High-Tech Gruenderfonds, Bayern Kapital, UnternehmerTUM’s venture capital fund and private business angels jointly invest in fibre-optic measurement start-up
May 7, 2012
High-Tech Gruenderfonds, Bayern Kapital, UnternehmerTUM’s venture capital fund and private business angels jointly invest in fibre-optic measurement start-up business. The joint investment will finance fos4X’s market entry. Among other things, fos4X offers innovative solutions for increasing the efficiency of wind power plants.
Increasing efficiency plays a major role in staying competitive on the energy market. fos4X has developed fibre optic sensors that can, for example, measure the level of wind force on the rotor blades of wind turbines.
A spin-off of Technische Universität München, fos4X was founded by Dr. Thorbjörn Buck, Dr. Lars Hoffmann, Dr. Matthias Müller and Rolf Wojtech. The fibre optic extensometres and sensors they have developed improve monitoring the force on technical structures and systems, especially when employing state-of-the-art materials such as fibre optic or carbon fibre reinforced composites.
“We’re convinced that here we are helping a future market leader take its first steps onto the market. It’s important to us that we act as more than just an investor, also providing advice on business development and establishing contacts to potential customers”, says UnternehmerTUM’s Dr. Ingo Potthof.
Dr. Guillem Sague, Investment Manager at High-Tech Gruenderfonds explains, “Sensors developed by fos4X can be used to optimise rotor blade efficiency and maintenance as well as wind cogeneration in wind power plants. This allows fos4X to solve the monitoring problem that exists in the rapidly growing wind energy market. But it was also the team that convinced us in the end.”
Wolfgang Härtl, Bayern Kapital Investment Manager, on the investment: “Sensitive down to the sub-nanometre range, the innovative sensor technology can determine how the rotor blade’s material is being subjected to forces or damage. The cost of generating electricity can be significantly reduced from lower maintenance costs and improved plant service life.”
Dr. Lars Hoffmann at fos4X predicts, “The fact that there are 21,000 wind turbines in Germany shows the potential for this technology. In the next five years a global market for rotor blade monitoring and measuring equipment worth 280 million euros will arise. Our goal is to have a 15% market share after five years.”
The founders see other areas of application in R&D prototype testing as well as measuring the force of pantographs on trains.
In 2010 fos4X GmbH was founded by an interdisciplinary team at Technische Universität München. The company’s core technology is fibre optic measurement equipment that has a great number of advantages over conventional measurement technology. Measuring the load on lightweight structures, for example, fos4X’s measuring devices and sensors provide distinct customer benefits from longer service life.
About Bayern Kapital/Seedfonds Bayern
Seedfonds Bayern was founded in 2003, using Clusterfonds Seed GmbH & Co KG’s new capital (24 m euros) since June 2010. The fund finances technology oriented start-up companies in Bavaria. It also serves as regional contact for founders seeking capital. It is managed by Bayern Kapital GmbH, which was set up in 1995 as part of the Bavarian state government’s “Bavarian Future Initiative”, aimed in particular at providing venture capital to newly-founded, innovative Bavarian companies. To date, Bayern Kapital has invested approx. € 171 m in more than 210 innovative, high-tech companies. Bayern Kapital currently manages an overall fund volume of about € 200 m.
About the UnternehmerTUM fund
The UnternehmerTUM fund looks for strong teams throughout Germany working in the fields of information and communication technology, medical technology and cleantech, with a pronounced entrepreneurial spirit and understanding of technology, as well as first-class management skills. A business model with big international potential and a sustained competitive advantage are important requirements for an investment. The fund’s first investment is usually up to €500,000. The fund can invest up to a total of €3 m in a successfully growing business. The UnternehmerTUM fund acts as both lead and co-investor.
Head of Communication & Development
Phone 089 / 32 46 24-365
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About High-Tech Gruenderfonds
High-Tech Gruenderfonds invests in young, high potential high-tech start-ups. The seed financing provided is designed to enable start-ups to take an idea through prototyping and to market launch. Typically, High-Tech Gruenderfonds invests EUR 500,000 in the seed stage, with the potential for up to a total of EUR 2 million per portfolio company in follow-on financing. Investors in this public/private partnership include the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, the KfW Banking Group, as well as thirteen industrial groups of ALTANA, BASF, B. Braun, Robert Bosch, CEWE Color, Daimler, Deutsche Post DHL, Deutsche Telekom, Evonik, Qiagen, RWE Innogy, Tengelmann and Carl Zeiss. High-Tech Gruenderfonds has about EUR 563 million under management in two funds (EUR 272 million EUR HTGF I, EUR 291 million HTGF II).
High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH
Dr. Guillem Sague
Tel: +49 228 823001-00
Fax: +49 228 823000-50
www.high-tech-gruenderfonds.de – Venture Capital für Startups