Battery makers are crucial to automakers transitioning to electric vehicles. Check out the 10-page pitch deck that persuaded Renault to back one startup’s $119 million round.

22 members of the staff of Verkor pose for a photo in an office.
  • Electric-vehicle battery maker Verkor has raised €100 million ($118.6 million) from Renault and EQT.
  • The company will use the fresh funds to open an R&D plant in France to develop sustainable cells.
  • Marketing boss Anna Teyssot said Verkor will raise over $1 billion to build its first factory.

A French startup that plans to build a battery factory to service some of the world’s biggest automotive brands has raised €100 million ($118.6 million).

Grenoble-based Verkor, which was founded a year ago, raised the funds in a round that was co-led by auto giant Renault and venture-capital firm EQT Ventures. The fresh funds will be used to open an research and development plant in France that will develop high-performance lithium-ion cells, a crucial element of electric vehicles.

Verkor is part of a raft of battery startups that have drawn huge funding in recent months. Governments across the world are pushing to end the reliance on internal-combustion engines in order to help meet their emissions targets.

Sweden’s Northvolt, which was founded by a former Tesla exec and counts Volkswagen among its backers, raised $2.75 billion last month. Elsewhere, the Estonian battery tech firm Skeleton Technologies raised €70.4 million. 

Investors are pouring capital into the industry as traditional car brands prepare to switch the bulk of their lineups to electric.

Verkor’s new funds come as Renault agreed to a memorandum of understanding with the startup.

As part of the agreement, the pair will develop and manufacture batteries for Renault’s electric cars as well as its premium Alpine models.

Anna Teyssot, Verkor’s chief marketing officer, said that while Verkor made a deal with Renault, the French automaker will not be its only client.

“We are also talking to other customers, and it is very clear we will serve other customers than Renault in the long term,” she told Insider.

“We’re talking to car manufactures but also more heavy-duty applications such as trucks and buses. These kinds of markets are also of interest.”

Verkor plans to open its first battery plant in 2024 with a capacity of around 16 gigawatt-hours, before eventually increasing that to over 50 GWh by 2030, which could be the equivalent of around 500,000 batteries a year.

While the French startup has just secured fresh funding, Teyssot said that much more will be needed in order to build the plant. Teyssot said the company will look to raise more than €1 billion before the construction of the plant in a mix of debt and equity.

Teyssot said the industry was a “no-brainer” for investors and that the markets’ strong growth has brought “huge appetite” from venture-capital firms.

“In my past career I was buying cells for automotive, so I visited something like 40 different plants across China, Korea, and Japan,” she said.

“I know the process extremely well, and it’s still very young. I mean it’s not an optimized space, there’s much room for improvement.”

In addition to Renault and EQT, the French government joined the Verkor round. The energy firm EIT InnoEnergy, the real-estate business Groupe IDEC, the automation company Schneider Electric, and the Paris-based IT firm Capgemini also participated.

Maroš Šefčovič, the EU Commission’s VP for interinstitutional relations and foresight, said Europe’s battery market has grown substantially.

“In three years, Europe has become a global hot spot for battery investment, showing that we can achieve open strategic autonomy in this key industrial sector,” he said.