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SiNode Systems Wins Rice Business Plan Competition

Commercialization strategy for superior anodes for Lithium-ion batteries wins the ‘Super Bowl’ of business plan competitions.

EVANSTON, Ill. – April 22, 2013 – SiNode Systems, a company developing superior anodes for Lithium-ion batteries, won the Grand Prize at the 2013 Rice Business Plan Competition, an award that has been described by Fortune and CNN/Money as the Super Bowl and World Series combined for startups.

In total, SiNode received more than $900,000 in prizes at what is considered the world’s richest and largest business plan competition. The funds will support the development and commercialization of SiNode’s technology, which has the potential to dramatically enhance battery life for smartphones, electric vehicles and other consumer applications.

“Winning the Rice Business Plan Competition is further validation that our technology and business strategy are well-positioned for today’s consumer electronics market,” said Samir Mayekar, SiNode’s Executive Director. “It’s also a huge boost for our management team, which is working hard to bring SiNode’s technology to market.”

SiNode Team

SiNode was formed in 2012 through Northwestern University’s NUvention program, which selects teams of students from the McCormick School of Engineering and Kellogg School of Management to commercialize technology developed at Northwestern. The company is commercializing a patented composite of silicon nano-particles and porous graphene developed by Northwestern professor Harold H. Kung.

The material is produced in a sheet-like form through a simple and highly scalable manufacturing process. It’s compatible with standard li-ion battery components (cathode and electrolyte), which means it can be used as a direct drop-in component to existing battery cell manufacturing—increasing anode capacity by 10 times, while decreasing battery charging times by the same factor.

More than 400 teams from around the world applied to the Rice Business Plan Competition this year, with 42 of them invited to pitch their business plans at the three-day competition held at Rice University. More than 300 judges, including venture capitalists, angel investors, entrepreneurs and business leaders, vetted the teams.

SiNode Rice Business Plan 2013 Winners

In its short lifespan, SiNode already has achieved an impressive record of success. In November 2012, the company bested competition from across the country to win the Energy Efficiency Category Award at the Cleantech Open Global Forum.

“SiNode is prepared to become a commercial success and have a big impact on how we consume electricity,” said Justin Kaster, Cofounder and President of the Midwest Division of the Cleantech Open accelerator program. “They’ve got a disruptive technology, a thoughtful business model and a smart, motivated management team.”

SiNode’s winnings of $911,400 included the competition’s grand prize—$350,000 from the Goose Society of Texas—as well as $100,000 from the OWL Group. Other prizes came from Mercury Fund, Greater Houston Partnership, the U.S. Department of Energy, Trailblazer Capital, PKF of Texas, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, BBVA Compass, Miller, Egan, Molter & Nelson LLP, and others.

About Sinode Systems

SiNode Systems is a materials venture based out of Northwestern University that is commercializing a novel silicon-based anode technology developed by Professor Harold Kung. The company is currently seeking partnership opportunities with major chemicals manufacturers.

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