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U Washington spinout Membrion raises $1.8M for molecule filter technology


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: September 12th, 2018

Membrion, a start-up out of the University of Washington that has developed a molecular filtering technology, announced a $1 million seed investment round, with funds coming from E8 and the E8 Fund; Bellingham Angel Investors; and individual angels. It has also received a $748,000 NSF grant.

Chemistry expert Greg Newbloom founded Membrion in 2015 based on research he did with his professor, Lilo Pozzo. Membrion has created a new way to filter molecules in various conditions and use cases. The technology involved using silica in self-assembling filters for molecules, like a tiny coffee filter. Possible applications include include energy storage, pharmaceutical purification, fuel cells, and reverse osmosis.

John Plaza, a renewable energy veteran who took over as Membrion CEO in June 2017, said the “ion exchange market” is worth $2.6 billion.

“The membranes used in this market are based on expensive polymers and legacy equipment,” he said. “We accomplish the same [membrane] separation but with dramatically lower costs and at the same performance.”

Membrion previously won the UW Business Plan Competition. Other investors include Amazon’s Catalyst program, the Murdock Charitable Trust, and the CalTech Rocket Fund.

Source: GeekWire

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