£1.2m investment for Bristol firm looking to plug into the power of graphene to boost battery life

April 23, 2021

Anaphite, the Bristol-based firm launched by two university graduates to look at ways of exploiting the potential of graphene in batteries, has raised £1.2m to step up its innovative work.

The firm, founded by scientists Sam Burrow and Alexander Hewitt after they left university, has already developed techniques to incorporate graphene into Li-ion batteries that will extend their life and reduce charging times while also making them cheaper. 

Anaphite’s work has already excited investors, including 22 Bristol-based entrepreneurs – all members of Bristol Private Equity Club (BPEC)– who 15 months ago invested a total of £222,000 into the firm, along with £203,000 from other sources.

The firm, based in the city’s Unit DX incubator in St. Philips, also received grants totalling more than £500,000 from Innovate UK.

Now BPEC is investing a further £491,000 – the biggest-ever single investment by the club, which founded just under five years ago and now has over 100 members.

The latest funding round was led by Zero Carbon Capital, which is investing £300,000. Hampshire-based Zero Carbon Capital backs UK-based hard-science start-ups on a mission to address the toughest problems of climate change.

SyndicateRoom, a fintech venture capital funder based in Cambridge, is investing £107,000 with the rest of the package coming from individual investors.

Anaphite chief operating officer Alexander Hewitt, pictured, said: “In order for society to transition to sustainable energy, we need mass adoption of electric transport, meaning batteries need to cost less, charge faster and live longer. We believe our technology truly addresses these critical pain points.

“Our production process is also inherently scalable to the levels required to make a real dent in this rapidly growing industry, hopefully increasing our chances in the ongoing battle with climate change.

“Having such a diverse group of investors seeing the potential of what we have here is incredibly encouraging.”

Zero Carbon Capital founder and managing director Pippa Gawley added: “Adoption of electric vehicles is a key part of the critical journey to net-zero emissions. Anaphite’s innovative technology will reduce the cost and charging time of EV batteries, removing two of the key purchase barriers.

“Sam and Alex are amazing scientists working in a deeply technical area and we’re excited to be partners on their journey toward commercialisation.”

Bristol Private Equity Club founder Jerry Barnes said: “We supported a previous project of Anaphite involving graphene and we are pleased to have made another big investment in what is a very exciting science-led contribution to the way we all travel in the future.

“Our club is made up of Bristol-based entrepreneurs and it is great that the city is at the leading edge of this technology. It is heartening to join with others in backing Anaphite for future success.”

SyndicateRoom co-founder Tom Britton said the potential for graphene to reshape many of the materials used in everything from electronics to building materials was astonishing.

“We’re delighted to be a part of Anaphite’s journey to make graphene commercially viable and open the door for its seemingly limitless uses,” he added.

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