COnovate founders Carol and Marija are interviewed on TV station CBS 58


Carol and Marija discuss the next steps of the startup to bring COPHITE(TM) to market.

SafeLi is now named COnovate, Inc.

SafeLi is now named COnovate, Inc.

COnovate is commercializing a novel carbon-based nanomaterial that is the world’s only form of solid carbon monoxide (CO)—this material offers cost competitive scalability and the opportunity for seamless adoption as a battery anode material and ultimately many other applications.

SafeLi is recognized as a TechConnect Innovator in 2020

TechConnect Innovation Award list 2020, Conference Dates November 17-19

We are proud to announce our selection as a 2020 TechConnect Innovation Awardee. The annual TechConnect Business Innovation Awards program recognizes the top 15% of submitted technologies as ranked by the Selection Committee. To learn more about the Virtual TechConnect Summit and Expo, one of the most well attended innovation events of the year, visit

SafeLi is recognized as a Wisconsin Innovation Leader in 2020

Seventh Annual Event Celebrates Wisconsin's Most Innovative Products and Services

SafeLi is one of four winners honored from 10 finalist and almost 400 nominees during the 2020 Wisconsin Innovation awards, broadcast October 13, 2020. The 2020 winners were selected by a panel of 30 expert judges in many business sectors from throughout the state of Wisconsin.

Energy Department awards funding to 6 Argonne Battery Manufacturing Projects

Argonne National Laboratory and SafeLi LLC Partnership

In October, 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awards funding to 6 Argonne Battery Manufacturing projects. SafeLi's innovative materials, Graphene monoxide (GmO), a performance-enhancing component for lithium-ion battery anodes has been developed by SafeLi. Realizing the benefits of GmO requires large amounts of the material. This project will bring the synthesis out of the academic lab into a pre-commercial scaled-up process.

Energy Department Selects National Laboratories to Establish Industry Partnerships for Battery Manufacturing Innovation

Argonne National Laboratory and SafeLi LLC Partnership

In August, 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the selection of 13 projects through a Battery Manufacturing Lab Call with combined funding of almost $15 million over three years. The call sought proposals from National Laboratories to establish public-private partnerships that address engineering challenges for advanced battery materials and devices. SafeLi has been selected to continue scale-up of Graphene Monoxide for Next-Generation LiB Anodes.

Recognized in American Innovation

20 Wisconsin Startups to Watch in 2020

In December, 2019, Wisconsin Inno identified SafeLi as a significant innovative company that is poised to make significant advances in the near future! ..

SBIR STTR America's Seed Fund: Department of Energy STTR Phase II

High-Energy Safe Anodes for Lithium Ion Batteries


Governor's Business Plan Contest features "Baker’s Dozen" at Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Conference

From disintegrating hypodermic needles to aircraft you can build in a garage to liquid-composite armor technology, the innovations spotlighted at the 17th annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference were novel and plentiful...

Milwaukee Business Journal

GrowthChart wins 2019 Wisconsin Governor's Business Plan Contest

The 2019 Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Conference held at Milwaukee's Venue Forty Two concluded Wednesday with the distribution of awards for the 13 finalists in the contest, which were selected from nearly 200 entries across the state...

Milwaukee Business Journal

Shorewood startup among companies selected to pitch at 2019 Governor's Business Plan Contest

SafeLi LLC, founded in 2016 by professors Carol Hirschmugl and Marija Gajdardziska-Josifovska, discovered and patented new materials for lithium ion batteries that can be used for more stored energy, faster charging times and safer batteries used in electric and hybrid vehicles, power tools and consumer electronics...

Wisconsin Technology Council AND Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest

'Diligent (Baker's) Dozen' will present live June 4 at Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Conference

The 13 contestants emerged from three rounds of judging in the contest organized through the Wisconsin Technology Council, which produces the contest in conjunction with its partners and sponsors. The contest began in late January with about 200 entries; more than 3,700 entries have been received since the contest began in 2004...


Start-Up Entrepreneurs Awarded Competitive Grant from NSF

Dr. Carol Hirschmugl and Dr. Marija Gajdardziska Josifovski, founders of university-incubated start-up SafeLi, LLC, and graduates of the Association for Women in Science’s (AWIS) STEM to Market (S2M) program, were awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $225,000. AWIS’ S2M program provides inclusive, equitable and productive opportunities and resources to help entrepreneurs take their product to market. Throughout their careers, AWIS member Dr. Hirschmugl and Dr. Gajdardziska-Josifovska have published hundreds of research articles in peer reviewed journals and have secured over $10M in funding for their work...

SBIR STTR America's Seed Fund: National Science Foundation SBIR Phase I

SafeLi: Graphene monoxide anodes for extreme batteries

SBIR Advance

$625,000 in state matching grants advance 8 high-tech small businesses

Eight innovative small businesses in Wisconsin will receive matching grants to commercialize their innovations, thanks to the SBIR Advance program’s latest round of funding. Seven businesses, selected for Phase I, will receive up to $75,000 each, and one Phase II business will receive up to $100,000...

SBIR STTR America's Seed Fund: Department of Energy STTR Phase I

High-Energy Safe Anodes for Lithium Ion Batteries

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Research Foundation: 2018 Annual Report

Carol Hirschmugl and Marija Gajdardziska-Josifovska – SafeLi, LLC

(Page 5) Physics Professors Carol Hirschmugl and Marija Gajdardziska Josifovska’s startup company, SafeLi, was recently awarded a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant from the National Science Foundation. This support builds on their Catalyst Grants and a previous SBIR award from the Department of Energy, which are helping them apply their patented material, graphene monoxide, for use in lithium ion batteries. The physicists continue to build their team and they were recently voted “most likely to be viable” in the SEEDSPOT pitch event in Washington, D.C.

WUWM 89.7 Milwaukee's NPR

Scientific Discovery Turns Two UWM Physicists Into Entrepreneurs


Chicago Cohort Program Participants includes SafeLi Founders

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Research Foundation: 2017 Annual Report


(page 6) UWMRF Catalyst Grants gave physicists Marija Gajdardziska-Josifovska and Carol Hirschmugl a needed kick-start in launching their startup company, SafeLi LLC. The researchers’ hybrid semiconducting nanomaterial has been shown to enhance the performance of lithium-ion batteries when used in the battery’s anode. After conducting nearly 150 interviews through the I-Corps Program, the team was able to better understand the market. The two have patented their material and completed a license agreement with the UWMRF to commercialize their product

National Science Foundation: National I-Corps

Advanced Anodes For Lithium Ion Batteries

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Research Foundation: 2016 Annual Report

Creating an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: Graphene Monoxide Battery

(page 12) Two UWM physicists are part of a team that discovered a new hybrid semiconducting nanomaterial, Graphene Monoxide (GMO). The material is based on graphene – a single-layer carbon structure. Because the material exhibits superior electrical and thermal conductivity, Marija GajdardziskaJosifovska, professor and dean of UWM’s Graduate School, and Carol Hirschmugl, professor of physics, believe it can improve performance of lithium-ion batteries. Funding from the Catalyst Grant program has helped the team scale up production of GMO. After completing the NSF I-Corps entrepreneurial training program last summer, the professors formed Safeli LLC, completed a license agreement with the UWMRF, and are pursuing support to prove the technology in battery applications.

National Science Foundation: Regional I-Corps

Advanced Anodes For Lithium Ion Batteries