The future needs to be renewable — there is no escaping that. And one area where this future will have its first serious breakthroughs is with energy storage systems. And Form Energy, a Sommerville, Massachusetts-based startup, has an instant answer to that with a new class of cost-effective, multi-day energy storage systems designed to enable a reliable and fully renewable electric grid year-round.
Established in 2017 by the five-person founding team of Marco Ferrara, Mateo Jaramillo, Yet-Ming Chiang, William Woodford, and Ted Wiley, the $368.8 million Form Energy has raised since inception — with $240 million of that coming in a Series D financing round in August of this year — means financial backers that include Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures, ArcelorMittal, TPG Rise Climate, NGP Energy Technology Partners III, and Perry Creek Capital really believe Form Energy’s IP is a sure-fire winner, for both them in terms of ROI and for the consumer as it is redefining the global electric energy system for the better.
Commenting on the Series D investment, Mateo Jaramillo, Form Energy’s CEO, said: “This is a critically important and exciting time at Form Energy and we look forward to collaborating with our diverse coalition of leading investors as we accelerate development and prepare for commercialization to meet the urgency of the demand for scalable climate solutions.”
Form Energy’s novel, state-of-the-art battery technology is addressing how to manage the electric grid’s “multi-day variability of renewable energy without sacrificing reliability or cost”. Along with this, it offers low-cost, reliability, scalability, and safety — yet it also has the option to be paired well with lithium-ion batteries and renewable energy resources to enable optimal energy system configurations, along with the added bonus that it can be sited anywhere for utility-scale needs.
So, with all that out of the way, let’s briefly introduce Form Energy’s founding team:
Mateo Jaramillo is the CEO of Form Energy. Formerly Vice President of Products and Programs for Tesla’s stationary energy storage program, an effort he started and where he was responsible for Tesla Energy’s product line and business model definition, as well as global policy and business development. Jaramillo joined Tesla in 2009 as the Director of Powertrain Business Development, serving as commercial lead on over $100 million in new development and $500 million in production contracts signed for electric powertrain sales. Prior to Tesla, he was COO and part of the founding team at Gaia Power Technologies, a pioneering distributed energy storage firm.
Jaramillo earned a MA in Theology from Yale Divinity School.
Marco Ferrara is Senior Vice President of Business Development and Analytics at Form Energy, where he supervises application analytics and product and business development of Form’s multi-day, an ultra-low-cost electrical storage platform. Prior to Form, Ferrara was VP of Energy Analytics and Optimization at IHI Inc., where he led the research and development of electrical storage optimal configuration and control software. Ferrara started his career in energy storage at 24M Technologies, where he created the industry-leading software ESWare™, which was subsequently acquired by IHI. An engineer by training and entrepreneurial thinker, Ferrara has been involved in the development and commercialization of innovative hardware and software technologies in several energy ventures.
Early in his career, Ferrara was a lead developer of the portfolio valuation software at Edison Mission Marketing and Trading. Ferrara holds a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from MIT and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of L’Aquila, in his native Italy.
Dr. Yet-Ming Chiang is Chief Scientist at Form Energy. His academic position is as Kyocera Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT, where he has been a faculty member since 1985. His research focuses on advanced materials and energy storage technology, in which he has published and patented extensively. Chiang is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, and a Fellow of the Electrochemical Society, the Materials Research Society, the American Ceramic Society, and the U.S. National Academy of Inventors. He has received The Economist’s Innovation Award (Energy and the Environment category), the Electrochemical Society’s Battery Division’s Battery Technology Award, the Materials Research Society’s Plenary Lecturership, the R&D 100 and R&D 100 Editor’s Choice Awards, and the American Ceramic Society’s Corporate Achievement, Ross Coffin Purdy, R.M. Fulrath, and F.H. Norton Awards. Prior to Form Energy, Chiang co-founded the companies Desktop Metal, 24M Technologies, A123 Systems, and American Superconductor Corp. He also serves on numerous government and academic advisory committees and study panels.
William Woodford is the CTO of Form Energy. His career has focused on developing robust low-cost energy storage systems based on electrochemical platforms, both in academic and start-up roles. Prior to Form Energy, Woodford was Director of Advanced R&D at 24M Technologies, where his team focused on low-cost automotive and grid storage Li-ion development. In 2018, he was recognized with Technology Review’s TR35 award, as one of the top 35 innovators under the age of 35.
Woodford earned a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Ted Wiley is President and COO at Form Energy. He began his career as a US Army Infantry officer before he went on to be co-founder and head of product at Aquion Energy, a startup focused on developing bulk energy storage for the grid. After Aquion, Wiley was President of McDonough Innovation, a consulting firm focused on implementing sustainability solutions for the circular economy based on the ideas of architect William McDonough.
Wiley holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and was recognized in 2013 by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader.
The venture-backed startup’s breakthrough energy storage solutions are surely the future. They wish for an electric system to be one hundred percent renewably powered.
And we do too.