KoBold Metals, a Berkeley, Calif.-based mining company that uses artificial intelligence to mine rare metals, closed a funding round that crowns it as a $1 billion AI “unicorn.” dollars and appeals to some of the biggest investors in the world. world.
The $200 million round, reported in the the wall street journalincluded funds from Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a Bill Gates-backed venture capital firm that invests in clean energy companies on behalf of the likes of Jeff Bezos and Jack Ma.
Other investors included hugely influential venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and Bond Capital, co-founded by Mary Meeker, a longtime venture capital firm known for spotting big trends early and whose annual Internet Trends Report is one of the most anticipated reports for technology investors.
This increase brings KoBold’s valuation to over $1 billion. The company’s latest funding round raised $192.5 million in February 2022. Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Bond were both part of this previous round.
KoBold, founded in 2018, uses machine learning to search for deposits of metals critical to building batteries for electric vehicles, specifically lithium, nickel, cobalt and copper.
The company has more than 60 projects on three continents, in which it currently invests $100 million per year. It also has a large research and development budget to use AI to model the earth’s subsoil and explore depths beyond the reach of conventional techniques.
“Our proprietary AI tools leverage a concept we call Effectiveness of Information (EOI), allow KoBold to determine what data to collect at each stage of exploration to maximize uncertainty reduction. “, said the company on its website.
It could take longer to hit the metals, but the drilling will be precision-focused, the company says. A recent purchase of a copper deposit in Zambiafor example, should take eight years to produce results.
Demand for these four metals is on the rise. By 2050, KoBold predicts there will be a $12 trillion supply gap between supply and demand.