Niron Magnetics Secures Funding from Samsung Ventures & Auto Heavyweights to Accelerate Production of Rare Earth-Free Magnets 

Niron Magnetics has been raking in new strategic investor funding with a $25 million round led by Samsung Ventures that included automotive top-tier suppliers Allison Transmission and Magna, and a further collaboration with General Motors. Based in Minneapolis, Niron is pioneering the development and manufacture of what it calls the world’s first high-performance, rare earth-free permanent magnets. 

Samsung Ventures has the investment mandate to closely track the strategic priorities of leading consumer electronics manufacturer Samsung and encompasses investments in consumer electronics, semiconductors, telecommunications, and more. Allison Transmission, a leading designer and manufacturer of vehicle propulsion systems, participated through its venture capital arm, Allison Ventures, while Magna, one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers, also invested. 

The investment is pegged to support Niron’s ability to expand its production facilities and scale manufacturing capacity for exclusive customer programs and initial sales of what it calls “the Clean Earth Magnet”. Niron’s iron nitride-based magnet is positioned to provide an environmentally sustainable, globally manufacturable, and stable supply input solution in the world’s magnet supply chain. A notable feature is its high temperature stability along with impressive performance characteristics. 

Previous investors Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and University of Minnesota also participated in the round, providing additional funding and joining a roster of more than 30 investors in Niron that include GM Ventures, Stellantis Ventures and Volvo Cars Tech Fund. 

“Samsung Ventures is committed to investing in companies that are driving innovation and sustainability in their respective industries,” said Samsung Ventures. “Niron Magnetics’ Clean Earth Magnet technology has the potential to revolutionize the consumer electronics and audio market by providing a high-performance, rare-earth-free alternative to traditional magnets.” 

“Allison Ventures was launched to drive innovations that will shape the future of commercial-duty mobility. We believe solutions like Niron’s Clean Earth Magnet are needed to address the global demand and supply risks of rare-earth elements needed for electric motors and other critical applications,” said Mike Foster, Executive Director and Chief Technology Officer, Allison Transmission. 

“Magna invests in technologies for multiple reasons, including those that have the potential to enhance our competitive position, meet the needs and expectations of our customers, and, when relevant, align with our sustainability goals,” said Josh Berg, Managing Director, Technology Investments and Ventures at Magna. “Niron’s Clean Earth Magnet technology is an example of a solution we believe could be a building block for our future sustainable product innovations.” 

Specific objects of the new funding call for Niron to expand its pilot production facilities, enhancing its ability to serve diverse clientele and support customer prototyping programs. The company will also scale up manufacturing capacity to meet growing demand and accelerate research and development efforts to drive continuous improvement in performance and efficiency. 

“We are thrilled that leading global companies like Samsung Ventures, Allison Transmission, and Magna recognize the potential of our Clean Earth Magnet to transform industries and create a more sustainable future,” said Jonathan Rowntree, CEO of Niron Magnetics. “We look forward to collaborating closely with all of our investors and partners to work towards enabling a rare earth-free alternative in magnetics.” 

The upscaled collaboration with GM came near the close of last year, building on GM’s goal to establish a more secure, sustainable, North American-focused EV supply chain. “We believe Niron’s unique technology can play a key role in reducing rare earth minerals from EV motors and help us further scale our North American-based supply chain for EVs,” said Anirvan Coomer, president of GM Ventures. “Our path to an all-electric future will be enabled not only by our own research and development efforts, but also by investing in next generation technology from startups and established companies outside our four walls.” 

“GM is deeply committed to an all-electric future, and to make that future a reality, we’re focused on developing a broad portfolio of affordable and sustainable electric vehicles. EV motors are a key element of our Ultium Platform — their magnets present a great opportunity to reduce cost and environmental impact compared to traditional magnet materials, while localizing our EV supply chain in North America. The permanent magnets in EV motor rotors are typically made from rare earth minerals like terbium, dysprosium, praseodymium and neodymium, which are expensive and currently processed almost entirely overseas.” 

Focused on advancing an all-electric future that is inclusive and accessible to all. At the heart of GM’s strategy is the Ultium battery-electric EV platform, which is designed to power everything from mass-market to high-performance vehicles. 

The GM and Niron strategic partnership calls for the companies to co-develop Clean Earth Magnet motor technology that can be used in future GM EVs. GM Ventures has also made an investment in Niron to support the scaling of Niron’s manufacturing and commercialization of their magnets. 

“GM invented rare earth permanent magnets nearly 40 years ago, and now we’re working together to bring the next generation of automotive magnet technology to market,” said Jonathan Rowntree, CEO of Niron Magnetics. “We think that our Clean Earth Magnets can help GM in its goal to put everyone in an EV.” For more info, see previous articles in Magnetics Magazine and