Israeli startup StoreDot, which is developing quantum dot-utilizing fast-charging smartphone battery technology, among other things, has closed a $42 million Series B funding round. It pitches its bio-organic nano-crystal technology as an enabler for faster charging batteries and also a cheaper and non-toxic alternative to cadmium in screens.
StoreDot demoed the speedy charging battery technology back in April, flaunting its potential with a prototype device that charged from flat to full in 30 seconds — although it used a less than full capacity battery that was too large to fit inside a phone.
Commercializing this technology will require applying it to a full capacity battery and squeezing everything to fit inside a standard smartphone — and that’s what it intends to use the new funding round for, it said today.
Speaking to TechCrunch, StoreDot’s CEO and founder Dr Doron Myersdorf said: “The fully functioning prototype that fits inside the phone for commercialization will be ready the second half of 2016. In early 2017 it will be on the market.”
Also on the slate for StoreDot post-Series B: new hires, and developing other technology products that make use of its nano crystal bio-organic technology. To that end, it said it sees potential for its technology to enhance various electronics areas — including superfast Flash memory and bio-lasers (i.e. in addition to batteries, displays and bio-LEDs).
Other use-cases for the tech it’s looking at are in an area it terms “nano-medicine” — citing “drug delivery, food security, bio labeling and more” as areas of interest here.
Medical uses are not surprising, given that StoreDot’s technology was actually spun out of research being done into Alzheimer’s disease at Tel Aviv University. That research identified particular peptides (amino acids) that the startup is utilizing for electronics.
“When the self-assembly process of these molecules can be managed, we can create nano-crystals,” said Myersdorf back in April, discussing how the technology works. “We were able to take the same peptides that participate in biological processes in our body and to create nano-crystals — these are stable, robust spheres.
“And these can be used… in a semi-conductor device or in a battery or in a display. We are talking about new type of materials that can be introduced into different types of devices.”
Investors in StoreDot’s new funding round are largely undisclosed, with multiple unnamed “strategic partners” cited in a press release. (Samsung has previously been rumored to be an investor in the technology but a StoreDot spokeswoman declined to comment on this.)
The round does include a confirmed $10 million investment from Russian businessman Roman Abramovich’s private asset management company, Millhouse LLC.
StoreDot had raised a total of $6.25 million before this Series B round, with prior investors including Singulariteam, a private investment fund focused on early stage startups.
Myersdorf previously told TechCrunch StoreDot was hoping to close a $20 million Series B so it has evidently been able to boost the size of the round considerably — given today’s announcement of a $42 million closing. The size of the round will enable the startup to commercialize “both the fast charging battery for smartphones and our BioLED display”, he added in a statement today.