High-Tech Gründerfonds invests in university start-up from Bochum
April 10, 2018
The start-up Zolitron Technology GmbH was able to convince the High-Tech Gründerfonds with their energy autonomous and cognitive sensors. Together with the private investor Christoph Mause, founder of the e-commerce provider ecx.io – an IBM company, the Bonn-based seed stage investor joins the circle of shareholders of Zolitron Technology GmbH. Through this investment the product development and market entry will be realized. Until now, the start-up was incubated at the Ruhr-University Bochum.
Zolitron Technology offers an energy autonomous cognitive sensor platform, that enables the world’s first scalable digitization of industry and infrastructure. The autonomous Z-Node collects measurement data, thanks to Micro-Energy-Harvesting for ten years without maintenance. This data is transmitted via Sigfox or NB-IoT to the Z-Cloud Analytics backend, where machine learning algorithms compute relevant information based on measured data.
This technology enables the ideas of the Smart City, such as Smart Waste and Smart Traffic, to be transformed beyond pilot projects into large-scale deployments that become economically feasible. The USB Bochum GmbH will accompany Zolitron’s development of the Smart Waste solution as a first user. For that purpose, the filling levels and position of containers all over Bochum are monitored to enable emptying on a demand-responsive basis.
Dr. Thorsten Zisowski, CEO of USB Bochum GmbH, is enthusiastic about the desired solution: “The cognitive approach to filling level measurement allows us additional benefits for large-scale digitization. Doing so, we would be able to see, which specific waste collection system requires emptying.
This gives us the opportunity to optimize our logistics and offer a better service to the citizens. Highly frequented collection systems can be emptied more efficiently in the future.“
Accordingly, founder and CEO of Zolitron Technology GmbH, Dr.-Ing. Arndt-Hendrik Zinn, defines the vision of the young company: “Our strength is the permanent, scalable and holistic digitization of the environment we live in. In ten years, we want to have access to a worldwide grid of sensor nodes.”
About Zolitron Technology
Zolitron Technology GmbH was founded in 2016 as a spin-off from the Ruhr-University Bochum. It is the declared goal to lift sensor-based digitization projects from small-scale pilots through the use of new technologies to large-scale deployments. Therefore, the founders have developed Micro-Energy-Harvesting, short MEH, in cooperation with Ruhr-University Bochum, MIT and Harvard University, now enabling maintenance-free energy supply of small sensors for the Internet of Things for more than ten years.
Using this technological basis, the world’s first energy and communication autonomous sensor platform was created, the Z-Node. Five unspecific sensors, including accelerometer and magnetometer, indirectly capture the environment. The raw data stream is sent via Sigfox or NB-IoT, therefore without any additional communication infrastructure, into the internet, to be more precisely the Z-Cloud Analytics Backend, where artificially-intelligent machine learning algorithms generate meaningful and commercially relevant learnings. This measurement scheme is called cognitive sensing. Zolitron aims to be the market leader for cognitive sensing until the year 2020.
As a start-up, Zolitron was able to receive multiple distinguished awards, such as the “Gründerwettbewerb – Digitale Innovation” of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy at the CeBIT 2016 in Hannover, or the first place of the 11th Private Equity Conference 2017. Also, the land of North Rhine-Westphalia has supported the foundation of the company through the competition “START-UP Hochschulausgründungen NRW” already in the year 2016.
High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) is a seed investor that finances high-potential, tech-driven start-ups. With EUR 886 million in total investment volume across three funds (EUR 272 million in HTGF I, EUR 304 million in HTGF II, and a targeted volume of EUR 310 million for HTGF III) and an international network of partners, HTGF has already helped forge close to 500 start-ups since 2005. Driven by their expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and passion, its team of experienced investment managers and start-up experts help guide the development of young companies. HTGF’s focus is on high-tech start-ups in a range of sectors, including software, media, internet, hardware, automation, health care, chemicals and life sciences.
This group also includes a number of success stories, such as Mister Spex, Rigontec, 6Wunderkinder, Next Kraftwerke and Cumulocity, as well as Juniqe, an online shop for art enthusiasts. To date, external investors have injected over EUR 1.5 billion into the HTGF portfolio via more than 1,200 follow-on financing rounds. HTGF has also successfully sold interests in almost 90 companies.
Investors in this public-private partnership include the Federal Ministry For Economic Affairs and Energy, the KfW Banking Group, and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft e.V., as well as the companies ALTANA, BASF, B.Braun, Robert Bosch, BÜFA, CEWE, Deutsche Post DHL, Dräger, Drillisch AG, EVONIK, EWE AG, Haniel, Hettich, Knauf, Körber, LANXESS, media + more venture Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG, PHOENIX CONTACT, Postbank, QIAGEN, RWE Generation SE, SAP, Schufa, Schwarz Gruppe, STIHL, Thüga, Vector Informatik and WACKER.