Thermoelectric generators from printing machines: fresh capital for Karlsruhe-based otego GmbH
January 9, 2018
Energy self-sufficiency for sensors and IoT devices
The pioneering method of Karlsruhe-based start-up otego GmbH for the production of thermoelectric generators (TEG) has made its mark on investors. otego, a spin-off of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), raised a seven-figure sum in seed funding by the close of its first round of financing. Among the financing consortium are High-Tech Gründerfonds, LBBW Venture Capital GmbH and Vector Venture Capital GmbH. otego’s corporate development aim is to mass produce TEGs and establish the product on the market.
The company’s TEGs are smaller than a sugar cube and convert heat directly into electric power as soon as there is a condition of differences in temperature. otego has succeeded in making thermoelectric generators fit for mass-market production through the use of innovative materials and large-scale industrial production processes. Many of the countless devices and sensors which are connected to each other as part of the Internet of Things will in future be able to use heat sources as sources of electric power, meaning that they will no longer need batteries or power cables. otego CEO Frederik Lessmann says: “Our TEGs have been proven in operation; the production process has been tested and is scalable. Our focus is now on establishing ourselves in interesting market sectors. We are targeting OEM and sales partnerships in the fields of sensor technology and Industry 4.0.”
At otego, development across the entire value chain is in house. This includes material synthesis, electronics development, production using roll-to-roll printing machines and the company’s very own patented origami folding process for printed foils. Printable semiconductor materials are printed in standard facilities on ultra-thin foils, in a similar way to automated label printing. otego exclusively uses materials that are free of heavy metals, thus enabling environmentally friendly disposal.
Yann Fiebig from High-Tech Gründerfonds believes there is great potential in establishing an independent energy supply for the Internet of Things: “The industrial production process will play an essential role in the success of the product, since it is scalable and therefore fit for the mass market. We are also encouraged by the four really great entrepreneurs that make up otego,” Fiebig adds. Christoph Sagemann from LBBW Venture is also impressed by the professionalism with which the team of four founders have approached the subject of energy harvesting: “At LBBW Venture, we see huge opportunities for otego to achieve what those before them have been unable to.” Uwe Gerlinger from Vector Venture Capital adds: “otego will become the market leader in this field. There is potential for major synergies in the areas of printing processes for plastic foils and printable semiconductors.”
otego, a spin-off of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), develops innovative thermoelectric generators (TEGs) to provide an independent energy supply for wireless sensors and actuators. The technology, developed within the framework of the leading-edge Forum Organic Electronics cluster, converts heat into electric power and combines cost-efficient materials with large-scale industrial production processes. This makes otego the first manufacturer to produce TEGs which can be used for mass-market applications. Prior to the recently completed financing round, otego received a two-year funding commitment as part of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy’s (BMWi) EXIST Transfer of Research programme.
About LBBW Venture
LBBW Venture Capital GmbH, a subsidiary of LBBW, is the “Center of Competence” for the bank’s Venture Capital and Technology Investments division. It has been offering venture capital financing for technology companies in the industrial technology, IT, and life science sectors since 1998. To date, over 60 companies have been supported.
LBBW Venture Capital GmbH
Königstraße 10 C
Tel: +49 711 305 8920 0
About Vector Venture
As a 100% subsidiary of Vector Informatik, VVC Vector Venture Capital GmbH supports young companies in their first steps towards economic independence. VVC evaluates the potential of business ideas in a selection process and provides young entrepreneurs with the support they need. This ranges from financial participation, to the provision of workplace infrastructure, to the mediation of contacts and presentation possibilities as part of events and congresses.
Vector Venture Capital GmbH
Tel: +49 711-80670-0
About High-Tech Gründerfonds
Launched in 2005, High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) is a powerful engine that drives the success of high-tech start-ups. With EUR 886 million in total investment volume across three funds (EUR 272 million – HTGF I; EUR 304 million – HTGF II; and a targeted volume of EUR 310 million HTGF III) and an international network of partners, HTGF has already financed almost 500 start-ups. Armed with expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and passion, the experienced team of investment managers and start-up experts guide top companies on their journey from launch to success. HTGF focuses on high-potential start-ups active in the sectors of software, media, internet, hardware, energy and automation, life sciences (medical technology, diagnostics, biotechnology) and chemicals.
Investors in this public-private partnership include the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the KfW Banking Group and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft e.V., as well as a number of well-known companies active in the industry, science and media spheres.
High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH
Tel: +49 228 823001-00