GM Ventures, General Motor’s Venture Capital subsidiary, has announced a $4.2 million investment in Sakti3, Inc. – an Ann Arbor-based developer of next-generation lithium-ion batteries.
GM joins previous investors in Sakti3 – Khosla Ventures and Baringea – and will work with the firm to advance the commercialization and manufacturing capabilities of the startup’s battery cells.
“GM Ventures is making strategic investments in new technology to support our core automotive business,” said Jon Lauckner, president GM Ventures, LLC. “Our objective is to identify start-up companies that offer the best future technology for our vehicles, including next generation propulsion systems. In this case, our investment in Sakti3 gives us access to an innovative battery technology that has the potential to be a mainstream solution for electrically-driven cars and trucks of the future.”
Sakti3 was the recipient of a $3 million grant from The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) in 2009 and has also been designated as a State of Michigan Center of Energy Excellence (CoEE) in partnership with the University of Michigan.
This is the second investment by the recently-formed GM Ventures – the first being a $5 million infusion into Bright Automotive. Equally important, however, is the long-term effect of the funding on Michigan’s goal to reinvigorate manufacturing growth in the state. According to Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), GM’s investment in Sakti3 is “a great example of how we can bring together our expertise in manufacturing and academia to create new opportunities and new jobs.”
The GM Authority Take
While it will be interesting to see how far these investments take GM, it’s still great to see The General actively pursuing and supporting the research and development of outside organizations like Sakti3. This not only improves GM’s long-term chances of finding the “next big thing” in automotive technology, but it also reinvigorates the innovation and development of automotive components by third parties and startups. Way to go, GM!