$12.5M raised for a new kind of electric motor
By Mike Cronin – Staff Writer, Austin Business Journal
A Round Rock-based technology startup is making some waves as it tries to shake up the somewhat staid field of electric motor production.
Infinitum Electric Inc. announced Dec. 5 that it had raised a series B funding round of $12.5 million. Santa Fe, New Mexico-based Cottonwood Technology Fund led the round, which included participation from Chevron Technology Ventures, AJAX Strategies, as well as other individual investors.
The company makes electric motors used in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, otherwise known as HVAC, as well as in the oil and gas and electric vehicle industries.
“With this latest round of funding, we’re well positioned to replace traditional HVAC motors with our breakthrough motor technology, resulting in a smaller, smarter and more efficient offering for thousands of HVAC end users,” Infinitum Electric CEO Ben Schuler said in a statement. He founded the company in 2016.
The series B round helped the company move to a 15,000 square-foot facility at 700 Jeffrey Way in Round Rock. The new headquarters houses all company functions.
Infinitum has not sold any of its motors yet. The company expects to ship its first products in June 2020. It enters a sector dominated by giants like Siemens AG and Toshiba Corp.
But Infinitum plans to stand out with streamlined design and increased connectivity. Schuler predicted the company’s “patented motor technology will completely transform the electric motor market, a market that has changed very little since inception more than 100 years ago.”
In an email, Schuler said what differentiates Infinitum Electric is that the company has “completely changed what it means to make an electric motor.”
“Traditional electric motors are made with heavy, bulky iron laminated stators made with twisted copper wiring,” he said. “With our patented technology, we’re replacing these traditional stators with printed circuit boards, significantly reducing the size, weight and cost of electric motors all while providing significantly more efficiency. Not to mention, our motors are [internet of things]-enabled, unlike most.”
Infinitum Electric said it has raised $15.2 million in total. The company reported in an Aug. 7 securities filing it had sold $6.4 million in equity securities to 17 investors. The company in January announced a $1.8 million series A funding round.
The company employs nine people and currently has four open positions: product manager, sales and marketing engineer, design drafter and office manager. Executives expect the payroll to grow to 20 employees by the end of next year.
This past year Infinitum Electric has rounded out its executive team by hiring Mark Preston as chief operating officer, Bhavnesh Patel as vice president of business development, Michael Gray as senior vice president of supply chain and manufacturing, Paulo Guedes-Pinto as technology vice president and Tracy Gill as director of engineering.
Schuler declined to share revenue figures and said the company remains in growth mode. He said Infinitum has signed three high-profile HVAC original equipment manufacturers as initial customers and predicted it will deliver “tens of thousands of units” to customers in the next few years.
“No one else can make a motor as affordable and as efficient ours for the same weight and size. A motor with a printed circuit board stator, such as ours, is also significantly easier and cheaper to maintain, and the IoT component makes it easier to know when maintenance is needed.”
Another interesting feature of Infinitum’s story is the choice to locate in Round Rock. The suburb north of Austin is known as the home of Dell Technologies Inc. but doesn’t see the same kind of tech startup activity as the capital city. The past year has seen tech companies like California-based information technology provider Chatsworth Products expand in Round Rock. Rising rents have pushed some small tech companies out of Austin to the suburbs, like in the case of software maker Promogo, which has relocated to Lockhart in Caldwell County.