A Tulsa-based battery material developer and manufacturer has announced the closure of $7 million in bridge financing from new and existing investors.
The money will allow Ten-Nine Technologies to increase production capacity and proceed toward early market entry. The expanded lab and testing facilities also will enable engagement with potential customers who want to use Ten-Nine Tech’s patented cathode additive, TENIXTM, to improve their batteries.
Bridge financing spans the gap between when a company’s money is set to run out and when it can expect to receive an infusion of funds later on.
In the fourth quarter of 2021, Ten-Nine Technologies began battery material production at the TN-1 manufacturing plant in Tulsa. Its first run of 40,000 grams of TENIXTM represented a 10,000-fold scale-up from 4 grams in a flask baked in a home oven in 2014.
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The plant is ramping up its annual capacity of 24 tons of advanced battery material that will be used to produce TENIXTM for large-scale battery manufacturing trials, as well as to define the specifications for a larger TN-2 factory.
Production growth has been accompanied by an increase in organizational capability. Ten-Nine Tech now has 14 full-time employees along with a similar number of consultants and interns.
The next production phase is planned for a 10,000-ton annual capacity plant employing 400 people who will fulfill contracts resulting from current evaluation and development agreements with potential customers in the device and automotive sectors.
The company was founded by research chemist and nanotechnology inventor Paige Johnson, who developed a nanoparticle technology that allows massive increases in duration of power. Ten-Nine refers to 10-9, which is the formulaic description for a nanoparticle.
“When I founded Ten-Nine Technologies in 2014, I chose to utilize only synthesis methods that I knew to be scalable and sustainable,” Johnson said in a statement. “As Ten-Nine Tech moves into large-scale manufacturing, these early foundational commitments are showing their incredible value.”
As businesses need more funding, they seek larger venture capital firms that have more capital available to invest in new high-potential companies. They go through three main phases of gathering capital: Series A, Series B and Series C.
I2E investment subsidiary Plains Ventures, an Oklahoma City-based venture capital firm, led the $5 million Series A investment round in Ten-Nine in 2020. Plains also participated in the current $7 million bridge financing round.
I2E Inc., which receives state support from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, has provided business expertise and funding to more than 750 of Oklahoma’s emerging small businesses.