Main Sequence & top US sustainability VCs lead $US28m Series B for Australian breakthrough mining tech Plotlogic

Main Sequence & top US sustainability VCs lead $US28m Series B for Australian breakthrough mining tech Plotlogic

US and Australian venture capital climate and sustainability heavyweights have led a $US28 million Series B funding round for deep-tech mining company Plotlogic.

Galvanize Climate Solutions, the climate-focused global investment firm founded by billionaire Tom Steyer and Katie Hall, and SE Ventures, the investing firm backed by French energy and automation giant Schneider Electric, co-led the round. Both firms seek to foster cutting edge technologies that tackle major climate change challenges.

Existing investors Innovation Endeavors, DCVC, Bentley iTwin Ventures and GRIDS Capital also supported the raise, doubling down on their Series A investments.

Main Sequence, the Australian deep-tech VC firm backed by the CSIRO and Australian government, also participated via its newly launched Main Sequence Three fund. The fund invests in companies leveraging research to tackle six major Planetary Challenges. Partner Mike Zimmerman said Plotlogic was a natural fit to be one of its first investments.

“The mining industry will play an essential role in decarbonising our planet, both in terms of the critical minerals and metals that are required for the electrification of industry, as well as the opportunity to move the needle on energy consumed per unit of production through the use of innovative science and technology,” he said. “Plotlogic, our first investment at the intersection of our Decarbonisation and Industrial Productivity Challenges, offers a compelling solution that will help move the industry forward on both fronts.”

In the five years since its inception, Plotlogic has fast become a global leader in ore characterisation. The tech helps customers, including BHP, Vale, South32 and leading lithium company Pilbara Minerals, increase output and reduce waste.

Its proprietary OreSense® technology combines a sensor stack and artificial intelligence (AI) to scan core samples, chips and terrain (including mine faces, stockpiles, heavy vehicle loads and plant feed) in real-time, generating highly accurate ore characterisation predictions enabling miners to increase extraction of critical minerals and metals.

By enhancing grade control methods and identifying problematic ore and deleterious materials as well as optimising plant uptime, Plotlogic’s technology effectively reduces costs and energy usage for every tonne mined and processed.

After significant success with its single-application deployments of OreSense®, Plotlogic has an ambitious growth agenda and is planning to use the Series B funding to broaden its platform across a greater number of touchpoints, bolster commercialisation and invest in additional research and development as the company looks to continue to expand into North America.

PlotLogic Founder and CEO Dr Andrew Job (pictured) is confident the company will see escalation in adoption of OreSense® driven by mounting pressure on the mining industry to confront its most formidable challenge to date: providing the essential critical minerals required for a sustainable future while avoiding the repetition of past environmental harm.

“Recycling alone can only meet a fraction of the demand for essential commodities making continued mining essential. And sustainability in mining can be achieved through the increased adoption of advanced technologies like ours,” Dr Job said.

“Discovering new deposits is a challenging task and the development of mines can take up to 17 years, pushing us well into the 2030s before we see any kind of transformation in the supply of minerals required for a net-zero future.”

“Plotlogic is actively contributing to the pursuit of a clean energy future by enabling existing mines to extract every vestige of value right now in an environmentally sensitive way. We developed the OreSense® technology with the firm belief that mining should be able to generate the resources society needs without harming the planet. The feedback from our customers is that we are delivering on that vision. They describe using our tech as a game changer – like swapping a hacksaw for a scalpel – enabling them to mine more selectively, efficiently and sustainably, benefiting both their projects and the planet.”

Galvanize Climate Solutions is focused on supporting and scaling urgent climate solutions. Cliff Ryan, co-head of Galvanize’s venture and growth equity strategy, Innovation + Expansion, said Plotlogic’s technology has transformative potential in the mining industry.

“Critical metals are a crucial enabler of the global transition to net-zero and technology like Plotlogic’s, that enables the more sustainable extraction of those metals, strongly aligns with our mission to support promising solutions that address the pressing challenges of climate change”, Ryan said.“We’re proud to be supporting Plotlogic through our investment.”

SE Ventures focuses on accelerating category-leading startups across sustainability, energy management and industrial automation.
General Partner Grant Allen said when his team first met Plotlogic they immediately recognised the company’s inherent potential.

“We see Plotlogic’s AI-enabled sensing technology could drastically improve the sustainability of the mining industry, increasing ore recovery and downstream processing efficiencies while reducing energy usage and waste,” Allen said. “Their OreSense® products have best-in-class accuracy and it’s faster than anything else we’ve seen. We are thrilled to be partnering with Andrew and look forward to bringing the global reach and customer connections of Schneider Electric and AVEVA to Plotlogic.”

Early stage VC firm Innovation Endeavors invests in mission-driven founders, transformational technologies and emergent ecosystems.

Partner Sam Smith-Eppsteiner said Plotlogic was not only creating significant value for its customers, but also enabling pathways to net-zero by increasing access to battery critical minerals.

“By leveraging innovations in hyperspectral imaging and AI, Plotlogic brings higher volume, more precise, and richer data to mining. This data unlocks the ability to increase mined volume and do so more efficiently,” she said.

“We’ve been impressed by the team’s commercial progress and product expansion across the mine site, and are excited to continue to partner with Andrew and the team. We can see a future where Plotlogic plays an important role in increasing both the availability and sustainability of battery critical minerals.”

DCVC has been investing in climate resilience technology for more than a decade. General Partner Ali Tamaseb said the VC was delighted to be able to add its investment.

“DCVC has a strong track record of backing brilliant entrepreneurs who are using deep tech to address some of the world’s hardest and highest-stakes challenges. Many of these founders have gone on to build category-defining businesses,” Tamasebhe said.

“DCVC has been an investor in Plotlogic since the pre-seed round and has invested in the company in every round since then. We’re excited to welcome new investors and to continue doubling down in Plotlogic given its strong commercial success with major mining customers across the world, solving a hard problem only solvable using their superior mine scanning products.”

Bentley iTwin Ventures, which was established by leading infrastructure engineering software company Bentley Systems Incorporated, also backed up its Series A support.

VP Ecosystem and Ventures at Bentley Systems Tom Kurke said Plotlogic is a perfect example of a company that’s achieving considerable commercial success while solving, with its deep tech, a huge challenge facing the planet.

“We co-invest in entrepreneurial companies that share our commitment to innovations created to sustain both the economy and the environment,” Kurkehe said.

“Bentley iTwin Ventures supported Plotlogic in its early stages and we’re looking forward to being a part of its next growth phase as miners transition to more sustainable practices to supply future-facing critical minerals.”

GRIDS Capital also targets cutting-edge tech startups focused on climate technology. It first invested in Plotlogic as part of its Angel round in 2019 and founder Guy Perelmuter said it had been a genuine pleasure to partner with the company since then.

“Our business is investing in deep tech companies that are forging a better future,” Perelmuterhe said.

“Plotlogic is doing this through its technology’s proven ability to help the mining industry supply minerals essential for clean energy with greater efficiency and environmental sensitivity. We’re looking forward to supporting the company’s next growth phase.”