London-based startup Breathe Battery Technologies has raised £1.5m to scale up and accelerate the deployment of its intelligent battery management algorithms in electric vehicles and smartphones.
Battery management systems are the brains behind batteries in devices and vehicles. They play a critical role in enabling batteries to be used safely and to their fullest extent. Advances in this field can help vehicles run for longer and charge faster.
Launched May 2019 as a spin-out from Imperial College London’s Electrochemical Science & Engineering group, Breathe believes that the intelligence of battery management systems lies in the software, and the company has created Lincc, the world’s first truly dynamic, truly health-adaptive charging software.
“Our vision for Breathe is to catalyse the electrification of how we move around this planet” says co-founder and CEO Dr Ian Campbell. “We were inspired by the need to electrify our planet’s transport systems to combat climate change and air pollution – hence the company name. We’re beginning with automotive electrification, and on a longer timeframe we’ll move to the maritime and aerospace markets.”
Breathe was co-founded by Campbell alongside CTO Dr Yan Zhao and Chief Scientist Professor Greg Offer. Campbell and Zhao both have PhD degrees in lithium-ion battery engineering from Imperial College London, where Offer manages a 40+ person research group at the forefront of battery engineering. He also leads the £17.9 million Faraday Multi-scale Modelling programme, part of the Faraday Battery Challenge – a £330m government funding programme creating the battery research, innovation and commercialisation ecosystem to establish the UK as a battery science, innovation and manufacturing superpower.
Smarter batteries, bigger impact
Lincc is the first battery management software to bring battery physics and battery models that traditionally can only be run on powerful workstation or desktop computing environments to the low-power, low-cost microcontrollers in electric vehicles and consumer electronics. This also means manufacturers can bring electric vehicles to market cheaper and faster, by replacing traditional, experimental trial and error approaches to battery management development.
Breathe’s technology also benefits the environment. “Faster charging times and a longer battery lifetime make EVs more attractive, reducing barriers to adoption,” says co-founder and CTO Dr Yan Zhao. “And because batteries don’t need to be made bigger to compensate for degradation over time, warranty costs are reduced, lowering the manufacturer’s costs and helping to make EVs cheaper to buy.”
Led by Speedinvest, the new funding round will be used to deliver existing client projects across both the consumer electronics and EV markets, and to scale up Breathe’s engineering team to deliver more products faster. The company’s current client list includes leading manufacturers across Europe, China, and North America.
Rick Hao, Principal at Speedinvest, said: “The battery market is at an inflection point and Breathe Battery Technologies is addressing some of the biggest challenges to make batteries more efficient and reduce waste. We were impressed by the unique ‘health-adaptive charging’ technology approach, the deep battery expertise of the team, and the growing market demand. In addition to vehicles, almost every application using lithium-ion batteries could benefit from the technology. We’re excited to support the rapidly growing Breathe Battery Technologies.”
Angels who have participated in this round include Pete Hutton, former president of product groups at Arm; Adrien Cohen, co-founder and president at unicorn Tractable; Benno Jering, partner at Redline Capital; Paul Massara, ex-Centrica and RWE Executive Member, and Peter Murphy, co-founder of Covalis Capital and a leading investor in the energy transition field.
Breathe Battery Technologies was supported by the Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment through the Climate-KIC programme.