Membrion, a startup building ceramic membranes for wastewater treatment, raises $7M

Membrion founder and CEO Greg Newbloom at GeekWire’s Elevator Pitch competition. (GeekWire Photo / Dan DeLong)

Seattle startup Membrion raised $7 million to boost manufacturing of its ceramic membranes that treat wastewater.

Spun out of the University of Washington in 2016, Membrion aims to address a pain point in wastewater treatment, where existing solutions require companies to truck water away rather than treat it on the spot. It sells ceramic desalinization membranes that can be used to treat toxic runoff from manufacturing processes, removing salt and heavy metals such as lead, mercury, arsenic and copper.

“We’re seeing pilot projects convert to full commercial installations, which makes the more sustainable option, treating water on-site, an economically attractive reality,” CEO Greg Newbloom said in a statement. “This Series B investment helps to solidify our vision of phasing out inefficient legacy water treatment processes.”

The company’s main customers are U.S.-based, Fortune 100 firms in the microelectronics, automotive, food and beverage, and oil and gas sectors. These businesses typically consume large quantities of water and use Membrion’s ceramic membranes to better handle their water stewardship.

Newbloom founded the company after working for years on filtering technology for use in fuel cells and water desalination systems. He is joined by COO Philip Pickett, a longtime business manager for venture-backed power infrastructure and renewable energy companies.

Membrion currently has 34 employees, according to LinkedIn.

The funding was led by PureTerra Ventures, with participation from Safar Partners, GiantLeap Capital, Freeflow, along with existing investors. The latest round pushes the 7-year-old startup’s total funding to date to more than $20 million.

Membrion previously raised $6 million in its oversubscribed Series A round which closed in March 2020, then added an additional $3 million in September. It has also landed $3 million in non-dilutive grants.

Membrion’s previous backers include Bellingham Angel Investors, WRF Capital, SeaChange Fund, UW, Amazon, the National Science Foundation and the Murdock Charitable Trust. PureTerra Managing Partner Nic Pannekeet and GiantLeap Managing Partner Himanshu Sekhar will join Membrion’s board as part of the latest funding round.

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