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Swedish company Northvolt raises $2.75B to accelerate European battery production

Swedish battery developer and manufacturer Northvolt AB has raised $2.75 billion in capital as it prepares to ramp up to an annual production capacity of 150 GWh in Europe by 2030.

The funding round – Northvolt’s largest thus far – was co-led by existing investors Goldman Sachs and Volkswagen, and new investors including the Swedish pension funds AP1-4, and OMERS, one of Canada’s largest pension plans. AMF, ATP, Baillie Gifford, Baron Capital Group, Bridford Investments Limited, Compagnia di San Paolo through Fondaco Growth, Cristina Stenbeck, Daniel Ek, IMAS Foundation, EIT InnoEnergy, Norrsken VC, PCS Holding, Scania and Stena Metall Finans also participated in the raise.

Volkswagen’s investment came to €500 million ($620 million), the OEM said Wednesday, maintaining its 20% stake in the battery manufacturer.

CNBC reported that Northvolt’s valuation now stands at $11.75 billion. The company declined to comment on the specific valuation figure to TechCrunch.

Northvolt has already scored major deals with automakers like Volkswagen and BMW. In July 2020, the company inked a $2.3 billion contract with BMW for batteries; more recently in March, Volkswagen put in a $14 billion order over a ten-year period. The two deals bring Northvolt’s total contracts to $27 billion. Other notable customers include Swedish heavy duty truck manufacturer Scania and energy storage company Fluence.

This brings Northvolt’s total raised to more than $6.5 billion since the company was founded in 2016. The manufacturer’s first gigafactory in Skellefteå, Sweden, will be expanded from 40 GWh to 60 GWh, in part due to increased demand from the Volkswagon order, the company said in a statement. That facility will commence production later in 2021.

Northvolt’s overarching plan is to ramp up to at least 150 GWh of annual battery production across Europe by 2030. To meet this massive target, the company is considering at least two additional gigafactories, including one in Germany.

Northvolt is one of Europe’s largest battery manufacturers. Company shareholder EIT InnoEnergy said in a statement Wednesday that the funding is key to Europe achieving its Green Deal objectives, which includes creating a European battery value chain.

The Swedish company aims to distinguish itself from other battery manufacturers by producing batteries using renewable energy for the manufacturing process. Northvolt says its batteries have an 80% lower carbon footprint than those made with coal power. It also recycles batteries in-house and reuses the raw materials in its production process.

Carlyle acquires 1E.com, an endpoint and hybrid working specialist, in $270M deal

Remote work was the order of the day in the past 16 months, but as we (fingers crossed) move out of the pandemic, it’s looking like a lot of people may move into a new era of hybrid work: less focus being present in offices to feel like you are getting things done, less time commuting, and more time to be productive. To help better address that opportunity, a company called 1e, which builds solutions for companies to enable hybrid working along with managing the wider space of endpoint management, has been acquired by Carlyle on the heels of a strong year of business.

The private equity firm has picked up the London-based company in a $270 million deal.

The acquisition is coming in the form of a majority stake with CEO and co-founder Sumir Karayi maintaining a significant minority stake, along with employees of the company. The firm is completely bootstrapped — no outside investors, no VCs on the cap table prior to this deal — and profitable, with growth of 28% in the last year.

The birth and now exit of 1e is an interesting counterpoint to that of most of the enterprise startups that you will read about on the pages of TechCrunch, or maybe in tech press overall.

The company was started in 1997 when Karayi and co-founders Phil Wilcock and Mark Blackburn were at Microsoft working as in-house consultants helping enterprises adopt and adapt to Microsoft software. Karayi decided he wanted to start something of his own, rather than, in his words, “working for Microsoft forever.”

Given his background, his business started first as a consultancy, but he said that it didn’t take long to pivot, since “We realized that the problems we were looking to solve we needed to build technology to do that, so we started to write our own software.”

The company got its start as a Microsoft shop, building endpoint technology management, along with tools to help companies manage their computer terminals and networks better. That included products like NightWatchman, a power management tool for PCs and servers that helped save energy consumption for businesses; Nomad, a bandwidth management tool that helps reduce server usage; and Shopping, a platform for companies to build app-store-like experiences for internal employees or customer-facing tools.

Over time — years before the Covid-19 pandemic — that also evolved into software to enable hybrid working environments, which were already emerging as a thing and already posing challenges to businesses and users.

“The challenge was that remote working was a second-class experience,” he said, with technical support, software usage, network connectivity, device issues and just about everything harder to sort out when problems arose for workers not working in the office. So 1e — a play on the last two characters of the error message you get on a failing PC, “STOP 0x0000001E” — built software to address that, too.

Overall the company amassed some 40 patents on its technology, which now is used across more than 11 million devices among 500 large enterprise customers, including AT&T, Nestle, and a number of big banks that can’t be named.

It’s been the remote working software that has seen the company through an especially strong year — no surprise there, given the environment many of us have been working in — where businesses have been buying its tools as part of their “digital transformation” efforts, and it was this that got Karayi thinking that the company — which had largely built the business it had today on an employee base of people who just like building new things, and word-of-mouth between end users — could finally do with an outside investment and cash injection to take the business to the next level.

