Milwaukee-based COnovate, Inc. has completed a $1 million SAFE financing round. Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE) funding is a simpler alternative to convertible notes. SAFE is not debt and an investor will get stock at a later date in exchange for the cash investment now.
COnovate is the developer of a new advanced composite material for lithium-ion battery anodes. The organization’s COphite composite charges over six times faster than graphite anodes, which make up 95% of the lithium-ion battery market. The COphite composite also stores twice the amount of energy per charge.
“We are so excited about the support we have received from investors through this SAFE financing,” said Dr. Carol Hirschmugl, co-founder and chief executive officer of COnovate. “In combination with efforts from our key industry collaboration, we are now positioned to build on the momentum generated from the promising third-party testing results on our COphite material. We will put this funding to work to further scale our material and demonstrate in LIBs with the support of our partners as we approach commercial volumes towards the end of next year.”
The SAFE financing round was led by Green Bay-based Tundra Angels, Milwaukee Venture Partners and Jennifer Abele. COnovate anticipates a priced equity round taking place later this year. The company plans on being fully demonstrated in a 2Ah battery and positioned to produce 10kg batches for third party battery validation this year.
COnovate, Inc. was formerly known as SafeLi LLC. The organization was founded by Hirschmugl and Marija Gajdardziska, who are both University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professors. In 2020, BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation Inc. invested $50,000 into the company.
The startup was also awarded a$1 million federal grant through the U.S. Department of Energy through the Small Business Technology Transfer program in 2019.