Delft-based VSParticle Raises €14.5 Million to Unlock a Century of Material Innovation with Nanoparticles

Delft-based VSParticle Raises €14.5 Million to Unlock a Century of Material Innovation with Nanoparticles

The ability to develop new materials has impacted society tremendously but today it can take up to 10 years to discover new materials in the lab and a further five years to test and scale a new discovery to mass production, which is holding back innovation across the globe.

By accelerating every step of materials development, VSParticle (VSP), a leading Dutch supplier of nanoparticle printing tools, reduces the overall time of material discovery from 15 years to only one. In a peer-reviewed research paper, VSP helped reduce the production and discovery cycle from months to only an hour. It’s able to do this because it is the only technology that can be directly transferred and scaled through all three steps of the material innovation cycle; from trial and error in the lab, to optimization of the production process and scaling towards mass production. 

VSParticle (VSP) has just announced it has raised €14.5 million in funding led by Plural to power its mission to accelerate material development and unlock innovation at scale.

Aaike van Vugt, co-founder and CEO of VSParticle, says: “Scientists spend decades of their life on discovering new materials, which means that it takes generations to unlock the innovation we need as a society. We’ve only been able to unlock about 1% to enable technological innovation so far, but with our technology, we will unlock the other 99% in the next two decades. From the climate crisis to preventative healthcare, the implications of accelerating materials development are huge. Plural understands the potential impact of our work and has proven experience to help us scale this technology. We’re thrilled to be working with them.” 

Founded in 2014, VSP accelerates material development to power next-generation products. Its technology enables materials to be broken down to the size of nanoparticles and produced at the push of a button, allowing university researchers and commercial R&D teams across the world to experiment to create new materials that form the basis of revolutionary products. Moving ten times faster will enable VSP to unlock a century of innovation in the next 10 years and solve urgent global challenges from climate change, to energy transition and healthcare innovation by reshaping global material development efforts.

Sten Tamkivi, who led the investment round at Plural Platform, says: “Europe is uniquely well positioned for building world-leading companies solving difficult problems. To solve some of the biggest global challenges, such as decarbonising society in the next generation, manipulating physical matter smartly is required. We need to be able to break molecules down to the nano-level and experiment with them to find new optimised material structures. VSParticle is the only company I’ve come across that can enable experimentation and discovery with software-defined materials at scale. As investors, we are very excited about working with Aaike and his team of world-class scientists in this incredibly important field.” 

VSP’s technology is at the forefront of helping to decarbonise society, through the mass production of Catalyst Coated Membranes (CCMs). These membranes are the key component in electrolysers, a technology that is essential to the production of green hydrogen, which is used to decarbonise industries such as shipping, produce renewable electricity for transport and heating and enable the conversion of carbon dioxide into valuable chemicals, such as Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF).

VSP’s technology will also accelerate and simplify the production of new gas sensors. Today gas sensors are used to detect specific molecules but with VSP’s technology, it will be possible to develop advanced sensors that can, for instance, detect air pollutants in buildings and the environment or even detect early signs of illness from human breath to improve healthcare outcomes.

VSP is already working with industry partners and leading research institutes such as MCL to develop sensors for the chemical, food and agriculture sectors, as well as for everyday devices. These are just two of hundreds of industrial markets VSP will focus on in the coming years.

Founded in 2014, VSP was born out of decades of research by materials scientists working in the award-winning research facilities at TU Delft. Co-founder and CEO Aaike van Vugt (Forbes 30 under 30 winner 2019) first worked on the technology as a Master’s student before collaborating with his professor Andreas Schmidt-Ott, co-founder and CTO Tobias Pfeiffer, and co-founder and COO Tobias Coppejans to scale this technology into an R&D tool for universities and organizations.

In the past few years, VSP has already participated in MIT’s student venture accelerator DELTA V and is recognised as one of the Netherlands’ high-potential companies through the Techleap Pole Position cohort for deep tech startups. This latest round of funding led by Plural Platform included participation from BlueYard Capital and a €3.5 million grant from NXTGEN HIGHTECH, bringing the total raised by VSP to €17 million. The funding will be used to scale up the production of VSP’s tools and services and grow the operations and commercial teams.

Read the original article on EU-Startups.