Read Sortera’s Pitch Deck That Won Bill Gates’ Fund
- Sortera Alloys, an automatic aluminum recycling start-up, has just raised $10 million.
- The Series B funding round was led by mobility-focused venture capital firm Assembly Ventures.
- Here’s an exclusive look at the Sortera pitch deck used in its latest relaunch.
Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures climate fund this week announced a second investment in a recycling startup that could give the auto industry an answer to its aluminum supply shortage.
Sortera Alloys just closed a $10 million Series B round, led by investors Detroit’s Assembly Ventures with participation from aluminum company Novelis and Breakthrough (which led the $10 million raise de Sortera at the end of last year). The latest round brings the Fort Wayne, Indiana startup’s total funding to $22 million.
Sortera, co-founded in 2020 by materials and artificial intelligence scientists Nalin Kumar and Manuel Garcia, previously received funding from venture capital firm Chrysalix and the Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency. Assembly Ventures has previously invested in companies like electric vehicle battery startup Our Next Energy and e-commerce company Metropolis.
While the electric vehicle battery recycling efforts of companies like Redwood and Li-Cycle have attracted a lot of investment and attention, the automotive industry still needs big amounts of aluminum, and that’s not the case. not always easy to find.
In recent years, automakers around the world have switched from traditional steel to aluminum, whose light weight improves fuel efficiency and allows electric vehicles to go further on a charge. The Ford F-150, for example, has had an aluminum body since 2015.
Aluminum is the fastest growing material in the automotive sector, with the market expected to grow about 12% per vehicle by 2026, according to the Aluminum Association.
Sortera jumps at this opportunity by turning old aluminum into new.
“The fundamental problem is that aluminum makers can’t get enough recycled material,” said Michael Siemer, who was named CEO of Sortera in April. “We need more recycled materials to go into primary aluminum because a primary material can be energy-intensive to manufacture.”
Because used aluminum comes as a mixture, that mixture must be sorted to make the aluminum that can go back into cars, Siemer said.
This is where Sortera comes in. The startup uses data analytics, sensor technology and AI to sort mixed aluminum scrap, called twitch, into individual elements that can be sent back to the aluminum manufacturing process.
“We can really make a difference by having to source the raw materials and all the energy to create more aluminum,” Siemer said.
The startup has a 10-acre processing facility at its headquarters. It plans to move to high-volume production by the end of the first quarter of next year and is expected to process 100 million pounds, or 45,000 metric tons, of recycled aluminum material per year from there.
Sortera could eventually apply its sorting technology to other areas.
“We’re starting with aluminum, but this is a global opportunity because it’s about how we reuse every aspect of a vehicle – or any manufactured asset,” said Chris Thomas, co-founder and partner of ‘Assembly Ventures, to Insider. “We have the ability here to look at the future of plastics, the future of electrification, the future of batteries.”
In the meantime, Sortera has a five-year contract with its investor Novelis and aims to work with other manufacturers who supply aluminum to automakers desperate for the material.
Siemer shared the pitch deck Sortera used to pitch their vision. Sensitive information has been removed.