French Startup Altrove Aims to Revolutionize New Materials Development with AI-Powered Approach


In a bid to accelerate innovation in new materials development, French startup Altrove has secured €3.7 million in funding, with plans to leverage artificial intelligence to overcome long-standing challenges in the field. The deep tech startup, co-founded by Thibaud Martin and Joonathan Laulainen, has already made significant breakthroughs in materials prediction, building on the work of other teams at DeepMind, Microsoft, Meta, and Orbital Materials.

According to Martin, the industry has historically faced significant bottlenecks in finding new materials, with the starting point being the prediction of materials that can theoretically exist. With the combination of two or more chemical elements, the possibilities are staggering, with tens of thousands of options for two elements, millions for three, and exponentially more for four or more.

Altrove’s AI models are designed to overcome these calculation constraints, predicting new materials that could exist in a stable state. Martin notes that more stable materials have been predicted in the past nine months than in the previous 49 years, highlighting the potential of AI in this field.

However, predicting new materials is only half the battle. The company must also develop the recipe for creating these materials, taking into account factors such as proportions, temperature, and sequence of ingredients. Altrove is focusing on inorganic materials, specifically rare earth elements, which are in high demand due to their rarity, pricing volatility, and often uncertain supply chain.

The startup selects promising candidates from predicted materials and uses its AI models to generate potential recipes. It then tests these recipes one by one, producing small samples of each material and using its proprietary characterization technology to verify their performance.

Laulainen, an expert in materials science and characterization, has developed a deep understanding of the characterization process, which is critical to refining recipes and improving material quality. Altrove aims to automate its lab to accelerate the feedback loop and increase throughput, allowing it to test more recipes simultaneously.

The company defines itself as a hardware-enabled AI company, planning to sell licenses for its newly developed materials or partner with third-party companies to produce them. With its latest funding round led by Contrarian Ventures, Altrove is poised to build its automated lab by the end of the year and sell its first asset within 18 months.

Romain Dillet
Romain Dillet
Senior Reporter. Romain has written over 3,000 articles on technology and tech startups and has established himself as an influential voice on the European tech scene. He has a deep background in startups, privacy, security, fintech, blockchain, mobile, social and media. When he’s not writing, Romain is also a developer — he understands how the tech behind the tech works.

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