2M by General Motors Ventures and Itochu Technology Ventures to advance the firm’s manufacturing capabilities. The companies also plan to work together to speed commercialization of Sakti3 battery cells. The two, new strategic investors join previous investors Khosla Ventures and Beringea.

“These investments by General Motors Ventures and Itochu Technology Ventures bring us not only capital, but partnerships that will speed our commercialization efforts,” said Dr. Ann Marie Sastry, CEO of Sakti3. “Our product planning in the automotive and portables sectors will be accelerated by working with these two preeminent firms. The General Motors agreement partners us with a company that is clearly a global leader in vehicle electrification. Itochu Technology Ventures has a strong focus on energy technologies, and on growth markets in Asia. We’re very pleased to have engaged investors who will help us purposefully and quickly create our target products and address key regional markets.”

"GM Ventures is making strategic investments in new technology to support our core automotive business," said Jon Lauckner, president GM Ventures, LLC. "Our objective is to identify start-up companies that offer the best future technology for our vehicles, including next generation propulsion systems. In this case, our investment in Sakti3 gives us access to an innovative battery technology that has the potential to be a mainstream solution for electrically-driven cars and trucks of the future."

“Today’s announcement is the latest piece of strong evidence that many U.S. companies, and especially Michigan companies, are thriving as the auto industry moves toward a future of technologically advanced electric vehicles," said Senator Carl Levin (D-MI). “The investment in Sakti3’s lithium-ion technology by GM is a major additional step forward. Sakti3’s solid-state advanced lithium-ion battery technology offers tremendous potential for powering the next generation of electric drive vehicles in the U.S. and around the world. ”

Regrowth of manufacturing in Michigan is a high priority in the State. Said Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), “As we grow America’s auto industry, Sakti3 is a great example of how we can bring together our expertise in manufacturing and academia to create new opportunities and new jobs. I am pleased to partner with Sakti3, and I look forward to seeing the results of this new partnership with GM.”

Sakti3 was awarded a $3 million grant from The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) in 2009 and has been designated as a State of Michigan Center of Energy Excellence (CoEE) in partnership with the University of Michigan.

"Sakti3 is an exciting, next-generation battery company with cutting-edge technology and a brilliant team," said Governor Jennifer M. Granholm. "We’re thrilled that Sakti3, one of our Centers of Energy Excellence, has chosen Michigan as the place to bring its breakthrough technology to scale."

“Sakti3 represents a new wave of companies that we are spinning out of the University of Michigan, and Dr. Sastry’s leadership has led to rapid progress in a short time. We’re pleased and proud to be active members of their efforts, and view their success as fulfilling the University’s mission to transfer R&D discoveries into great products that improve lives.”

– Ken Nisbet, Director, Office of Technology Transfer, University of Michigan

“Turning Michigan around means supporting our innovators, our scientists, our entrepreneurs. Sakti3 is ready to build advanced batteries to power civilian and military vehicles and communications systems, and our workers here in Michigan are ready to perform and excel in the 21st century technology economy. The announcement today of these investments by GM Ventures and Itochu is great news.”

– Congressman Mark Schauer (D-MI)

Sakti3 is commercializing high performance solid state batteries that are produced using a novel manufacturing process that has been developed by the company. Sakti3 was founded in 2007 as a spin-out of the University of Michigan and has been supported to date by Khosla Ventures and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

General Motors, one of the world’s largest automakers, traces its roots back to 1908. With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 205,000 people in every major region of the world and does business in some 157 countries. GM and its strategic partners produce cars and trucks in 31 countries, and sell and service these vehicles through the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, FAW, GMC, Daewoo, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM’s largest national market is China, followed by the United States, Brazil, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Italy. GM’s OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. General Motors acquired operations from General Motors Corporation on July 10, 2009, and references to prior periods in this and other press materials refer to operations of the old General Motors Corporation.

General Motors Ventures, LLC, is a subsidiary designed to help the company identify and develop innovative technologies in the automotive/transportation sector. Leading the initiative is Jon J. Lauckner, who is now GM Vice President and President General Motors Ventures, LLC, reporting to Stephen J. Girsky, GM vice chairman Corporate Strategy and New Business Development. Lauckner was previously GM vice president of Global Product Planning. General Motors Ventures, LLC, has been funded with an initial investment of $100 million, and is currently exploring equity investments in a number of auto-related technologies and business models.

Itochu Technology Ventures: Based in Tokyo, ITOCHU Technology Ventures (ITV) is the corporate venture arm for ITOCHU Corporation. ITOCHU is one of the world’s largest corporations with offices in over 80 countries and operations that cover a broad spectrum of industries. ITV’s mission is to invest in and help build leading information technology companies by leveraging a vast array of resources both domestically and internationally throughout ITOCHU and its group companies. The ITOCHU group has a long history of funding information technology companies with successes including Siebel Systems, NVIDIA, Openwave and Aruba Networks.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation: The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life.

Beringea is the largest venture capital firm in Michigan, with $400 million under management and more than 60 portfolio companies in the U.S. and UK. Headquartered in Farmington Hills, Mich., the firm has additional offices in London and Shanghai. Beringea has more than 20 years of investing experience in a range of sectors, including health care, clean technology, advanced manufacturing, media, Internet technologies and specialized consumer products. Among its many initiatives, Beringea is co-manager of the $175 million InvestMichigan! Growth Capital Fund, which provides venture and expansion-stage capital to emerging businesses headquartered or with substantial operations in the state of Michigan. 

Khosla Ventures: Khosla Ventures offers venture assistance, strategic advice and capital to entrepreneurs. The firm helps entrepreneurs extend the potential of their ideas in breakthrough scientific work in clean technology areas such as solar, battery, high efficiency engines, lighting, greener materials like cement, glass and bio-refineries for energy and bioplastics, and other environmentally friendly technologies as well as traditional venture areas like the Internet, computing, mobile and silicon technology arenas. Vinod Khosla founded the firm in 2004 and was formerly a General Partner at Kleiner Perkins and founder of Sun Microsystems.