Membrion, the Seattle startup that manufactures specialized membranes for treating wastewater, has added $3 million to an earlier Series A funding round.
The 5-year-old spinout from the University of Washington plans to double the size of its Seattle manufacturing facility and hire 10 more people.
Membrion’s ceramic desalinization membranes can be used to treat wastewater from toxic manufacturing processes, removing salt and heavy metals such as lead, mercury, arsenic and copper.
The membranes are produced using silica gel — like the stuff in those tiny packets at the bottom of a beef jerky pack or new box of shoes.
The company was founded by chemical engineering expert Greg Newbloom, who serves as CEO, and has been working for years on filtering technology for use in fuel cells and water desalination systems.
Newbloom said Membrion’s customers are U.S.-based, Fortune 100 companies in the microelectronics, automotive, food and beverage, and oil and gas sectors.
“While this may seem like a diverse group of applications, the common theme is that they consume an incredible amount of water and they’re facing increasing financial and social pressure to improve water stewardship,” Newbloom said.
He said Membrion‘s technology has been proven to economically treat harsh and complex wastewater streams.
“For example, we’re currently running a pilot project with a Fortune 50 semiconductor company in the Southwest who is trying to remove copper from their wastewater stream but the water is so harsh it will literally melt other membranes,” Newbloom said, adding that the customer spends a lot of time and money trucking wastewater off site.
Membrion previously raised $6 million in its oversubscribed Series A round which closed in March 2020. The startup has raised $10.5 million to date, plus $3 million in non-dilutive grants.
Last fall, in an effort to help combat the spread of COVID-19, Membrion worked on converting its technology to a spray form that could be applied to face masks.
“By the time we were ready to ramp up production, vaccine availability was increasing and infection rates were lowering,” Newbloom said. “Based on the cost and complexity, not to mention the deviance from our core market focus, we decided not to pursue the opportunity.”
Membrion currently employs 16 full-time employees. The company recently added Scott Heffner as chief revenue officer.