CelLink Announces $22.5M in Series B Funding to Ramp Production of Large-Area Flexible Circuits for Power and Data Transmission
The oversubscribed financing round, which was co-led by Franklin Venture Partners, Fontinalis Partners, Ford Motor Company, and BMW i Ventures, includes participation from several new and existing investors.
October 29, 2019 – CelLink, a San Carlos, CA-based manufacturer of flexible circuit technology that delivers high-conductance, large-area, lightweight, and low-cost flexible circuits through a proprietary combination of manufacturing processes, designs, and materials, today announces the completion of a $22.5M Series B round of financing. The round was co-led by new investors Franklin Venture Partners, Fontinalis Partners, BMW i Ventures, with existing investor Ford Motor Company, and further included Lear Corporation, as well as participation by other existing investors 3M Ventures, SK Telecom, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, and Band of Angels. The new funding is aimed at ramping CelLink’s production to meet significant customer demand across the company’s three primary markets: vehicle wiring, battery pack interconnects, and LED lighting.
“CelLink was founded eight years ago on the premise of providing interconnect solutions to the solar industry. We are thrilled that the core innovations that we developed have evolved into a new type of flexible circuit that addresses the growing challenges of vehicle wiring and light-weighting, battery wiring, and energy-efficient lighting applications,” commented CEO and co-founder Kevin Coakley. “These industries are huge, and they require significant technological advances for the world to achieve a state of sustainable energy production and consumption,” Coakley added.
“We immediately understood the transformative opportunity that CelLink’s novel flexible circuit technology creates for a number of industries,” noted Bobby Stevenson of Franklin Venture Partners, who will join the CelLink Board of Directors. “CelLink’s outstanding commercial traction and the significant technical validation that has been demonstrated by CelLink’s wide range of strategic partners and investors is unique for an early stage company, especially for one aiming to disrupt such large and established markets.”
“Ford’s Research and Advanced Engineering team in Palo Alto was involved with CelLink from an early stage”, noted Dragos Maciuca, executive technical director at Ford Motor Company in Palo Alto. “After participating in CelLink’s Series A, we have continued to see growth and progress in the collaboration between CelLink and Ford. As we work together to enable disruptive capabilities in the more traditional areas of automotive engineering such as vehicle wiring subsystems, we are thrilled to be working with strategic partners like CelLink.”
The new funding will support CelLink’s operations as it scales up existing production contracts and transitions several projects into full-scale production. CelLink will continue to ramp production in its first manufacturing facility through 2019, and the company intends to bring a new production facility online in the 2020-21 timeframe to meet additional demand.
“What first attracted Fontinalis to CelLink was the way that the company’s technology is already positioned to compete in a multi-billion-dollar, established market. CelLink is delivering a new and innovative approach for connecting vehicle electronics and replacing existing wire harness solutions that have not changed meaningfully for nearly 100 years,” said Mark Schulz, a Founder and Venture Partner with Fontinalis Partners, who joins CelLink’s Board as part of the financing round. “As we dug deeper, we realized that the applications for CelLink’s flexible circuits in transportation and the macro trends driving next-gen mobility – electrification, autonomy, connectivity, and the growing number of sensors on vehicles – had the company poised to truly change how mobility systems are powered,” Schulz added.
“We believe CelLink’s technology will transform wire harnessing from an ‘old school’, simple technology to a more advanced, integrated, multi-purpose, flexible circuit technology with more functionality and lower cost. Automotive wiring is finally becoming high tech,” stated Marcus Behrendt, Partner at BMW i Ventures.
In the long-term, CelLink expects that its technology will scale well-beyond the company’s initial markets. The company has already received strong interest in adapting its technology for use in aerospace and commercial vehicles.
CelLink, founded in 2012 by Kevin Coakley (CEO) and Malcolm Brown (VP Engineering), and joined in 2015 by Bruce Graham (Chairman), manufactures the world’s largest and most electrically and thermally conductive flexible circuits. The company’s products are ideally-suited to power and signal transmission applications including automotive wiring, battery packs, LED lighting, photovoltaics, and other devices. CelLink was originally funded through a 2014 US Department of Energy Sunshot grant, and has since received a total of $35M in follow-on funding, including a 2015 seed investment from SK Telecom, Band of Angels, and Robert Bosch Venture Capital, and a 2017 Series A investment led by 3M Ventures. Please visit www.cellinkcircuits.com for more information.
About Franklin Venture Partners
Franklin Venture Partners is a specialized investment team within Franklin Templeton, one of the world’s leading asset managers, based in San Mateo, California. Leveraging its Silicon Valley proximity and Franklin Templeton’s 70 years of experience evaluating and managing equity investments of all sizes, Franklin Venture Partners identifies and invests in mid-stage companies it believes are poised for transformative impacts across multiple industries.
About Fontinalis Partners
Fontinalis Partners, with offices in Detroit, Boston, and San Francisco, is a venture capital firm strategically focused on next-generation mobility. The firm was founded in 2009 and today manages approximately $170 million of committed capital and an active portfolio of 39 investments. More information is available at www.fontinalis.com.
About BMW i Ventures
BMW i Ventures, BMW’s EUR 500 million venture capital fund, invests money and resources in startups in the fields of autonomous driving, digital car and automotive cloud, e-mobility, artificial Intelligence and data, industry 4.0, shared and on-demand mobility, customer digital life, and energy services. The firm has already partnered with innovative companies such as Carbon3D, Chargepoint, Claroty, DesktopMetal, Graphcore, JustPark, Life360, Moovit, Nauto, Scoop, Stratim, Xometry, Zendrive and Zum. BMW i Ventures invests in all stages from seed and incubation to growth companies.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. Ford employs approximately 199,000 people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit www.corporate.ford.com.