Infinitum Electric to double workforce after $40M funding
By Mike Cronin – Staff Writer, Austin Business Journal
Round Rock-based electric motor company Infinitum Electric will double its roughly 30-person workforce during the next six months, founder and CEO Ben Schuler said after closing a $40 million series C funding round.
Schuler said the roles will primarily be in engineering, operations, manufacturing and supply.
Infinitum Electric is attempting to disrupt the electric motor industry with its innovative design. Printed circuit boards replace the iron and copper components historically used in electric motors, which reduces their size, weight and cost. Schuler told Austin Business Journal in December that the design also significantly improves the motor’s efficiency. The company’s motors also may be manufactured “right where they are consumed” — an enormous benefit for the company’s original equipment manufacturer customers. The CEO founded the startup in 2016.
Infinitum Electric boasts about 10 customers. They include Minnesota-based fan manufacturer Twin City Fan Companies Ltd.; Oklahoma-headquartered Acme Engineering and Manufacturing Corp., a fan, blower and ventilation equipment manufacturer; and Kentucky-based Comefri USA Inc., a fan and blower manufacturer.
“On average, our motors are 10% more efficient [than traditional electric motors] overall,” Schuler said. “If all motors in the world were Infinitum Electric motors, we would reduce electricity consumption by 1.2 trillion kilowatt hours every year, and eliminate 860 million metric tons of [carbon dioxide] every year.”
Silicon Valley-based Energy Innovation Capital led the round. Infinitum Electric’s existing investors Cottonwood Technology Fund, Chevron Technology Ventures and Ajax Strategies also participated. And Wisconsin-headquartered automation and IT company Rockwell Automation Inc. (NYSE: ROK) also purchased an equity stake. The company has raised $55 million.
Infinitum Electric said it will use the fresh capital “to expand production of the company’s IEs Series motors for commercial and industrial applications, and complete development of its IEm Series motors for the rapidly growing electric vehicle market.”
Energy Innovation Capital Managing Partner Kevin Skillern said in a statement that the company’s “innovative technology approach and pragmatic design has resulted in a motor made for the next 100 years. Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) is an important business driver. As the world adds 800 million motors annually, Infinitum Electric is positioned to make machines we rely on more sustainable.”
Bob Buttermore, vice president and general manager of Rockwell Automation’s Power Control business, added that the company “addresses the entire lifecycle of the combined motor and variable frequency drive — from its materials, to how it’s tested, produced, transported, assembled, used, and maintained — and we see this work as a natural extension of our growing business helping our customers to be more productive and sustainable. Their motor and variable frequency drive packaged solution offers superior performance and efficiency, while emphasizing usability, which is a key differentiator.”
Schuler described the Rockwell Automation partnership as “very validating for us.”
The CEO said the company already is in discussions about its next funding round, but details remain to be worked out.
Schuler considers legacy electric motor companies as competitors, such as ABB, Boston-headquartered General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) and TECO Westinghouse Motor Co., which has a large corporate campus in Round Rock.
Schuler said Infinitum Electric’s Round Rock facility at 700 Jeffrey Way is about 20,000 square feet, and has enough space for perhaps the next 12 months, after which the CEO plans to expand its research and development capacity.
He declined to share revenue figures and a potential exit strategy, but projected Infinitum Electric would become profitable by 2023.