Six-figure investment to scale-up tech start-up

Steve Dunn, Richard Bruges, Jim Gilroy, Liam Burlace, Tim Naughton, Jonathan Grylls

An engineering tech start-up based in Birmingham has received a £1m initial investment from SQM Lithium Ventures to fund the next stage of its growth.

In return, SQM Lithium Ventures will take ownership of a minority stake in Salinity Solutions with the option to acquire additional equity in the future.

Salinity Solutions has developed HyBatchä, which is a batch reverse osmosis water treatment technology, to reduce the environmental impact of water treatment.

SQM Lithium Ventures is the corporate venture capital arm of the lithium business of Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (SQM), one of the world’s leading producers of battery-grade lithium chemicals.

The start-up is now the latest company to join the SQM portfolio alongside companies like Altilium Clean Technology and Electric Era and fits with SQM’s goal to improve and reduce its environmental impact as part of its sustainability goals.

Angeles Romo, director of SQM Lithium Ventures, said: “SQM Lithium Ventures is investing in Salinity Solutions in hopes that the company, through its revolutionary technology, will be capable of scaling and making an impact across different industries and geographies. This marks our first investment in water, one of our core focus areas for investment along with lithium and electromobility. At SQM Lithium Ventures, we are always seeking to fund projects in cleantech, specifically water, to accelerate start-ups like this one. In doing this, we seek not only to scale the business but also make an impact on the quality of life of multiple communities.”

Salinity Solutions’ co-founder and CTO, Tim Naughton, said: “We are delighted to have SQM as a partner as we commercialize our world-leading technology. Global water demand is set to double over the next five years. Water treatment consumes 4% of the world’s total electricity production and conventional reverse osmosis systems are energy intensive. Working with SQM, we can bring significant energy and water savings to the mining sector and many other industries, in Chile and around the world.”