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Battery analysis startup Fova Energy secures new war chest

AI-based data analysis tech aims to cash in on industry growth

Fova Energy develops management systems, with an eye to recycling batteries as EV market grows. (Photo courtesy of Tuchong.com)

BEIJING -- Fova Energy, a Chinese developer of a data analysis system that assesses the condition of batteries, has raised several million dollars in an angel-plus funding round led by Shunwei Capital.

It is the second time in several months that Fova Energy has secured a war chest. The company raised about $1 million in an angel funding round led by ZhenFund in December last year.

Founded in 2020, Fova Energy operates a platform that uses artificial intelligence to analyze life cycle data of batteries used in electric vehicles and power storage and manage safety risks. 

Although the battery industry has grown dramatically in recent years, it faces pronounced challenges, including product safety risks, long development periods and high costs. Fova Energy's platform was created to resolve those challenges.

According to Miao Shi, the startup's CEO, it is necessary to test batteries in their development and production stages. "The use of Fova Energy's platform makes it possible to accurately predict the life of a battery, even based on only a small volume of data, thereby shortening the development period," Miao said. "The use of the company's platform can also detect batteries with problems in the production stage before they are shipped."

Even after the products are shipped, the company improves their safety by collecting data on the batteries when they are in use, and understanding the medium- and long-term condition of each cell, Miao said.

Tools to ascertain the condition of batteries have been in use for a long time. But conventional parameters such as electrical voltage, current and temperature are not very helpful in determining a battery's condition. However, batteries are used in complex environments and abnormalities may occur even if such measurements are normal. Conventional data alone is not enough to fully determine such risks. In contrast, Fova Energy's platform uses AI to make comprehensive judgments of each value, and can identify abnormalities more quickly and accurately. 

Another strength of Fova Energy's AI-based data analysis platform is that it can operate regardless of the environment in which the battery is used.

With AI, the system can be used immediately, with only minor adjustments, and can respond quickly to customer needs. 

These features allow Fova Energy's platform to be used not only in laboratories but also in the manufacturing and practical situations.

In the case of EV batteries, Fova Energy collects data every 10 seconds and collects all mileage data from the time the battery is shipped until it is collected.

The company's technology is highly acclaimed and is already being used by well-known companies in the EV and power storage industries. The fee will be either an annual charge for SaaS (Software as a Service), which provides services via the cloud, or a fee based on the number of uses or the number of facilities the service is used at. 

Referring to Fova Energy's plans for next year, Miao said the company will continue to improve its platform in cooperation with customers who introduced the first version of the platform. Specifically, it will increase the platform's functions and make it available in more places, Miao said.

Fova Energy is now also conducting an internal test of a general-purpose platform. The company plans to announce the new platform around the middle of the year with a major promotion in the second half of 2021.

According to research specialist Fior Markets, the market for EV batteries is projected to grow to $953 billion by 2030, while the market for power storage batteries is forecast to expand to $30 billion by that year.

New battery analysis and management startups have popped up to cash in on these potentially huge markets, including Twaice, Voltaiq and Qnovo as well as Fova Energy.

Fova Energy, whose key scientist is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, appears to be one step ahead of its rivals, thanks to its technical prowess.

36Kr, a Chinese tech news portal founded in Beijing in 2010, has more than 150 million readers worldwide. Nikkei announced a partnership with 36Kr on May 22, 2019.

For the Japanese version of this story, click here.

For the Chinese version, click here.

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