New Startup CuspAI Announces $30M Seed Round To Transform Carbon Capture Materials Design

New Startup CuspAI Announces $30M Seed Round To Transform Materials Design - Carbon Herald

Carbon capture materials innovation is undergoing transformation as AI is accelerating the material design process. A new company has just emerged from stealth mode, announcing a $30 million seed round, to leverage AI in the rapid generation and evaluation of a vast number of novel structures to design new materials. 

The startup called CuspAI, based in Cambridge and Amsterdam, was founded by renowned professionals in the world of AI – Professor Max Welling, a former Distinguished Scientist and VP at Microsoft Research and Qualcomm and Dr. Chad Edwards – a chemist involved in deep-tech commercialization at Google and BASF. Geoffrey Hinton, known as the ‘Godfather of AI,’ will serve as a board advisor. 

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According to the startup, it develops a platform that functions as a search engine for materials, allowing users to request specific properties for new materials on demand. Ultimately, the technology allows for the rapid discovery of materials with precise functionalities. 

One area that the startup has prioritized is climate change. The technology can be used to request materials that selectively bind carbon dioxide under specified conditions, materials used in the direct air capture and carbon capture sectors. The materials that CuspAI technology could help generate vary substantially from such able to capture CO2 to sustainable fuels. The approach could support the industry in its goals of potentially getting costs down for removing CO2 from the air to around $100. 

“Imagine a search engine not just for existing materials, but for all potential molecules and materials that could be created. Our AI can generate and evaluate new materials on demand… Through careful process optimization and lab testing, we’re able to close the loop and ensure materials are synthesizable, stable and ultimately useful in production,” explained Professor Max Welling, Co-founder and Chief AI Officer at CuspAI.

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Cusp is also in partnership with Meta, which runs a project called OpenDAC, to advance direct air capture. Researchers from Meta will be working with Cusp’s team to accelerate the carbon removal space. Cusp plans to charge companies for access to its search engine for finding the materials they need. 

“CuspAI is taking an entirely new approach to integrating efficient evaluation stacks, optimization, and generative models to create high-quality, economically viable materials that would have previously taken decades to discover. At Lightspeed, we believe the CuspAI team is leading the way into a new era where finding solutions for societally critical global challenges could become as easy as searching the web and we’re proud to partner with them,” said Paul Murphy, Partner at one of CuspAI investors, Lightspeed Venture Partners.

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