Growing demand from the oil and gas sector has spurred Modumetal to seek investors to expand its manufacturing capabilities.
Modumetal is a leading developer and manufacturer of a new class of nanolaminated metals and materials used for corrosion resistant tubulars and other products. The company announced Aug. 25 that it has closed an expansion round of investment led by Founders Fund and a group of Fortune 500 customers. The funding will be used to build out the company’s manufacturing capability to support the growing demand by the oil and gas sector — the first market to adopt the technology — for its cost-competitive, ultra-high performance nanolaminated metals.
“Breakthroughs in metallurgy have heralded great advances in the history of our civilization. From the Stone Age to the Iron Age, Bronze Age and then steel and aluminum, bringing us into the industrialized age,” said Aaron VanDevender, chief scientist at Founders Fund and a Modumetal board member. “Modumetal is the next evolution in metal alloys, disrupting a long stagnant industry and enabling a host of new applications.”
Using nano-layering technology, Modumetal is able to produce a new class of metals and materials that is stronger and lighter, more corrosion resistant and durable than conventional steels and alloys. The company’s manufacturing process of nanolaminated metals — think metallic plywood with really thin layers — is also a breakthrough, able to deliver materials at a cost that is competitive with conventional alloys.
“This financing underscores the potential of Modumetal’s patented technology to disrupt a multi-trillion dollar industry,” said Christina Lomasney, cofounder, CEO and president of Modumetal. “We are ushering in an entirely new way to manufacture metals and materials, which can be applied across multiple industries from automotive and construction to aerospace and energy.
“We’re at the dawn of the next age of metals,” added Lomasney, “and along with the support of our investors, partners and customers, we’re transforming the way metal is engineered to dramatically improve its performance characteristics at a scale and cost that is competitive with traditional methods.”
In addition to the San Francisco-based firm Founders Fund, Fortune 500 investors include Chevron Technology Ventures, BP Ventures and ConocoPhillips.
The oil and gas sector, where companies frequently operate in highly corrosive and punishing environments, is the first major market opportunity for Modumetal’s patented class of nanolaminated materials. Today, oil and gas customers have already deployed full-scale trials of Modumetal parts and materials, such as nanolaminated fasteners, pumps, valves and production tubulars, across production fields globally to reduce corrosion and to improve their return on assets.
NACE International, the worldwide corrosion authority, estimates that the United States spends more than 3 percent of GDP to combat the problem of corrosion.
“The cost of corrosion is a $2.2 trillion problem worldwide,” said Lomasney, “and Modumetal will continue to gain momentum in the oil and gas sector, as well as other markets, as our nanolayered materials greatly reduce corrosion-induced failures and improve return on assets. Our technology is a deployable and cost-competitive alternative to traditional metals that extends longevity and enhances performance and safety in aggressive operating environments.”
Unlike traditional metals and steels, which are heat and energy intensive to produce, Modumetal is able to “grow” metal using an electrochemical process that operates at or near room temperature. This approach allows Modumetal to form resilient, high-performance metal coatings and parts additively, minimizing waste throughout the production process.
Additional investors include Sunshine Tech Ltd., Steve Singh, Catamount Ventures, Second Avenue Partners, Goldenseeds and members of the Alliance of Angels. Hercules Technology Growth Capital Inc., the leading specialty venture debt financing company, also participated as a debt partner and equity investor.