Via Kristy Dorsey
After raising £ 3.1 million in a funding round led by investment group Archangels, a Scottish company that has built a new way to fuse the ‘miracle metal’ graphene onto a variety of materials is heading towards mass production.
A 3D graphene foam called Gii that can be applied directly to any surface in seconds at room temperature has been formed by Stirling-based Integrated Graphene. Graphene is a single carbon atom layer that is claimed to be 200 times stronger, but still lightweight and flexible than steel.
As such, in a global market that is estimated to be worth £ 1.2 billion by 2025, graphene has the ability to enhance a large range of applications. Integrated Graphene will initially target biosensing and energy storage under the leadership of Claus Marquordt, managing director, a mechanical engineer specializing in point-of-care diagnostics.
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Most of the industry is currently focused on processing graphene powder that is mixed and then incorporated into a product with a composite material such as ink or plastic. This makes it simpler to use, but it dilutes the metal’s properties.
Chemical vapor deposition (CVD), which is popular in the semiconductor industry, is the other process. This is a lengthy process, however, and not especially cost-effective.
Since Mr. Marquordt and his co-founder, Chief Scientific Officer Marco Caffio, started working on the project in 2014, this new round of investment follows £ 300,000 in seed funding from six private investors in March 2019, and a series of grants totaling £ 1.8 million. While working for the Scottish arm of Alere, the multinational point-of-care diagnostics manufacturer that was purchased by Abbott in 2016, the two met.
Archangels was backed by Par Equity, Techstart Ventures and ESM Investments in its new round of financing.
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Marquordt said, “We are very pleased with the continued support of our seed investors who have helped us develop and scale this revolutionary company from an idea to market,”
We are scaling the commercialization and development of Gii with this latest investment round. We have now successfully introduced our first product, Gii-Sens, into our human diagnostic biosensors beachhead market.
“Ultimately, this round of funding will enable us to capitalize on being the first in the world to produce a high-performance, cost-effective, application-specific 3D graphene foam that enables better products.”
28 employees are currently employed by the advanced materials company. The cash injection will be used to finance equipment to demonstrate product output at the next stage of scale and expand the commercialization of Gii.
“We invented our process by focusing on answering the question of how to achieve the desired 3DG foam performance in applications on a commercial scale and without cost barriers,” Mr. Caffio added. We achieved this by maintaining a design-for-manufacture emphasis from day one.