General Motors, Temasek invest in Singapore EV battery maker SES’s $139m Series D

SES, a Singapore-based manufacturer of Lithium-Metal rechargeable batteries used in electric vehicles, announced on Monday that it has raised $139 million in a Series D round funding led by General Motors (GM).

The round saw participation from returning backers including Singapore state investor Temasek, US-based Applied Materials, Korea’s SK Inc., Applied Ventures LLC, Vertex Ventures, Shanghai Auto (SAIC Group), and Shenzhen-listed energy materials major Tianqi Lithium, per a company statement.

“This new round of funding will help accelerate technology development, significantly expand our technical, business, and manufacturing teams, and expedite the commercialisation of Li-Metal batteries,” said SES founder and CEO Qichao Hu in the statement.

SES’s latest funding follows its recent joint development agreement with GM to build a manufacturing prototyping line in Massachusetts for a high-capacity, pre-production battery by 2023.

With subsidiaries in Boston, Shanghai, and Seoul, SES produces Li-Metal batteries for EVs and electric vertical take-off, and landing vehicles (eVTOLs). The company was founded by Dr. Qichao Hu in 2012.

SES is making efforts to scale up its affordable productions to meet the needs of the rapidly growing global EV market.

“GM has been rapidly driving down battery cell costs and improving energy density, and our work with SES technology has incredible potential to deliver even better EV performance for customers who want more range at a lower cost,” said GM executive vice president and chief technology officer and president Matt Tsien.

According to consultancy McKinsey & Co, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased demand for new-generation vehicles, such as battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and partial-hybrid EVs, besides contactless delivery options powered by autonomous driving.

Over 40% of the participants, in its consumer survey of about 7,000 respondents worldwide, said they are willing to pay a premium for green vehicles. Annual global passenger plug-in EV sales hit three million in 2020 – an over 40% increase year-on-year – with 46% of the fiscal-year sales coming from Europe, 39% from China, and 12% from North America.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.