“We’re going through a seismic change right now and we think it’s a big opportunity for 1e,” he noted, adding that while many of us might feel like remote work is everywhere, he believes this is just the beginning of how to enable better remote working. “I think the office boat has sailed,” he said.

1e went with Carlyle among a number of other bidders as it seemed like the right fit: strong support and understanding of the business, combined with a well-recognized name. The plan more generally is to follow the PE playbook if all goes well: four years of growth, with “all later options open.”

“We were attracted to 1E’s fully integrated digital experience technology, which is differentiated by its advanced remediation and automation capabilities, and are delighted to partner with Sumir as we support the company as it enters its next phase of growth,” said Fernando Chueca, an MD in the Carlyle Europe Technology Partners (CETP) advisory team. “With strong industry tailwinds, we believe 1E has significant growth opportunities and we look forward to supporting another founder-backed business to scale through investments in product innovation, commercial operations, and international expansion.”

Other recent deals from Carlyle in Europe have included Eggplant, NetMotion Software, Apama, UC4/Automic Software and ITRS.

Carlyle acquires 1E.com, an endpoint and hybrid working specialist, in $270M deal

Remote work was the order of the day in the past 16 months, but as we (fingers crossed) move out of the pandemic, it’s looking like a lot of people may move into a new era of hybrid work: less focus being present in offices to feel like you are getting things done, less time commuting, and more time to be productive. To help better address that opportunity, a company called 1e, which builds solutions for companies to enable hybrid working along with managing the wider space of endpoint management, has been acquired by Carlyle on the heels of a strong year of business.

The private equity firm has picked up the London-based company in a $270 million deal.

The acquisition is coming in the form of a majority stake with CEO and co-founder Sumir Karayi maintaining a significant minority stake, along with employees of the company. The firm is completely bootstrapped — no outside investors, no VCs on the cap table prior to this deal — and profitable, with growth of 28% in the last year.

The birth and now exit of 1e is an interesting counterpoint to that of most of the enterprise startups that you will read about on the pages of TechCrunch, or maybe in tech press overall.

The company was started in 1997 when Karayi and co-founders Phil Wilcock and Mark Blackburn were at Microsoft working as in-house consultants helping enterprises adopt and adapt to Microsoft software. Karayi decided he wanted to start something of his own, rather than, in his words, “working for Microsoft forever.”

Given his background, his business started first as a consultancy, but he said that it didn’t take long to pivot, since “We realized that the problems we were looking to solve we needed to build technology to do that, so we started to write our own software.”

The company got its start as a Microsoft shop, building endpoint technology management, along with tools to help companies manage their computer terminals and networks better. That included products like NightWatchman, a power management tool for PCs and servers that helped save energy consumption for businesses; Nomad, a bandwidth management tool that helps reduce server usage; and Shopping, a platform for companies to build app-store-like experiences for internal employees or customer-facing tools.

Over time — years before the Covid-19 pandemic — that also evolved into software to enable hybrid working environments, which were already emerging as a thing and already posing challenges to businesses and users.

“The challenge was that remote working was a second-class experience,” he said, with technical support, software usage, network connectivity, device issues and just about everything harder to sort out when problems arose for workers not working in the office. So 1e — a play on the last two characters of the error message you get on a failing PC, “STOP 0x0000001E” — built software to address that, too.

Overall the company amassed some 40 patents on its technology, which now is used across more than 11 million devices among 500 large enterprise customers, including AT&T, Nestle, and a number of big banks that can’t be named.

It’s been the remote working software that has seen the company through an especially strong year — no surprise there, given the environment many of us have been working in — where businesses have been buying its tools as part of their “digital transformation” efforts, and it was this that got Karayi thinking that the company — which had largely built the business it had today on an employee base of people who just like building new things, and word-of-mouth between end users — could finally do with an outside investment and cash injection to take the business to the next level.

“We’re going through a seismic change right now and we think it’s a big opportunity for 1e,” he noted, adding that while many of us might feel like remote work is everywhere, he believes this is just the beginning of how to enable better remote working. “I think the office boat has sailed,” he said.

1e went with Carlyle among a number of other bidders as it seemed like the right fit: strong support and understanding of the business, combined with a well-recognized name. The plan more generally is to follow the PE playbook if all goes well: four years of growth, with “all later options open.”

“We were attracted to 1E’s fully integrated digital experience technology, which is differentiated by its advanced remediation and automation capabilities, and are delighted to partner with Sumir as we support the company as it enters its next phase of growth,” said Fernando Chueca, an MD in the Carlyle Europe Technology Partners (CETP) advisory team. “With strong industry tailwinds, we believe 1E has significant growth opportunities and we look forward to supporting another founder-backed business to scale through investments in product innovation, commercial operations, and international expansion.”

Other recent deals from Carlyle in Europe have included Eggplant, NetMotion Software, Apama, UC4/Automic Software and ITRS.