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ClimateTech startup tozero raises €3.5m in funding as the first European startup to recycle lithium-ion batteries

  • Pre-seed round led by Atlantic Labs 

  • Verve Ventures, Possible Ventures, renowned business angels, serial founders and a former VW board member joined the round

  • tozero introduces a novel process to recover critical materials such as lithium, nickel and cobalt from lithium-ion batteries 

Last Update: 07.09.2022


Munich, 07.09.2022,  ClimateTech startup tozero has raised € 3.5m in a Pre-Seed financing round led by Atlantic Labs. Verve Ventures, Possible Ventures, renowned business angels and serial founders joined the round, for example former VW board member Jochem Heizmann,  as well as co-founders of Personio and FINN, among others. tozero introduces a novel process to recover critical materials such as lithium, nickel and cobalt from lithium-ion batteries (LiB). With the fresh funding, tozero will build their prototype plant in Munich, Germany - where one-third of Europe’s lithium-ion batteries are planned to be produced by 2030.


Sarah Fleischer and Dr. Ksenija Milicevic Neumann, tozero’s co-founders, are on a mission to build Europe’s leading lithium-ion battery recycling company with the support and technical advisory of Prof. Bernd Friedrich, the pioneer in battery recycling research at IME, RWTH Aachen University. 


Lithium ion batteries are crucial to enable our decarbonization efforts and will be used to electrify mobility vehicles, machines, drones, or power banks. However, Europe’s ambition for electrification and increasing the LiB production results in a shocking high dependence on mining countries not only resulting in supply chain constraints, but also in real geopolitical and ESG tension for Europe. 


“We need to act now and build a scalable and robust battery recycling process. At tozero, we’re committed to challenge the status quo of material life-cycle to accelerate decarbonization. This will allow us to enter the electrification era without worries, continue innovation and increase quality of life without compromising”, said Sarah Fleischer, Co-Founder and CEO. “We’re happy to have won such renowned investors and Prof. Bernd Friedrich as our advisor to back our mission.” 


tozero aims to close the loop of lithium-ion batteries and bring toxic waste to zero returning the raw materials such as lithium, cobalt, nickel etc. back into the market. These materials will be provided as fresh battery-grade materials to battery producers and herewith decrease the environmental footprint and strengthen the geopolitical position of Europe. 


“Introducing a novel and sustainable way to recycle black mass from lithium-ion batteries is a game changer in the industry, allowing for significantly higher recovery rates of key metals than with currently used methods”, said Daniel Niemi, Principal at Atlantic Labs. “Sarah and Ksenija are a fantastic founding team with symbiotic skill sets, deep domain expertise and an ambition to build a lasting venture. We are thrilled to partner with them on this mission.”


“Recovering all raw materials from lithium-ion batteries through recycling is a must from an economic and ecological point of view, but it is not yet state of the art” said  Prof. Jochem Heizmann, a former member of the board of Volkswagen. “Besides the importance of this task, the competence of the tozero founding team convinced me to invest” 


About tozero

tozero was founded in July 2022 in Munich, Germany, by Sarah Fleischer and Dr. Ksenija Milicevic Neumann. They are on a mission to build a scalable lithium-ion battery recycling machine to recover the critical materials inside, like lithium, nickel, cobalt, and graphite in a sustainable way.

About Atlantic Labs 

Atlantic Labs is a leading European pre-seed fund, headquartered in Berlin. Founded by Christophe F. Maire, Atlantic Labs has acted as lead-investor in 100+ early-stage companies since 2013. Building on its team of experienced venture developers and industry network, Atlantic Labs helps companies succeed and find strong international follow-on investors. Atlantic Labs has developed a thesis-driven investment approach with focus areas including digital health, future of work, mobility, industrial automation, artificial intelligence, Fintech & Proptech. Atlantic Labs has been an early investor in some of the most seminal fast-growing German tech companies including SoundCloud, GetYourGuide, Omio, Zenjob, Choco, Wandelbots.

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