Soteria Battery Innovation Group has developed a technology designed to significantly mitigate the risks of fire incidents, ushering in a new era of secure and reliable energy storage. We sat down with the brain behind Soteria, Brian Morin, to uncover the motivations driving his endeavor, the collaborative approaches shaping the industry’s safety dialogue, his visions for the future of battery safety, and much more.
How would you describe Soteria Battery Innovation Group?
There are two things to know about Soteria. The first is that we have a technology that can make lithium-ion batteries inherently safe, by which we mean that the probability of a fire due to damage, abuse, or a manufacturing defect drops by at least 90%. Second, we are dedicated to battery safety in all its forms. We have formed a consortium of more than 120 companies, including NASA, Mercedes, Bosch, Motorola, Lenovo, and others, that promotes all forms and strategies to achieve battery safety. This group is an active networking group and a source of about ⅓ of our revenue.
What inspired you to take the leap and start Soteria?
I was working on safety technology and was frustrated with a business model with us as the only supplier. We studied other business models and decided to rebuild the business with a new one based on learnings from studying BlueTooth, Qualcomm, and Arm Holdings. It was a bold move that paid off and gave us a platform to enhance safety for the whole industry.
What does the competitive landscape look like, and how do you differentiate?
There are a lot of safety technologies, and all of them are important. We are, however, the only ones that address eliminating the root cause of the ignition event. We promote a full safety stack, a holistic approach to battery safety. The analogy in crash safety would include seat belts, shoulder harnesses, airbags, bumpers, crumple zones, anti-lock brakes, etc. We believe that our technology should be ubiquitous, like the airbag, which is our goal, but we still need to eliminate the need for other safety strategies.
Three companies are already commercially licensing your technology. What industries do they operate in, and what convinced them to use your technology?
All three are paper companies making our Dreamweaver separator. Three things convinced them to take the license. First is the performance, with enhanced safety and cycle life compared to existing separators. The second is the low production cost and ability to scale to bigger scales than existing technology, which they knew and understood well. The third is the pace at which the market is growing and the (real) perception that we are at an inflection point in lithium-ion batteries, so the opportunity is now.
How can Soteria’s consortium influence the future growth of your company?
The beauty of the consortium is that it puts us in the center of the dialogue in the industry about battery safety. We hear about the customers’ problems, needs, and desires at all levels of the supply chain. Most of the time, we can make connections between customers to help satisfy those needs. Occasionally, there is a problem or desire for which there is no solution, which becomes an innovation and partnership opportunity for Soteria. We’ll announce one of those results in the next month or so, which we hope will save hundreds of lives and set up an entirely new business for Soteria.
Outside of royalties, are the companies licensing your technology facing any additional capital or operation costs when they integrate it into their products?
No–our technologies are a drop-in to existing manufacturing, replacing existing separators and current collectors. There are only minor changes to tensions and other settings to enable the use of the technology.
What are your milestones for the next 12 months?
There are many, but a few big ones:
- New product line: Launch the new product mentioned two questions ago.
- E-bike batteries: Launch a line of e-bike batteries built according to the best practices we’ve uncovered with our e-bike project.
- New battery: have the new battery from our partnership with NanoTech Energy hit the market, which will also be designed into the e-bike batteries.
- Continued growth: We are currently growing our existing product lines at about 50% organic growth, which needs to continue or accelerate.
How would you define the culture at your company?
We’ve thought long and hard about this and have come up with three words for how we would like to be perceived and how we would like to treat each other. Those words are humble, kind, and reliable.
- Humble: We want to serve the industry and each other, putting others’ needs in front of our own.
- Kind: People are important and everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect.
- Reliable: We want to be a trusted source of products, technology, and information within the industry and our team.
These three values make Soteria a great company to work with and a great company to work for.
Soteria Battery Innovation Group is raising on StartEngine