Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS), an MIT spinoff focused on commercializing fusion energy, announced this morning it has raised $84 million in the second tranche of a Series A round.
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Temasek led the new financing, which brings the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company’s total funding to $200 million since its 2018 inception. The company’s first tranche of the series A, a $115 million round, closed last June – it’s worth noting that both tranches are unusually large sums for a Series A round.
New investors Equinor and Devonshire Investors also participated in the A2 round as well as current backers Breakthrough Energy Ventures, The Engine, ENI Next LLC, Future Ventures, Hostplus, Khosla Ventures, Moore Strategic Ventures, Safar Partners LLC, Schooner Capital, Starlight Ventures and others.
The company declined to disclose at which valuation this money was raised.
Now I won’t sit here and pretend to understand exactly what CFS does. I did look up fusion energy and according to the Department of Energy, it is basically “the energy source of the sun and stars.” Plus, scientists seem to think it has “the potential to provide virtually limitless carbon-free electricity.”
I can also tell you what CFS says it does. And that includes working on developing high-temperature superconducting (HTS) magnets and designing and building “the world’s first net-energy-gain fusion system,” called SPARC.
Both projects are on schedule and below budget, and are aimed at helping solve climate change, according to the company.
CFS currently has 55 employees, up from 25 employees last June at the time of its last raise. It notes that it is “actively hiring many new roles right now.”
CFS plans to use its new capital to continue to grow its capabilities to offer fusion power plants, fusion engineering services, and HTS magnets. It will also continue to build out SPARC, its new headquarters and its manufacturing facilities. The startup also plans to focus on business development around its HTS magnets, which it says are a key component to SPARC but also have various other commercial uses.
In a statement, Equnior’s CTO Sophie Hildebrand noted that CFS offers “promising and potentially game-changing zero-carbon energy technologies.”
Meanwhile, Future Ventures Founder Steve Jurvetson describes fusion energy as “an investment in our future that offers an important path toward combating climate change.”
MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center is collaborating with CFS to design and build its SPARC system. This includes the development of the HTS magnets which CFS says will allow it to build “significantly smaller and lower-cost fusion power plants.”
Illustration: Dom Guzman