VSParticle began life as a long-term research project in TU Delft where Aaike van der Vugt (CEO) worked on it 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 the material discovery technology into an R&D tool for universities and organisations. The company was founded in 2014.
VSP claims it can significantly reduce the time it takes for new material development, from what can take as long as fifteen years, it can reduce it to only one. ‘The 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.’
VSP says it’s 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 optimisation of the production process and scaling towards mass production’. Read A Scalable High-Throughput Deposition and Screening Setup Relevant to Industrial Electrocatalysis to get a grasp on that.
The firm has just raised €14.5 million to scale the technology and grow its operations and commercial teams. The round was led by Plural Platform and includes BlueYard Capital. It also received a €3.5 million grant from NXTGEN Hightech, bringing the total raised by VSP to €18 million.
“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,” says van der Vugt.
VSP says its technology will enable the decarbonisation of 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'. Citing that Europe intends to produce 10 million tons of green hydrogen a year by 2030 creating massive demand for increasingly efficient catalysts.
“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,” says Sten Tamkivi, who led the investment round at Plural Platform.