A Kansas City-area startup developing next-generation scalable lithium-ion battery storage systems for land, sea and air is being acquired by a global power management leader, the companies announced Monday.
Founded in 2013 by experienced energy storage entrepreneurs Jeff Kostos, president and CEO, and Dr. Joon Kim, CTO, Spear designs and manufactures safe, high performance energy storage systems (ESS) for clients with some of the world’s most demanding marine, industrial, and defense applications.
Financial terms of the transaction — through which Grandview-based Spear Power Systems will add its power and talent to Sensata Technologies — were not disclosed. The deal is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act and other customary closing conditions, according to Sensata.
Spear and Sensata expect to complete the transaction during the fourth quarter of 2021.
“This deal will mean increased resources so that our incredible team can expand our development, commercial, and operational activities at a pace to meet the rapidly growing need for clean energy solutions,” said Jeff Kostos, co-founder and CEO of Spear, in a press release. “We are very excited to play a meaningful role in contributing towards Sensata’s electrification strategy.”
More than 40 members of Spear’s team are expected to join Sensata, the company said. With headquarters in Attleboro, Massachusetts, Sensata already boasts more than 21,000 employees and operations in 12 countries.
Kansas City-based Evergy Ventures was an early investor in Spear, said Dennis Odell, a cleantech venture investor and vice president of Evergy Ventures, formerly known as GXP Investments.
“We’re really proud of the Spear team,” Odell told Startland News. “Evergy Ventures has partnered with Jeff and team since 2015 as they’ve grown their business and added international investors. In fact, Spear was the very first investment of Evergy Ventures, so they hold a very special place in our hearts.
“The announcement is a further testament to the great work that this exciting Kansas City-based company is doing.”
Other local investors include Demetree Investors and KCRise Fund, which closed out its KCRise Fund I portfolio with its investment in Spear.
After its initial backing in September 2019, KCRise Fund doubled down on Spear for a second investment in fall 2020, said Darcy Howe, founder and managing director of the fund.
“This was a growth company when we first invested, suitable for the 20th and final investment of a fund which was already three years in to a 10-year fund,” Howe said. “We bet that they would have a faster exit than others and our bet paid off!”
Since its inception in 2013, Spear had a goal of developing technically differentiated solutions in energy storage to address the growing demand in the niche e-mobility markets within which we operate, Kostos said, describing the startup’s cell-agnostic technology that includes proprietary battery management and monitoring for all lithium-ion chemistries from multiple battery suppliers offering high energy density, modular architecture, light weight, and extreme safety and reliability.
The acquisition advances Sensata’s electrification portfolio and strategy into new clean energy markets. Spear expands on Sensata’s acquisition of Lithium Balance in battery management systems and provides energy storage solutions for OEMs and system integrators in fast-growing end markets that offer significant growth opportunities, the company said.
“Spear Power Systems enables us to deliver more comprehensive energy storage solutions to help enable the electrification and replacement of combustion applications in support of OEM customers in diverse end-markets,” said Vineet Nargolwala, executive vice president of Sensing Solutions at Sensata Technologies. “These capabilities will be strong additions to our product portfolio and will help drive our electrification growth vector and accelerate our clean energy strategy.”
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