Here's What's New:
- The Challenge of Building Better Batteries, our latest Foundations & Frontiers essay on how batteries are the key to our energy future and why incremental progress with existing battery technology may not be enough.
- Over at Contrary Research, following up on last week's essay on The Promise of Fusion is a recently-published memo on industry pioneer Helion Energy along with new reports on Mutiny, Merge, Sorare, and KoBold Metals.
Foundations & Frontiers
Batteries are some of the most overlooked technologies. Today, they’re hidden behind the screens or user interfaces of the machines they power which obscure the essential role they played in electrifying human civilization.
In fact, we had batteries before we even knew what electricity was. Since the early 1800s, when the first battery was invented, the ability to store more power for longer has transformed our world. The improvement of batteries made things like smartphones and laptops (not to mention electric vehicles) possible where they wouldn’t have been otherwise.
Fully electrifying our infrastructure through renewable sources is one of the proposed solutions to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. Unfortunately, in these debates, the role of batteries is often glossed over entirely. The reality is that better battery technology might ultimately become the main bottleneck in achieving sustainable and abundant energy, which is why efforts to study them and eliminate their current limitations are so important.
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Contrary Research publishes thoughtful analysis of the best private technology companies. Here are the latest reports published this week:
Helion Energy: Though fusion is not yet viable at scale, there have been significant breakthroughs in recent years, culminating in the first demonstration of quantifiable energy production from a fusion reactor by a lab in California in December 2022. Achieving commercial viability is the next challenge for fusion technology. Helion Energy, a Washington-based fusion research company that aims to be the “first to fusion,” is among the companies leading the charge Read the full report here.
Mutiny: As a website visitor’s attention span decreases and the availability of alternatives increases, personalization becomes essential to raising awareness, increasing conversion, and growing revenue. Mutiny is an AI web conversion platform that enables companies to dynamically customize the website’s copy, visuals, and call-to-actions to match the visitor’s profile to increase the product’s appeal. Read the full report here.
Merge: There’s an increasing expectation for software vendors to have an ecosystem of integrations to streamline workflows. The largest SaaS platforms, like Salesforce and Shopify, have ecosystems with 2K+ integrations. Merge has built a Unified API that allows software companies to build and maintain key integrations with dozens of HR, CRM, and ATS systems in weeks instead of months, allowing them to build a more user-friendly product while saving time across engineering, sales, partnerships, and customer success teams. Read the full report here.
Sorare: There were 62.5 million fantasy sports players in the US and Canada as of 2022 — up almost 100% from the 32 million fantasy players in 2010. Fantasy sports also have significant room for international growth in markets like India, where only 20 million people played fantasy sports in 2021 and could reach as high as 150 million by 2024. French startup Sorare combines aspects of fantasy sports, trading cards, and a play-to-earn business model. Read the full report here.
KoBold Metals: The demand for electric batteries is soaring as the world increasingly shifts towards electric vehicles. Increasing demand for batteries means greater demand for metals like lithium, nickel, and cobalt, which are critical for battery manufacturing. KoBold Metals is building a full-stack digital prospecting engine using computer vision, machine learning, and data analysis to find materials critical for electric vehicles and the renewable energy revolution. Read the full report here.