A Few Tidbits On Khosla-Backed Battery Startup Sakti3

We’ve heard very little about the early-stage vehicle battery startup Sakti3, only that the company had been backed by Vinod Khosa’s firm Khosla Ventures. The Detroit Free Press has an interesting article this week that reveals a few significant details about the tiny Ann Arbor, Mich.-based company.

First off, the article says Sakti3 is working on advanced lithium-ion battery technology for electric vehicles, and that the battery will be more advanced than either A123 Systems or LG Chem’s Compact Power, which are both working with GM on their electric vehicle the Volt. (We’re thinking that the notion that Sakti3’s tech is more advanced than those competitors is Sakti3’s claim, not an independent study done by the reporter). But the fact that the company is working on lithium-ion battery tech is interesting, as Khosla Ventures has often described the company as “a thin-film battery developer.”

The article also looks into the company’s young history. The technology is the brain child of University of Michigan professor of mechanical, biomedical and materials science, Ann Marie Sastry. She founded Sakti3 last year based on research she and students had done at University of Michigan. The company has fewer than 10 employees, raised $2 million from Khosla and $3 million from the Michigan Economic Development Corp., and received $2.4 million in tax credits over 10 years from the state, too.

Sakti3 is one of only a couple battery bets from Khosla Ventures, which took a very large and early chance on biofuels. Beyond Sakti3, Khosa has invested in: Firefly Energy, which makes longer lasting and more efficient lead-acid batteries and was spun out of the R&D labs of Caterpillar in 2003; and Seeo, which Khosla Ventures describes as a lithium metal battery with energy density and cyclability.