Modumetal Raises $1.5M-Plus from Alliance of Angels, Second Avenue, WRF Capital

5/29/09Follow @gthuang

Seattle-based Modumetal, an advanced materials startup, is closing a new round of equity funding worth between $1.5 million and $2 million, according to co-founder and CEO Christina Lomasney. The round includes existing Seattle-area investors Alliance of Angels and Second Avenue Partners, as well as new investor WRF Capital.

Modumetal “grows” what are called nanolaminated structures in vats using a patented process. These nanomaterials are essentially new kinds of metals that are stronger and lighter than steel. The original idea behind the company was to make better armor and structural components for the military and other applications, and the company has been supported in part by U.S. government grants. But Modumetal is now seizing some new opportunities, both short-term and long-term.

“Our vision has really expanded quite a lot,” Lomasney says. “This is turning out to be a much bigger market opportunity than we realized. This idea of creating a new dial for controlling material properties is really important to overcoming performance limitations in materials design.”

In particular, the new funding will be used to expand Modumetal’s effort in creating new kinds of coatings that resist corrosion in manufacturing lines, and withstand high temperatures in engines and turbines so they’ll run more efficiently. All while replacing toxic metals like chromium and cadmium, which are used in most anti-corrosion materials. It’s not the sexiest sounding application, but Lomasney says anti-corrosion and thermal barriers add up to a staggering $500 billion market. She says Modumetal’s first large-scale products will hit the market this year, targeted at aerospace manufacturers and the maritime industry, as well as transportation, military, and oil and gas sectors.

“This is a company that creates a brand new industry,” says Dan Rosen, chair of Alliance of Angels. “One of my co-investors said, ‘Am I wrong, or is this the biggest invention in metallurgy since the Bronze Age?’ You’re going to be able to create metals that have never existed before.”

Modumetal has grown (in a vat?) to 15 employees. I first reported on the company last summer, and will have more on its technology and strategy soon.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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