Innovation in action
Based in NSW’s Hunter Region,
is an Australian-grown high-tech business, with more than 15 years’
experience in developing electric vehicle (EV) systems and safe,
high-performance lithium-ion batteries.
3ME Technology leads the way in electrifying heavy-duty vehicles and
machines operating in mission critical environments. The company’s success
lies in its ability to overcome possibly the greatest technological and
safety challenge in electrification — preventing thermal runaway, which is
a significant fire risk in batteries. 3ME Technology developed a cell-level
battery management system, where individual cells can be monitored,
predictive analysis completed in real time and a battery shut down remotely
if a cell is not performing as expected.
This pioneering technology is being applied across the mining, defence and
aerospace sectors. In a world first, 3ME Technology’s BLADEVOLT® battery
system has been retrofitted into a typically diesel-powered 20-tonne loader
— the workhorse of underground, hard rock mines. This Australian-made
capability is now extending into the electrification of defence vehicles,
supporting the upgrade of Australia’s sovereign defence land capabilities.
3ME Technology is also working with partners to launch its battery systems
Although there’s a saying “space is the final frontier”, this feels more
like the beginning for 3ME Technology.
In 2021, 3ME Technology was ranked the most innovative company for
agriculture, mining and utilities in Australasia by
AFR BOSS Most Innovative Companies
“We’re at the forefront of an emerging Australian industry,” says 3ME
Technology CEO Justin Bain. “There’s a big opportunity to scale up
production because we’re solving safety and environmental problems that
apply across a range of industries, not just mining. But we face the same
challenge as most SMEs — getting access to capital to help us grow, while
retaining control and staying focused on our technology vision.”
The ABGF partnership
Established in 2020 by the Australian Government in partnership with
leading banks, the fund provides patient growth capital to Australian SMEs,
filling a gap in the market between late-stage venture capital and larger
buyout funds. The ultimate vision of ABGF is to drive economic growth for
Australia, and more jobs for Australians.
ABGF’s inaugural investment of $15million in 3ME Technology is enabling the
company to expand its production facilities, invest in research and
development, and market into new sectors. This will help accelerate
Australia’s domestic battery manufacturing, and the investment is expected
to triple 3ME Technology’s business capability over the next five (5)
years, resulting in significant job creation in the NSW Hunter region.
ABGF CEO Anthony Healy explains: “ABGF is purpose-built for SME businesses.
We offer patient, long-term (that is, up to 10 years) capital with
realistic growth expectations and timeframes for exit set together with the
businesses we invest in. We only take a minority share, so Australian small
business owners like Justin and his team retain control. And we offer more
than just capital; we are an active investor that provides ongoing
strategic support and access to our network of international experts. Our
position is to act as a catalyst for growth.”
ABGF is founded on a model established more than 10 years ago in the UK, to
drive recovery and long-term growth as that economy emerged from the Global
Financial Crisis. Since then, the UK Business Growth Fund (BGF) has
invested £2.7 billion ($5.11 billion) in more than 400 companies.
Today, all eyes are on the Australian economy and how it will recover from
the pandemic. And with SMEs accounting for 57 per cent of historical job
growth, backing local businesses to thrive has never been more important.
Patrick Verlaine, co-head of investments at ABGF, reflects on the 3ME
Technology investment to date: “3ME Technology has developed world-leading
battery technology that will be instrumental in enabling heavy industries
to decarbonise without compromising safety. The technology can be used very
broadly across both static and vehicle applications, and will immediately
benefit crucial Australian sovereign industries such as mining and defence.
3ME Technology is led by a very capable management team from military and
mining backgrounds, and the injection of ABGF capital will allow the
business to accelerate growth through investment in engineering staff,
production facilities, expansion into new markets, additional R&D and
Capital investment from ABGF will not just support 3ME Technology’s growth,
it will also support jobs growth in highly skilled engineering and
technical roles in the Hunter area. This is particularly important for a
region with deep mining roots, and at a time when the mining industry is
focused on decarbonisation in support of a greener future.
“ABGF is an excellent initiative, and we have learned a lot through the due
diligence process,” says 3ME Technology’s head of growth, Steve Lawn.
“Before contacting ABGF, we knew we had to be prepared. Clearly, if you
want to raise a reasonable amount of money, you have to prove your product
is sound and that you understand your market. The ABGF team listened to
where we were as a business and crafted an offer that gave us the best shot
to grow in a manner that would maintain our motivation to do so.”
Published February, 2022