Membrion, which is a Seattle, WA-based manufacturer of ultra-low cost, high performance ion exchange membranes, has now raised an amount of $1.8m in its series round of funding.
The company has received as of now around $1m in the initial close of its seed round, which also includes the funding from E8 and the E8 Fund, Bellingham Angel Investors and individual angels. In addition, Membrion received $748k in a grant from America’s Seed Fund, powered by the National Science Foundation.
The company is also going to use the funds to expand its team of researchers across the globe, continue to scale its technology and develop commercially viable membranes for the ion exchange markets in water separation technologies and energy storage applications.
The startup which is founded in the year 2016 by Dr. Greg Newbloom, based on the technology he developed alongside Professor Lilo Pozzo at the University of Washington’s College of Engineering, spun out of University of Washington, and led by John Plaza, CEO, Membrion leverages silica gel – an inexpensive, non-toxic material that is often packaged with new shoes, beef jerky and many other consumer products – to produce a novel class of commercial ceramic membranes. Its technology converts the absorbent, small-pore silica gel into flexible ceramic membranes that can be engineered to meet the needs of a wide range of applications for clean energy, fresh water supplies and human health challenges.
“The membranes used in this market are based on expensive polymers and legacy equipment,” he said. “We accomplish the same [membrane] separation but with dramatically lower costs and at the same performance.”
Membrion is still developing its technology and working with prospective clients. It expects to have commercial demand by next year, Plaza said. The company employs seven people and expects to reach 12 employees this year.
Membrion previously won the UW Business Plan Competition in May 2017. Its other investors include Amazon’s Catalyst program, the Murdock Charitable Trust, and the CalTech Rocket Fund.
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