Membrion, a manufacturer of lower cost, high performance ion exchange membranes, has closed its oversubscribed Series A round with a total of $6 million. The round, led by Bellingham Angel Investors, included participation from existing investors as well as new funding from WRF Capital and SeaChange Fund.
Membrion will use this funding to commence commercial production of its membranes at a new production facility being developed in Seattle. Although Membrion’s ion exchange membranes are applicable across a range of industries, the company is focused on the multi-billion dollar water desalination market, which is expanding due to increased demand to address looming fresh water shortages around the world.
“The continued support of our current investors as well as WRF Capital and SeaChange is testament to the potential of our team and technology to address one of the world’s most pressing problems – access to clean water,” said Greg Newbloom, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Membrion. “With this funding, we’re thrilled to move from the lab to commercial production, develop a new manufacturing facility and ramp up production for customers.”
Membrion manufactures membranes that are purpose-built for electrodialysis reversal (EDR) equipment that desalinates “brackish” water (defined as water that has more salt than freshwater, but not as much as seawater). Brackish water is most often found in estuaries and underground aquifers, and traditionally has been too difficult and expensive to purify. But Membrion’s high performing, lower cost membranes can now reduce the cost of desalination by up to 30 percent, thus unlocking the potential of brackish water as a source of fresh water.
“We’ve been impressed with the significant progress Greg and the team have made in the past year – getting customer acceptance and product revenue is a real achievement, and just the tip of the iceberg for Membrion,” said Craig Moore with Bellingham Angel Investors. “We’re excited to see what the team can do with the new funding, a new manufacturing facility and customer growth, and we’re proud to support them.”
Membrion leverages silica gel – an inexpensive, non-toxic material that is often packaged with new shoes, beef jerky and many other consumer products – to produce a novel class of commercial ceramic membranes. Membrion’s technology converts the highly absorbent, small-pore silica gel into flexible ceramic membranes that can be engineered to meet the needs of a wide range of applications. It does so at a dramatic cost reduction relative to the current industry-leading membranes.