ESS Stock Market Listing — A Successful Team Story

Cycle Capital
3 min readOct 14, 2021

On Monday, ESS Inc. listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The listing culminates a 10-year journey and demonstrates the success that clean economy technologies can achieve. ESS Inc’s listing was the result of a merger with ACON S2 under the GWH ticker.

From its investment in the company’s series B investment in 2017, Cycle Capital’s team supported company’s growth, alongside its cofounders Craig Evans and Julia Song, as well as CEO Eric Dresselhuys.

As early as 2013, Cycle Capital (Cycle) recognized the potential of long duration storage to help integrate renewables and support the energy transition. Led by its Entrepreneur in Residence, Cycle began exploring the sector by analysing 180 companies and technologies from around the world. This scope of review allowed the team to home in on the criteria that would lead to an investment with the right characteristics and return profile. We were looking for a talented team to deploy a technology with a billion dollars market at industrial scale.

In addition to the standard metrics of a great market size, talented team and differentiated technology, for us, a successful solution had to demonstrate the ability to show demonstrate manufacturability, a competitive cost curve with lithium, non-toxic chemistry and the ability to form a strong syndicate of both financial, commercial and industrial partners.

So in 2016, when the ESS Inc. opportunity presented itself, Cycle Capital quickly recognized a company that met its criteria. Unlike chemistries that relied on hazardous or rare materials, ESS Inc. relied on iron, salt and water as electrolytes. The technology was efficient, the electrolyte relied on non-toxic and accessible compounds, and at the end of life, the battery container and many components were reusable.

Cycle Capital then proceeded to an impact analysis of ESS Inc.’s technology, and took into consideration various factors, including the impact of critical minerals’ extraction and their exploitation conditions, the battery’s end-of-life impact, as well as its recyclability potential. And so, by combining a simple, easy-to-implement technology with inexpensive chemistry, ESS Inc. offered the lowest-cost possible for a 4 to 16-hour storage duration.

So convinced of the potential of the opportunity, Cycle Capital sent a team of four to complete due diligence, including an assessment of the team, validation of the technology, and a robust intellectual property review.

In 2017, Cycle Capital Managing Partners Andrée-Lise Méthot and Claude Vachet visited Ludwigshaffen, Germany, and were able to progress an investment by BASF, who eventually co-led the Series B investment alongside Cycle Capital. In the end, a syndicate including new investor Presidio Ventures came together to fund the round with a $20M valuation. Subsequent rounds expanded the investor syndicate to include Breakthrough Energy Ventures, SoftBank Energy, GC Ventures and Evergy.

A pre de-SPAC round was completed earlier this year and on Monday, the new entity, with the ticker symbol GWH, began selling its shares on the NYSE public market.

The story behind this remarkable achievement is a great example of the strength born from foresight, a conviction in the future and collaboration. Cycle wants to congratulate ESS’s team for its stock market listing and looks forward to its ongoing success. It would also like to acknowledge all co-investors that contributed to the development of this company over the last few years, as well as its team members who invested their time and energy towards its success; especially in this last stage, Shirley Speakman supported by Dan Pinault.



Cycle Capital

Cycle Capital is an impact investor and a leading private cleantech venture capital investment platform with $ 0.6 billion under management.