The high-performance materials company is aiming for multi-gigaton CO2 reduction impact by displacing some of the world's dirtiest materials.
Houston, Texas — 8 March 2023 — DexMat, a climate tech startup that grew out of materials science breakthroughs at Rice University, today announced the close of its seed round, totaling nearly $3 million in funding. Shell Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Shell committed to accelerating the energy and mobility transformation, led the investment round, joined by Overture Ventures, Climate Avengers, another global energy company, and several individuals. DexMat's flagship product is GalvornTM, a family of high-performance carbon materials that have the potential to displace steel, aluminum, copper, carbon fibers, Kevlar, and other CO2-intensive materials. Galvorn products can eventually displace up to 3 gigatons of hard-to-abate industrial CO2 emissions from the global economy annually, according to a life cycle analysis (LCA) conducted with Shell.
In tandem with its seed round, DexMat also welcomes Bryan Guido Hassin — previously a member of DexMat's board of directors — as its new CEO. Hassin has led multiple climate-tech startups through rapid growth, most recently cofounding Third Derivative and leading it to become the world's largest climate-tech innovation ecosystem. DexMat's previous CEO, Dmitri Tsentalovich, Ph.D., steps into the role of CTO, where his deep background in engineering, carbon, manufacturing, and product development will inform the company's ongoing technology evolution.
High-performance Galvorn is an advanced carbon nanomaterial that can be formed into yarns, cables, tapes, woven fabrics, composites, and three-dimensional structures for use in a wide range of industries and applications, including energy, automotive, aviation, and wearables. Its high strength, ultra-light weight, conductivity, flexibility, corrosion resistance, and other properties make it a superior alternative to traditional materials such as steel, aluminum, copper, carbon fiber, and Kevlar. DexMat has seen its revenue from commercial sales of Galvorn products nearly double annually since the company's inception.
"Before joining DexMat, as CEO of Third Derivative, I was introduced to easily over 2,000 innovative new concepts and technologies. DexMat's solution was one of the most impactful I came across, which is precisely why I'm so excited to be joining the team," said Hassin. "The opportunity to eventually cut up to 3 gigatons of CO2 annually in one of the most underserved markets of the clean energy transition — heavy industry — was too important for me to pass by."
Galvorn is a high-performance, advanced material created using carbon nanotubes (CNTs). It presents a climate-positive opportunity on two fronts: 1) in the production process, carbon is 'locked' into the Galvorn material structure as a form of long-term carbon storage, and 2) Galvorn displaces carbon-intensive materials such as steel, aluminum, and copper. In the near term, feedstocks for creating Galvorn include methane, including renewable natural gas and biogas, as well as other hydrocarbons. This prevents potent GHGs such as methane from entering the atmosphere, and diverts hydrocarbon fuels from combustion, so they don't release carbon into the atmosphere. In the longer term, as carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies such as direct air capture (DAC) mature and scale, Galvorn can create a lucrative market for these carbon streams and become even more carbon negative.
"DexMat presents an opportunity to capture methane, an abundant and inexpensive resource, and use it to replace materials such as steel, aluminum, and copper with a more sustainable option. We are excited to be part of DexMat's journey going forward and to realize their ambitions," said Aimee LaFleur, investment principal at Shell.
"The world's net zero future is entirely dependent on electrifying everything and decarbonizing the built environment. Metals like copper and steel sit at the heart of these trillion-dollar markets, and DexMat's technology promises carbon-negative, lighter, and stronger versions of what we currently mine and melt. Companies like this can help cement America's leadership in the most important transition of our lifetimes," said Shomik Dutta, co-founder and managing partner at Overture Ventures.
"If we want to give a 1.5-degree future a real shot, we need revolution, not evolution — but we can't electrify everything without finding a better, less expensive way to produce metal conductors. We chose to back DexMat because we believe their technology is capable of powering the energy transition with conductors made of a material we have in great abundance — carbon," said Nico Johnson, venture partner at Climate Avengers and founder of SunCast Media
"I have backed DexMat because I am impressed with a team poised to bring its vision of a new low-carbon steel alternative to reality. Galvorn itself is an exponential technology in terms of its potential applications. DexMat's success will prove that we can decarbonize our economy while delivering on an equitable prosperity," said Azeem Azhar, founder of Exponential View.
DexMat was founded to commercialize breakthroughs in the manufacturing of advanced carbon nanomaterials, based on technology originally developed in the Rice University laboratory of co-founder Professor Matteo Pasquali. The company was built on more than $20 million in non-dilutive funding, with Rice University included in the list of original investors. Grants from the Air Force Research Laboratory, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, U.S. Department of Energy, NASA, Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA), and the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded early research and development for high-performance applications in aerospace and wearables. ARPA-E is funding research on process intensification and cost reduction. DexMat is the exclusive licensee of multiple Rice university patents, including from the original collaboration between Prof. Pasquali and the late Nobel laureate Rick Smalley.