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CorePower Magnetics raised $2.5M to hire and further its energy tech

The Hill District startup's magnetic technology targets electric vehicles with a focus on sustainability, CEO Sam Kernion said.

CorePower Magnetics' team as of fall 2022. CEO Sam Kernion is at center right. (Courtesy photo)

Pittsburgh’s CorePower Magnetics announced this week that it raised $2.5 million in pre-seed funding.

CEO Sam Kernion told Technical.ly the 2020-founded startup, which is based at the Hill District’s Energy Innovation Center Institute, will use the capital to expand its staff, accelerate its development of magnetic technology targeting electric vehicles and the grid, and eventually fulfill its vision of becoming the leader of magnetic solutions for a sustainable future.

“Electrification is a big trend with things like electric vehicles, and really what CorePower is focused on is going to be the other side of that wave, which we’re calling magnification,” Kernion said. “There’s been a tremendous amount of work on batteries and semiconductors, but the magnetics that also go into things like an EV drive train [application] or into power management for things in the grid have been largely ignored from an improvement standpoint.”

The funding was acquired as a part of a round led by Chicago’s Volta Energy Technologies and Pittsburgh’s Innovation Works, and comes on the heels of CorePower receiving $200,000 from the US Department of Energy. That latter funding was part of a series of grants totaling $58 million distributed to 210 technology-focused small businesses throughout the country.

Earlier in 2022, CorePower also received a $50,000 investment from IW’s AlphaLab Gear. It was also one of five companies that participated in the 10th cohort of the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator, which awarded the startup a $250,000 grant.

Currently, the company — a spinout of Carnegie Mellon University research — has 11 employees, with five of those employees based in Pittsburgh, with plans to add a design engineer and an electro mechanical technician. According to CorePower, the technology it’s developing is the first step in electric vehicles driving the public to a greener future by reducing reliance on traditional fuels and the negative environmental impacts often associated with them. The manufacturing processes and materials it produces will include motors, inductors, and transformers that operate in smaller and lighter packages.

The goal is to address the existing limits in electric transportation methods. By making EV engines that are smaller and more powerful and long lasting, the company wants to reduce the need for rare elements in electric motors and advance efficiency and power density.

“Things like the motors, and inductors, and transformers are some of the bulkiest and most inefficient components of these systems,” Kernion said. “With our technology we’re redefining the limits of magnetic components to help with EVs and the power grid. And that’s really our mission is to kind of push these beyond the current limitations of the existing state of the art.”

Atiya Irvin-Mitchell is a 2022-2024 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Heinz Endowments.
Companies: CorePower Magnetics / Innovation Works (Pittsburgh) / Carnegie Mellon University

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