ORLEN VC, Poland's largest corporate venture capital fund owned by ORLEN Group, invests in Circunomics' state-of-the-art, cloud-based platform. The IoT marketplace of the Mainz-based start-up, founded in 2019, facilitates the monitoring and prediction of battery condition, presents reuse opportunities, and provides subsequent recycling pathways for millions of electric vehicles. This innovative solution from Circunomics, in which ORLEN VC now has a significant stake, is expected to help reduce the environmental footprint of batteries from the e-vehicle industry by up to 50%. With this investment, ORLEN VC has now built a portfolio of eight investments reaching beyond PLN 150 million in less than two years since its inception.
“We invest in interesting, forward-looking solutions set to enhance our competitive advantages and drive the growth of the combined ORLEN Group, with a beneficial impact on the environment. Circular economy technologies, especially in areas such as energy and new mobility, have enormous potential. We can see tangible business gains and environmental benefits they can unlock for us. We have invested in yet another tech company that, with our strategic and capital support, will be able to bring its innovative idea into being for greener use of electric vehicles. ORLEN VC’s new investment is fully aligned with the development directions we have adopted and our efforts to achieve carbon neutrality,” says Daniel Obajtek, President of the Management Board and CEO of PKN ORLEN.
Circunomics is one of the leading start-ups in circular economy and battery monitoring solutions. Its founders, Felix Wagner and Jan Born, set themselves the goal of creating an entire closed-loop ecosystem for EV batteries-- from the battery’s first and second lives through to recycling. They developed an innovative platform that accomplishes two goals. The first, through innovative analytics, it monitors a battery's condition and predicts its best 2nd life usage. Secondly, the platform facilitates the sale of batteries and recycling through the Circunomics marketplace. Recycling allows for rare earth metals such as lithium, nickel, and cobalt to be recovered for reuse in the manufacture of new batteries. Founded in 2019, Circunomics is backed by renowned investors from the industry, including venture studio Next Mobility Labs, German recycling company TES, and former AUDI Group executives.
Felix Wagner, CEO and Co-Founder of Circunomics confirms: "We are very excited about our new partnership with ORLEN - one of the most important players in the energy industry in Europe. The ORLEN Group is determined to become a carbon neutral company in the future. Circunomics can make a significant contribution to achieving this goal and making the industry more environmentally friendly in the future. With this partnership, we have not only secured a new source of capital, but also deeper insight into the energy and automotive industries, as well as strategic support."
Europe - a global leader in battery production
In 2023, electric cars already have a 10% share in the passenger car segment. The European EV market is growing fast, having expanded by almost 60% between 2021 and 2022, which makes it the second largest market in the world. About 2.5 million electric vehicles were soldlast year alone. In addition, Europe is now a global leader in battery production, with an annual output of 2,000 GWh. The production capacity of Asia, the second largest market, is estimated at 1,400 GWh per year.
By 2030, Europe is expected to become the leader in electric vehicle sales. According to forecasts, the global capacity of second-life batteries will reach 1,000 GWh by 2030, in line with the growing production. The increase will be driven by rising production volumes and demand for batteries, long delivery times for new batteries, growing demand for lithium amid tight supply, and a more prominent role of stationary energy storage facilities.
About Orlen VC:
Circunomics is the sixth start-up in which ORLEN VC has invested. In less than two years of its operation, ORLEN VC has built a portfolio of six technology companies from all around Europe plus two foreign investment funds. Thus, it has joined a group of the largest and most active investment funds in Central and Eastern Europe. ORLEN VC plans to make on average from five to six direct investments per year, focusing on the most promising companies with innovative and ready-to-commercialise technologies, in line with the ORLEN2030 strategy.
Circunomics GmbH was founded in 2019 and is already one of the leading start-ups in the field of Circular Battery Economy. The founders Felix Wagner and Jan Born have set themselves the goal of establishing a circular system for batteries from electric vehicles, from first and second use to the recycling of raw materials. To this end, they have developed an innovative, digital marketplace where battery packs in the form of digital "Circular Twins" can be registered, tracked and traded until final recycling. The company has so far been supported by seed investors and business angels, such as startup builder Next Mobility Labs, recycler TES, as well as Dr. Peter Mertens, former Chief Technology Officer of Audi.