Zenogen clinches $435,000 in angel funding, appoints new chairman
Clean-tech start-up rethinks hydrogen production with backing from Sydney Angels and private investors
24 September 2013: Australian clean-tech start-up Zenogen has announced an additional $330,000 in funding from angel investment group Sydney Angels, increasing the company’s total investment capital from this round to $435,000. The new investment will be used to help Zenogen introduce their revolutionary technology to both local and international markets.
Zenogen has pioneered a potentially industry-changing technology that aims to disrupt the world’s energy markets by making zero-emissions hydrogen production economically viable. As an alternative to the expensive precious metals that are currently used and consumed during gas production processes, Zenogen has developed an electrocatalyst to improve the efficiency of hydrogen and other gas production.
The new investors include Sydney Angels members Donald Bunnell (Co-Founder of Synthesis Energy Systems, Inc. and former Asia Business Development Vice President for BHP Billiton’s aluminium group), Adrian Bunter (Executive Director at Venture Advisory) and Andrew Stead (Director, New Ventures at NICTA). The Sydney Angels Sidecar Fund also contributed funds.
They join existing investor Ignition Labs, Australia’s first clean technology accelerator. Ignition Labs is run by ATP Innovations, whose four parent companies are the University of Sydney, Australian National University, University of Technology Sydney and the University of New South Wales.
Investor Donald Bunnell said that Zenogen’s new carbon-based technology stands to save electrolysis-based hydrogen producers billions of dollars lost each year through much greater energy efficiency and lower material costs.
“Zenogen is definitely an industry changer – both in the chlorine space and in the hydrogen space. You’re talking about significantly cheaper materials and greater efficiencies. I think Zenogen can develop win-win partnerships that will build value for both the company and its partners; making Zenogen a very valuable company,” he said.
Mr Bunnell has a thorough understanding of the energy industry and a proven record in helping start-ups to achieve scale and success. He will guide Zenogen through the company’s expansion plans and will also help provide access to further capital funds. In addition to the investment, Mr Bunnell has also been appointed as a Director and Chairman of Zenogen.
Zenogen Founder and CEO Daniel Zafir said that working with Sydney Angels allows start-ups to find more than just early stage funding, which is vital for building a platform for growth.
“There are people who come to you with just money, and that’s the most that they can give you. It doesn’t really get your business any further. It’s great to have an investor like Donald on board, with a depth of understanding in the clean-tech space and the ability to raise capital,” he said.
Sydney Angels Committee Member Richard Dale, said that Zenogen’s success in securing angel funding shows that Australian investors continue to be interested in ideas that reach beyond web- and app-based technology.
“Zenogen had an overwhelming response from Sydney Angels members, and the fact that so many investors wanted to back a clean-tech start-up is a great sign for Australian entrepreneurs. Zenogen combines innovative technology with a strong management team, and this investment demonstrates the appetite for new and different types of industry disrupting innovation.”
About Zenogen: Zenogen is a clean-tech start-up company that has developed graphite electrodes for water electrolysis: the only commercially viable zero-emissions method of producing industrial gases such as hydrogen. Until now, this process has required prohibitively expensive metal catalysts, such as Platinum, in order to attain a production efficiency that is economically viable. Zenogen has a proprietary manufacturing method for graphite that allows it to replace these expensive catalysts at a fraction of the cost whilst simultaneously improving electrical efficiency, with significant savings in energy consumption.
Zenogen’s graphite electrodes have been demonstrated as a fully functional proof of concept and the technology is now ready for implementation in small-scale industrial electrolysis applications.
About Sydney Angels: Sydney Angels is an angel group whose members invest in innovative early-stage companies with high growth potential. Sydney Angels provides its members with quality deal flow, a collaborative investment process, and an opportunity to support entrepreneurs and the early-stage ecosystem. Sydney Angels offers entrepreneurs an efficient path to capital, expertise and experience from its members, who are backed by the $10 million Sydney Angels Sidecar Fund