On Electrification: Why TechNexus Invested in AmpUp, H3X, and Natrion

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Electrification is everywhere. 

With record-breaking venture dollars invested into EV startups, the rise (and the fall) of mobility SPACs, and announcements about expansive government policy, there has been no shortage of electrification news and progress this year. At TechNexus Venture Collaborative, we have a unique vantage point into the emerging world of electrification and mobility because we sit at the intersection of industry-leading corporations and innovative startups. As we think about the adoption of electrification across industries and verticals, our team of venture investors and analysts is focused across the supply chain. Ranging from core battery tech, to component parts, to charging infrastructure, we have recently welcomed three electrification startups to our portfolio: Natrion, H3X, and AmpUp.

Growing Global Demand

The market for EVs is surging. Deloitte projects nearly 30% of the global market share of passenger cars will be EVs by 2030. Off the heels of their CES Keynote featuring ‘an EV for everyone’ campaign in January 2021, GM just announced that they expect $90 billion in additional annual revenue from electric vehicles by the end of the decade, and $80 billion from connected vehicles, new businesses, autonomous ride-hailing, software and subscription services, and commercial electric vehicles. Meanwhile, Tesla is outpacing expectations on deliveries despite the global chip shortage and supply chain problems and just inked a 100,000 fleet deal with Hertz that propelled its market cap north of $1T. While many are bullish about the pent-up demand for EVs, Europe has substantiated these claims — for the first time, EVs and Hybrids have surpassed diesel car sales volume in Europe.

The Rise of EV VC

Growing global market demand is fueling the need for technological advancements. As a result, capital has become increasingly abundant. 2021 marks an unprecedented number of investments completed and dollars deployed in the EV space. 

In the first half of 2021 alone, EV startups raised nearly $10B outpacing the $10.5B invested in 2020 as a whole. Nearly half of the dollars invested went into battery tech startups, in comparison to just 7% in 2016. This trend is not surprising, as advancements in battery technology will be key to fulfilling the demand for electric vehicles in the future. 

Welcome to TechNexus, Natrion, AmpUp, H3X

Within our burgeoning ACES (Autonomy, Connectivity, Electrification, Shared Access) portfolio, we are excited to share more about a few recent electrification investments: Natrion, H3X, and AmpUp.

Natrion – Core Battery Technology

Natrion, a core battery technology startup based in Illinois, has developed a proprietary composite solid electrolyte material that can be swapped in place of liquids in lithium batteries. This technology enables a significant increase in the thermal threshold of the battery, thus reducing fire risk and improving battery durability and cycle life. We are excited about the prospect of innovating within solid-state electrolytes and view Natrion as a core enabling technology with the potential to improve the overall functionality of electric vehicles.

H3X – Components

To date, one of the biggest pain points in electrifying aircraft is the weight of propulsion systems. Lithium-ion batteries cannot reach the power density needed to take long-range flights. H3X seeks to alleviate this pain point by manufacturing ultralight, high-power electric propulsion systems tripling the power of electric engines. The company has thoughtfully integrated its system combining the electric motor and inverter into one powerful unit. This groundbreaking technology will be critical to powering mass-transit electric vehicles.

AmpUp – Charging Infrastructure

AmpUp, an EV software company, and network provider, is focused on making charging seamless for EV drivers. AmpUp’s software tools and mobile app give EV drivers and station hosts a consistent and user-friendly experience. The company’s products enable property owners, utilities, and fleets to easily manage EV charging stations. With their app, electric vehicle owners can find a charger host, schedule a reservation, and save time looking for a spot. AmpUp currently operates in all 50 states as well as Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, and has recently launched charging pilots with major utility companies: National Grid, Pacific Gas & Electric, and Green Mountain Power. With the growing market for EVs, demand for charging infrastructure has risen. The future of EV mobility is reliant on the accessibility and availability of charging stations, and we believe that AmpUp’s comprehensive platform will play an important role in the adoption of electrification. 

At TechNexus, we have unique collaborations with industry-leading corporate partners and use venturing as a tool to increase commercialization, accelerate venture development, and generate meaningful insights. Electrification is a core part of our ACES (Autonomy, Connectivity, Electrification, Shared Access) thesis. If you are an investor or a startup building something in the ACES/mobility sector, I would love to talk to you. You can reach me via email: cristin@technexus.com.

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TechNexus Venture Collaborative, helping leading corporations and ambitious entrepreneurs work together to create new business models, new revenue streams, new products, and new markets. We’ve made over 150 investments in promising, purpose-built startups with several related to autonomy, connectivity, electrification, and shared access.Check out the complete portfolio or subscribe to our newsletter for more news and insights.

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