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SEATTLE, Sept. 10, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Membrion, a manufacturer of ultra-low cost, high performance ion exchange membranes, today announced it has raised $1.8 million from local investors and the National Science Foundation. The Company has received $1 million in the initial close of its Series Seed round, including funding from E8 and the E8 Fund, Bellingham Angel Investors and individual angels. In addition, the company received $748,000 in a grant from America’s Seed Fund, powered by the National Science Foundation. Membrion will use this funding to expand its team of leading researchers, continue to scale its technology and develop commercially viable membranes for the ion exchange markets in water separation technologies and energy storage applications.
The high cost of current ion exchange membranes and the inferior performance of polymer membranes have held back many of the most promising solutions to today’s clean energy, fresh water and human health challenges. Membrion’s low-cost, high-performance ceramic ion exchange membranes solve both problems, thereby allowing its customers to unlock the true potential of grid-scale energy storage; cutting-edge water purification and desalinization technologies; and advanced filtration in pharmaceuticals and chemical separations.
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. Membrion’s technology converts the highly absorbent, small-pore silica gel into flexible ceramic membranes that can be engineered to meet the needs of a wide range of applications. It does so at a dramatic cost reduction relative to the current industry leading membranes.
“Membrion’s unique technology produces a flexible ion exchange membrane with the high performance of an ultra-durable ceramic at a price significantly lower than a polymer, offering a truly disruptive opportunity to companies seeking to solve the world’s most pressing problems,” said John Plaza, CEO of Membrion. “This seed round of funding enables us to grow the team, acquire equipment and conduct further testing of our membranes as we move to commercial production.”
Membrion was founded in 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, Membrion has received generous support from UW’s CoMotion, Buerk Center & Clean Energy Institute, the National Science Foundation, Amazon’s Catalyst program, the Murdock Charitable Trust, and the CalTech Rocket Fund.
Jeff Canin, a co-manager of the E8 Fund said, “The E8 Fund is pleased to co-lead Membrion’s Series Seed funding round and take a representative seat on its Board of Directors. As a UW spinout with potentially disruptive technology addressing large and growing application markets, led by an experienced management team, the company represents a very promising addition to our fund’s cleantech investment portfolio.”
“Membrion is an exciting company with a new technology for an existing market need. They are moving rapidly to commercialize their proprietary technology for low cost production of flexible ceramic membranes. We are pleased to be working together with them to create a global market leader. Membrion is a great example of the type of innovative technology company that we like to invest in,” said Craig Moore, Bellingham Angel Investors.
"The Membrion team is turning a brilliantly simple idea born in a University of Washington chemical engineering lab into a cleantech product with myriad applications," said UW Clean Energy Institute Director Dan Schwartz. "The UW Clean Energy Institute is proud to have been an early supporter and to continue working with the company as they use our Washington Clean Energy Testbeds facility to further their technology."
Membrion has developed breakthrough Molecular Self Assembly (MSA) technology that uses readily available, non-toxic and low-cost materials to produce advanced ceramic ion exchange membranes which perform better and cost significantly less than today’s ceramic and polymer options. Membranes are at the heart of solutions to enable more cost-effective solutions for clean energy, fresh water supplies and human health challenges. Membrion’s affordable, high-performance membranes will help unleash a new wave of innovation and market penetration for these technologies. More information is available at www.membrion.com.
E8 is an impact angel investment group focused exclusively on promising cleantech startups. Its mission is to accelerate the transition to a cleaner future, a healthier planet, and a prosperous sustainable world. To date, individual members and the E8 Fund have invested more than $30 million in 81 companies and capital funds across North America. More information is available at: www.E8angels.com.
About Bellingham Angel Investors
Bellingham Angel Investors (BAI) is a leading angel investment group located in Bellingham, Washington. BAI invests in early stage companies in the Pacific Northwest from Vancouver BC to Portland, Oregon, for the purpose of accelerating the growth of entrepreneurial technology companies while building exceptional shareholder value. BAI is an experienced investor with approximately $25 million invested in over 40 companies over the last 10 years through both an investment fund and as individual angel investors. More information is available at www.bellinghamangelinvestors.com.
Media Contacts: John Williams, Scoville PR for Membrion 206-660-5503, firstname.lastname@example.org Mark Knittel, BAI President 360-441-2126