Orbital Materials Announces Series A Financing

AI materials pioneer Orbital Materials secures $16M Series A led by Radical Ventures

Led by ex-DeepMind researchers, Orbital Materials is using generative AI to develop a pipeline of new materials for carbon removal and energy transition.

London, 21st Feb, 2024 – Orbital Materials, a London, UK and New Jersey, USA based company that uses AI to develop advanced materials, today announces the closing of a $16m Series A financing led by Radical Ventures, with participation from Toyota Ventures and returning Seed leads Fly Ventures and Compound. Founded less than 18 months ago, Orbital Materials has raised nearly $21 million, enabling the company to expand its machine learning and wet lab teams. This funding propels Orbital Material’s research and development efforts into groundbreaking materials that will ultimately help industry make the transition to carbon-neutral energy.

At the heart of Orbital Materials' pioneering approach lies "LINUS," an AI foundation model tailored for materials science. LINUS serves as the backbone of the company's research laboratory in New Jersey, where it drives the development of a robust pipeline of materials and chemical technologies crucial for facilitating the energy transition.

Traditional methods of discovering new materials have long relied on time-consuming trial and error processes in the lab, often resulting in years of experimentation before success is achieved. Orbital Materials is revolutionizing this approach by leveraging the power of generative AI to accelerate the material discovery process. By harnessing LINUS, the company captures the complexity of materials science, facilitating rapid advancements akin to the transformative impact that DeepMind's AlphaFold has had on protein research.

Orbital Materials is composed of world-class machine learning and chemistry with experts from companies such as Allen Institute for AI, Mosaic Materials, BASF, and Zeochem. The team is led by CEO and co-founder Jonathan Godwin, formerly a lead in AI for materials science at DeepMind.

“The progress over the past few years in AI for materials has been breathtaking, as Orbital Materials started taking the principles from models like AlphaFold, ChatGPT & Stable Diffusion and adapting them for our use,” said Jonathan Godwin. “Breakthroughs that would once require decades of research are now happening in a matter of months. It’s this trajectory, and the urgency of the need for better advanced materials for our most pressing problems, that led me and the rest of the team to start Orbital Materials.”

Orbital Materials now has an active pipeline of new materials under development within green chemical processes and the circular economy. The first of these is a carbon removal technology designed to significantly reduce the price of capturing carbon. More details about Orbital Materials’ carbon removal product, and its broader pipeline, will be announced over the course of 2024.

As part of this development program, Orbital Materials is also excited to announce today that Dr. Thomas McDonald, founder of Mosaic Materials and one of the leading scientists in carbon capture materials, has joined Orbital Materials as Chief Scientific Officer.

“I’m inspired by Orbital Material’s enormous potential to develop solutions for this generation’s great challenge: climate change,” said Dr. McDonald. “Materials innovation will be critical towards driving rapid decarbonization. At Orbital, we have the unique potential to accelerate the pace of innovation, drawing upon our interdisciplinary team of chemists, engineers, and AI researchers. By harnessing our capabilities across AI and materials experimentation, we have the opportunity to accelerate progress at every step from lab to commercial deployment”.

In addition to Radical Ventures and Toyota Ventures, Orbital Materials' Series A financing round drew support from a select group of leading investors. These include existing and new investors Fly Ventures, Compound, Character Ventures, Flying Fish Ventures and Incite Ventures.

“Orbital Materials is leading the field operating at the intersection of artificial intelligence and chemistry,” said Aaron Rosenberg, Partner at Radical Ventures. “With their distinguished and multidisciplinary team, state-of-the-art technology, and unparalleled ambition, Orbital will no doubt play a pivotal role in transforming the future of sustainable energy and demonstrate the power of this technology to drive positive change on a global scale.”

“Orbital Materials’ 3D foundation model is unlocking one of the holy grails of materials science – the ability to quickly and rationally design materials with specific properties and characteristics, without having to screen a massive search space,” said Chris Abshire, principal, Toyota Ventures Frontier Fund. “We were drawn to the team’s world-class backgrounds in AI and computational chemistry, and are excited about their first applications within clean air, water, and energy.”