UWM-incubated SafeLi, LLC graphene-based battery startup awarded grant

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Shorewood-based startup SafeLi LLC has received a $1 million federal grant to further commercialize the graphene-based materials it has developed to disrupt the lithium-ion battery market.

SafeLi was founded in December 2016 by University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professors Carol Hirschmugl and Marija Gajdardziska-Josifovska. The physicists have developed lithium-ion battery parts made from a patented material called graphene monoxide, which boosts the energy storage capacity of li-ion batteries.

The grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy through the Small Business Technology Transfer program, follows SafeLi’s completion of a phase one technical and commercial proof-of-concept grant award.

The phase two grant will support the scaled-up production of graphene monoxide to allow for the development of larger prototype batteries for electric vehicles. It will also allow SafeLi to grow to 10 employees and begin pursuing angel, venture or corporate capital funding.

The grant brings SafeLi’s total federal and state funding to $1.5 million.

SafeLi was incubated at the Milwaukee I-Corps program, a partnership of five area universities that allows academic participants to explore commercializing their research ideas. Milwaukee I-Corps is administered by UWM and funded by the National Science Foundation.

Through the program, Hirschmugl  and Gajdardziska-Josifovska were mentored by Loren Peterson, an entrepreneur in UWM’s Lubar Entrepreneurship Center. They were also accepted into the national I-Corps program.Read the full article here.

About the National Graphene Association (NGA)

The National Graphene Association is the main organization and body in the U.S. advocating and promoting the commercialization of graphene. NGA is focused on addressing critical issues such as policy and standards development that will result in effective integration of graphene and graphene-based materials globally. NGA brings together current and future graphene stakeholders — entrepreneurs, companies, researchers, developers and suppliers, investors, venture capitalists, and government agencies — to drive innovation, and to promote and facilitate the commercialization of graphene products and technologies.

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