Climate tech firm Turntide hits 'unicorn' status after $80 mln funding

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A Proterra Catalyst BE35 electric bus and CNG (compressed natural gas) buses are seen at an L.A. City Transportation Department (LADOT) DASH transit bus maintenance facility in downtown Los Angeles, California, U.S., August 21, 2021. REUTERS/Bing Guan/File Photo

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  • New investors include OGCI Climate Investments
  • SDCL Energy Efficiency Income Trust also joins
  • Fifth Wall among those to invest more

LONDON, June 15 (Reuters) - U.S.-based Turntide Technologies, which aims to help energy-intensive industries cut carbon emissions, has hit "unicorn" status after its latest $80 million funding round, its chief executive told Reuters.

New investors in the company, now valued at more than $1 billion, which is how "unicorns" are defined, include OGCI Climate Investments and British investor SDCL Energy Efficiency Income Trust. Existing investors Fifth Wall and Meson Capital's Captain Planet LP fund also took part, taking Turntide's total equity funding to $485 million.

As the world looks to abandon fossil fuels to fight climate change, a shift to electric power raises demand for the environmentally damaging rare earth metals used in motors relying on magnets.

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Turntide's solution is a magnet-free motor that requires no rare earths, making it cheaper and cleaner to produce.

"Electric motors consume half the electricity in the entire world," Ryan Morris, Chairman and CEO of Turntide, said. "The world needs more efficient motors."

The company is targeting sales to those operating in the built environment, agriculture and transport sectors and said it would use the money to expand its U.S. manufacturing and help develop its technologies.

While dwarfed by industry heavyweights such as Siemens (SIEGn.DE) , Turntide already owns more than 150 patents for its technology and sought partnerships with strategic investors who can help the company gain scale more quickly.

Other existing investors include the Amazon Climate Pledge Fund, JLL and BMW i Ventures. Customers include Hitachi Rail and JCB.

The market for electric motors and their controllers is now worth around $200 billion a year, Morris said, and will keep growing as companies across many sectors aim to reach net-zero emissions.

"Turntide’s solutions are driving down energy consumption and costs for hundreds of businesses around the world, and we’re excited to partner with them to accelerate their expansion," Marc Van Den Berg, Managing Director, Ventures at OGCI CI, said in a statement.

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Reporting by Simon Jessop Editing by Tomasz Janowski

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