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Imperial College London spin-out raises £1.5m for smart battery software

Breathe Battery Technologies

London-based Breathe Battery Technologies, a startup that develops “intelligent” battery management algorithms for electric vehicles and smartphones, has raised £1.5m in a funding round led by Speedinvest. 

The company, which launched as a spin-out from Imperial College London in 2019, is creating software to maximise battery life.

Breathe Battery Technologies CEO Ian Campbell told UKTN that the capital will be used to fund its existing projects through 2022. The company will also scale up its team and battery testing facilities in London.

“There’s a lot of capital available now and the rate of development in the battery industry is high, so the difficult thing is finding the right partners and deploying funds better than the competition – we feel really confident here with Speedinvest and our roadmap,” Campbell said.

In addition to Speedinvest, angel investors who participated in the round include Pete Hutton, former president of product groups at Arm; Adrien Cohen, co-founder and president at unicorn Tractable; Benno Jering, partner at Redline Capital; Paul Massara, ex-Centrica and RWE Executive Member; and Peter Murphy, co-founder of Covalis Capital. 

The company started with just the three founders in 2021 but it’s now starting 2022 with 12 people. It also plans to hire talent for multiple roles in Q1 2022. 

“Enabler for low power chips”

Breathe Battery Technologies core software solution is Lincc, which the company claims to be the “world’s first” truly dynamic and health-adaptive charging software. Campbell told UKTN that the software is built and supplied to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to give better battery performance. 

“Our battery management software works by considering not just the measurable aspects of the battery – current, voltage, temperature – but by using that information to model what’s happening inside the cells electrochemically (our co-founder Professor Greg Offer is a chemist). This provides us clear insights to make good management decisions,” Campbell explained. 

When asked how Breathe’s technology differs from other players in the smart battery market, Campbell said its offering goes beyond treating batteries like a black box and looks deep into the battery stats. This, Campbell claims, lets the Breathe “extract unexploited performance and safety in existing and future batteries”. 

The company also claims to be able to run its software on low power chips. 

Campbell added: “We are taking that understanding of physics and doing a rethink of how the battery is modelled, finding ways to reduce its complexity. That’s our speciality, and the enabler for low power chips.”

An Imperial College London spin-out 

Breathe Battery Technologies started out as a spinout from Imperial College London’s Electrochemical Science and Engineering group in 2019. Founded by Dr Yan Zhao, Dr Ian Campbell and professor Greg Offer, the startup believes that battery management systems play a crucial role for making use of a battery to its fullest extent. 

Campbell and Zhao both hold PhD degrees in lithium-ion battery engineering from ICL. Offer manages a research group of over 40 people at the college while leading the £17.9m Faraday Multi-scale Modelling programme. It is part of the Faraday Battery Challenge, which is a £330m government funding programme for pushing battery research, innovation and commercialisation ecosystem in the UK.