Acquisitions / Crowdfunding / Funding / Startups / Venture capital

Money Moves: Stratus Materials is out of stealth mode with a $12M raise

Plus: Carnegie Foundry launched Carnegie Capital Partners, The Flip Side raised via equity crowdfunding, and more local funding news.

Pittsburgh tech is looking up. (Photo by Pexels user Andy Vuknic via a Creative Commons license)

Money Moves is a column where we chart the funding raises of tech companies across the region. Have a tip? Email us at

Stratus Materials is out of stealth mode with a $12 million raise

A Point Breeze-based company aiming to improve the lithium-ion battery industry just emerged from stealth mode.

Stratus Materials’ proposed alternative: cathode active materials for lithium-ion batteries. What Stratus Materials is developing, according to a company announcement of its public launch, comes with the benefit of functionality, energy density, stability, low cost and input materials being easily available.

“Our innovative processes and materials are designed to provide the lithium-ion battery industry with cathode offerings that outperform best-in-class NMC cathode formulations on virtually every dimension, without relying on cobalt and with significantly less nickel and lithium per kilowatt-hour,” Stratus founder, CEO and CTO Jay Whitacre said in a statement. “We are extremely excited about engaging more broadly with potential customers and partners.”

Whitacre is also a Carnegie Mellon University professor and repeat entrepreneur. His cofounders are President Scott Pearson and VP of Technical Operations Wei Wu.

The 2022-founded startup, which was previously called 33 Tech Inc., has largely flown under the radar until now. With a $12 million Series A in hand, the founders expect to hit the ground running. This funding round was led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures with participation from DNS Capital.

“Energy density, cost, materials availability, and safety are critical factors for a battery technology to enable full EV adoption and production,” Breakthrough Energy Ventures Managing Partner Carmichael Roberts said. “The Stratus Materials team has developed a set of cathode active materials that address and optimize each of these parameters, enabling EVs to scale to new levels.”

Carnegie Foundry launches Carnegie Capital Partners

Robotics and AI venture studio Carnegie Foundry kicked off February by announcing that it’d be launching an early-stage investment vehicle called Carnegie Capital Partners LLC.

The goal is to “fast-track” funding for Carnegie Foundry startups focused on robotics, autonomy and Industry 4.0 (that is, tech that improves how companies manufacture and distribute their products). Here’s Carnegie Foundry CEO Robert Szczerba’s statement on why — and why it’s happening in Pittsburgh:

“The Pittsburgh region is poised to revolutionize robotics and manufacturing, but only a very small fraction of venture capital firms and funds seriously invest, or have a presence, in this industrial community. Launching startups in industrial robotics and automation are inherently more expensive and more complex than launching software startups, which is where venture funds tend to operate. The scarcity of seed capital, despite the industrial automation and innovation expertise in our region, puts US companies — who depend on a robust pipeline of innovations — at a disadvantage relative to their global competitors. Carnegie Capital Partners, as the investment arm of Carnegie Foundry, aims to address that challenge by offering a straightforward vehicle for impact investment in Industry 4.0.”

The Flip Side crowdfunded its way to $275,000

The Flip Side founder Annafi Wahed. (Courtesy photo)

Remember The Flip Side? The bipartisan media company provides fact-checking and curated commentary from both liberal and conservative sources. In June 2022, founder and CEO Annafi Wahed made Pittsburgh her new home.

Now, after claiming the Steel City as its HQ for a few months, The Flip Side has good news in the form of $275,603 invested by 667 individuals on equity crowdfunding platform WeFunder.

The funding will be used for to launch a B2B tool in 2023, which could be used in the next election cycle. It will also be the basis for The Flip Side’s growth and new revenue models including hosting debates, conferences and workshops.

In the near future, the platform hopes to raise $1 million to expand its team, invest in product and UX design, and grow its readership to 500,000 newsletter subscribers in the next six months.

Magna5 acquired Apogee IT Services

Magna5, a Coraopolis-based IT and cybersecurity services provider, is expanding its national presence following its acquisition of Apogee IT Services’ US assets.

By bringing on the fellow IT services and cybersecurity provider, Magna5’s leaders expect the company to see growth in both the Boston and Pittsburgh regions. Financial details were not disclosed.

“The demand for managed IT services continues to grow rapidly and adding Apogee’s skilled team will enhance our combined services delivery experience for customers in two of our core regions,” Magna5 CEO Robert Farina said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to welcome Apogee’s US customers and look forward to working with them to provide an even more robust set of offerings as their trusted, outsourced IT services partner.”

More Pittsburgh Money Moves

  • Three Pittsburgh universities were included in $2 million the Charles E. Kaufman Foundation recently awarded for scientific research. William Pfalzgraff and Simranjeet Singh of Chatham University received $100,00 and $150,000 respectively; Andrea Berman and Judith Yanowitz of the University of Pittsburgh received $300,000; and fellow Pitt researchers Alex Jones and Michael Hatridge were awarded $300,000.
  • Bloomfield Robotics is using the $4.4 million it raised in 2022 to continue pursuing partnerships and growth in 2023.
Atiya Irvin-Mitchell is a 2022-2023 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: Carnegie Foundry / Bloomfield Robotics / University of Pittsburgh

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