Investment Memos
December 15, 2021
Reilly Brennan

Enabling A Full Lifecycle For Lithium-Ion Batteries (Why We Invested in Cling Systems)

We are in the beginning stages of the Zero-Emissions Era for automobiles and commercial vehicles, the impact of which will upend nearly every component of today's global supply chain, fuel network, mining ecosystem, and finally and most importantly the environmental and health trajectories for 8 billion people. To put it plainly, it is the work of our lives to change transportation for the better.

The battery sits at the center of the vortex. How batteries are made, sold, used, re-used and recycled is a global concern worth $2 trillion by McKinsey's estimates. The coordination of those supply and demand signals, coupled with the intelligent transportation capabilities of a global player, is a great opportunity for a new leader. This is the focus of Cling Systems: to connect buyers and sellers of second-life lithium-ion battery packs and coordinate the transportation of the packs through intelligent logistics.

The company is committed to changing transportation for the better and has already attracted remarkable talent. It was founded by William Bergh, who has been designing battery packs for recycling at Northvolt. The company's COO is Gunnar Magnusson, formerly the head of external research at Volvo Cars. The CTO is Axel Sundberg, formerly at Spotify.

Key to establishing this position are relationships with automotive supply chain players (vehicle manufacturers, retail networks, dismantlers and insurers) to secure battery packs coming out of first-life applications. Cling Systems establishes primary relationships with the automotive ecosystem, places them into the marketplace, and then helps buyers of these assets secure them safely.

However, it's complicated and expensive to move used battery packs. Transport costs are high and often influence how buyers purchase (or don't purchase). By U.S. Department of Energy estimates, up to 40% of the cost of a used battery pack is simply the transportation of it from seller to buyer. Lithium batteries are regulated as a hazardous material under the U.S. Department of Transportation. Other countries have similar regulations, and border crossings can multiply headaches for buyers.

Cling's role is to simplify these matters. By understanding the total value chain for the assets and their transport costs, Cling will be in a primary position to understand, connect and deliver the global market for lithium ion packs.

Today's battery packs are often disregarded or considered a liability. Cling changes this by turning all battery packs into an asset with a corresponding value. We look forward to supporting the team as they grow and put their mark on the future of transportation.

You can learn more about Cling here.

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