Israeli startup Materials Zone secured $6 million in Series A funding yesterday. The investment was led by Insight Partners, with participation from OurCrowd. The company offers an AI-powered materials discovery platform that can accelerate development and manufacturing of material-based physical products for a cheaper price. The company had previously based its solution on Blockchain technology, until a recent pivot.

Cutting R&D time

The Materials Zone platform collects data from different sources during the research, development, and production stages of physical products - from Excel charts, measurement tools, literature, and from EMS or LIMS systems. The platform funnels R&D and manufacturing data into an interoperable and structured database, enabling users to achieve meaningful AI/ML insights, reduce R&D research times, and efficiently collaborate with others.

"The process of inventing, improving, and building new products requires first understanding the materials' fundamental properties and the way they are processed; only then can they be systematically changed to reach the desired effect. Today, for example, to develop a photovoltaic transparent window or a non-flammable, high energy density solid-state battery, tens of thousands of experiments would be necessary to find the core materials' optimal parameters and to understand how they will orchestrate as a complete device. This process is long, costly and rarely successful. Materials Zone's platform makes this process faster and cheaper by providing data standardization, process and workflow management tools, which enable the user to apply and use analytical and AI/ML tools to better understand their data and receive real-time guidance, thus achieving better results,” said Dr. Assaf Anderson, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Materials Zone.

The platform is domain-agnostic and can serve customers from different verticals, such as Energy Storage, Renewables, and Nano-Materials, supporting both simple and complex materials architectures.

Materials Zone platform

What happened to Blockchain?

The company first emerged in 2018 with a Seed investment from Sarona Ventures. However, back then, Materials Zone’s platform was developed around the crypto-fueling Blockchain technology. If 2017 was the golden age of Blockchain, 2018 brought the dark ages. Anderson explains that the company realized that the technology and market aren’t quite ready yet: “The tech isn’t ripe yet, regulations are incredibly restricting, and the market needs to be educated to adopt these technologies.”

His words seem a bit harsh, considering at the time, the company had flown the Blockchain flag proudly as its own. Nevertheless, he added that “we recognize the advantages of Blockchain, therefore it remains the optimal tech solution for the product we’re developing. We continue to follow developments in the sector.”