Battery Company Backed by Bill Gates Files For Bankruptcy Protection

Ambri Inc., a company that has been striving to revolutionize the energy storage industry with its innovative “liquid metal” battery technology, has recently filed for bankruptcy protection after exhausting its financial resources.

The move comes after 14 years of research and development, during which the company garnered support from high-profile investors such as firms linked to Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson.

Founded in 2010 by Dr. Donald Sadoway and Dr. David Bradwell, who developed the groundbreaking technology while at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ambri had raised an impressive $150 million from equity investors and secured an additional $42 million through the issuance of notes.

As Nora Murphy, Ambri’s chief financial officer, stated in a court filing, the company’s financial woes stemmed from its inability to secure sufficient funding to complete the construction of its battery factory in Milford, Massachusetts.

The loss of a key anchor investor, who had initially committed to supporting the project, dealt a significant blow to Ambri’s plans, forcing the company to curtail its spending. As the situation deteriorated, the building contractor and landlord began demanding payment, further exacerbating the company’s financial troubles.

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Despite the setbacks, Ambri remains committed to maximizing the value of its assets for its stakeholders.

The company intends to hold an auction for its 103 patents and other battery venture-related assets while under court protection.

The noteholders, including Gates Frontier and Paulson Partners, have agreed to provide an additional $9.5 million loan to fund the Chapter 11 proceedings and have put forth an initial bid of $38 million, using the debt owed to them in lieu of cash.

If no higher bids are received by June 20, the noteholders will assume control of Ambri by canceling the debt. However, the proposed loan and auction are subject to the approval of US Bankruptcy Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein, who is presiding over the case in Wilmington, Delaware.

Prior to its financial difficulties, Ambri had successfully completed several test projects, including one with Microsoft, and was poised to begin marketing its large battery packs to utilities and other industrial users for large-scale electricity storage.

The company’s founders believed that their technology would offer a more cost-effective and efficient alternative to traditional lithium-ion batteries.

As Ambri navigates the bankruptcy process, the fate of its pioneering “liquid metal” battery technology remains uncertain.

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The company’s story serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by innovative startups in the highly competitive and capital-intensive energy storage sector, where even the backing of prominent investors does not guarantee success.