On Wednesday, Materials Nexus, an artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum mechanics company, announced the conclusion of a £2 million seed round with Ada Ventures as the lead investor. The National Security Innovation Fund, Cambridge University, and angel investors Andrew MacKay and Jasmin Thomas also participated in this round.
The company, which was founded in 2020 and has its headquarters in the United Kingdom, aims to enhance zero-net technologies, such as renewable energy generation and energy storage, so that they provide greater performance and sustainability at reduced costs.
CEO and co-founder Jonathan Bean, a theoretical physicist from the University of Cambridge, and his team have spent the last two years developing an artificial intelligence (AI) model that reduces the need for physical tests to discover novel materials.
This allowed them to create their own datasets and algorithms, speeding up the discovery process and allowing products to reach the market quicker.
Materials Nexus collaborates with businesses of all sizes to discover materials that can later be patented, and it aspires to one day construct a facility to produce materials for large companies, such as equipment manufacturers, to purchase.
Bean says the money will be used to expand the company’s commercial and scientific operations. It also hopes to demonstrate the efficacy of its technology by identifying substitutes for materials already used in products such as semiconductors and batteries, thereby enabling innovations such as wind turbines and electric vehicles to scale more rapidly and sustainably. In the midst of the AI craze, Bean described his fundraising efforts as “quite fun.”
Bean began seeking financing in October 2022, and he reported receiving a term sheet within five months.
Matt Pennycard, the co-founding partner of Ada Ventures, referred to Jonathan as a “remarkable technical founder and company leader.” “He’s a needle in a haystack that we VCs spend years searching for,” Pennycard told TechCrunch, adding that the company is a model for using technology for good.
Our strong belief is that Materials Nexus has the potential to play a very important role in our fight against climate change and to be the solution to our destructive addiction to rare earth and unique metal compounds.
With this raise, Bean joins a small group of Black individuals in the United Kingdom who have successfully raised funds. The most recent official statistics were disclosed in 2020, and it was estimated that fewer than 0.4% of venture capital funding in the country had been raised by Black founders.
The urgency of climate change in the United Kingdom necessitates diverse perspectives on the issue in order to achieve genuine environmental reform. Bean stated that he searched the Cambridge database for people with experience in materials engineering and then called alumni to ask questions about the market.
Bean aspires to one day establish operations in the United States. However, there is a great deal of work to be done in the U.K. Someone must, after all, pave the way for the “Unicorn Kingdom.”