Infinitum raises $185M to make more efficient motors, expand operations in Mexico
New factory, new HQ and hiring spree ahead
By Brent Wistrom – Editor, Austin Inno
As a product engineer working on LCD glass panels for materials manufacturer Corning Inc., Ben Schuler learned shaving 30 seconds off a cycle time could translate to $100 million in additional revenue over the course of a year.
“I was blown away,” he said.
He’s carried the concept with him through the years and as he founded Infinitum in 2016. The startup makes smaller, lighter and more efficient motors for industrial processes, HVAC systems, data centers and materials handling. Schuler said that electric motors consume over half of all global electricity each year, so making them significantly more efficient could have a massive impact on the world.
Investors appear to also see a lot of promise in the company’s mission.
Infinitum on Nov. 1 announced it has raised $185 million in series E funding. The massive investment — one of the largest in the Austin area this year — was led by London-based Just Climate. Other investors included Galvanize Climate Solutions and NGP. Existing investors including Alliance Resource Partners, Rockwell Automation, Riverstone Holdings, Chevron Technology Ventures, Cottonwood Technology Fund and Ajax Strategies also pitched in.
The company has now raised a total of $350 million. It declined to share its valuation.
Armed with fresh funding, the company announced it will open a new, 110,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Saltillo, Mexico, that will be capable of producing 200,000 motors per year. It’s expected to open in the first half of next year. That adds to Infinitum’s existing 65,000-square-foot facility in Tijuana, Mexico, which can produce 100,000 units per year.
Altogether, the company will be able to produce about 300,000 motors annually.
Infinitum’s headcount is about 150 employees, and Schuler said the company will hire roughly 75 people more to reach 225 employees in 2024. The hiring will be across the board for roles in engineering, operations, supply chain, marketing, sales, research and development and finance, he said.
Infinitum, which is headquartered in a 35,000-square-foot space in Round Rock, is also about to close a deal on a new headquarters in Austin that will be about 95,000 square feet. Schuler declined to say where in Austin the new space will be.
The company’s growth comes as more companies strive to reach climate goals by reducing carbon footprints, in addition to saving money on rising electrical costs. While many traditional motors only run at one speed, Infinitum’s innovation brings a built-in variable frequency drive to reduce energy usage by running at lower speeds when possible. The motors also use less than half the copper of traditional motors and don’t use iron cores. Schuler said that eliminates core losses in the motor, which leads to a higher-efficiency machine that’s lighter and quieter.
The new funding comes weeks after Infinitum announced a partnership with Rockwell Automation to jointly develop a motor system compatible with Rockwell’s industrial automation systems.
“We believe replacing millions of outdated, single-speed motors with higher-efficiency, variable speed motors is key to helping the industrial sector meet sustainability objectives and solving the net zero challenge,” Benoit Grobon, a director at Just Climate, stated.
Infinitum’s funding round appears to be the largest for an Austin startup this year, and it is one of just a few $100 million-plus deals so far in 2023. Cybersecurity startup SpyCloud raised $110 million in August, and Colossal Laboratories & Biosciences secured $150 million in January.