Late last week, the founder of Spotify Daniel Ek announced that he was committing €1bn, one third of his wealth, to investing in European moonshots.
Today it was announced that first moonshot to get part of his money is the Swedish battery gigafactory Northvolt.
Northvolt said it had $600m in a new finance round backed by institutional investors Baillie Gifford, Baron Capital Group, Bridford Investments Limited, Norrsken VC and PCS Holding.
Private investors Cristina Stenbeck and Daniel Ek also participate in the raise together with existing Northvolt shareholders.
Peter Carlsson, co-founder and CEO of Northvolt, commented:
“We are in the middle of a race to establish manufacturing capacity in Europe, and I believe the companies that are best at attracting talent and capital, while scaling their blueprints the fastest, will be the most successful. With these world-class partners behind us, we have created a solid foundation to go on and execute our plans to enable large-scale manufacturing of green batteries in Europe.”
For Ek, who just last Thursday said he would invest in deeptech startups in the field of biotech, machine learning and energy, Northvolt is a good fit. He is joined by billionaire and previous Kinnevik chair Cristina Stenbeck, who is also on the board of Spotify.
During Ek’s announcement last week, he said that he wanted to push for more public-private partnerships.
“I will do so by funding so-called moonshots focusing on the deep technology necessary to make a significant positive dent, and work with scientists, entrepreneurs, investors and governments to do so,” he said last week.
Northvolt has so far got millions of grants and loans from both Sweden and EU and also raised €1bn back in June 2019. The company will use the additional half a billion euros to establishing a giga-scale lithium-ion battery recycling facility next to the Northvolt gigafactory.
The facility will become the largest in the world with an initial capacity of 4 GWh, and the only large-scale facility in Europe capable of recycling lithium in addition to cobalt, nickel, manganese and other metals, according to the company.
The environmental protection agency in Sweden (Naturvårdsverket) decided in March to support Northvolt with €15m in the development of recycling cobalt, nickel och lithium from electric car batteries.
“We are in the process of getting a few patents on the process. Instead of melting the batteries, whereby only the cobalt and nickel is recycled, we are developing a new way of dissolving the raw material. In that way, we can also recycle lithium. I believe that we are the first in Europe to do this”, Carlsson told Sifted in August this year.
Northvolt is by no means Ek's first large investment. He has previously invested €16m in the telemedicine startup Kry as well as smaller investments in the healthtech startup HJN Sverige and the British online housing marketplace, Student.com.