Industrya's first investment: VOCSens raises €2.5 million to deploy its environmental camera that reveals invisible gas molecules
The Walloon start-up "VOCSens" raises €2.5 million to deploy its network of disruptive gas microsensors "new concept of environmental camera
- Industrya, Innovation Fund, VIVES IUF, W.IN.G (SRIW) and Invest.BW invest in VOCSens to accelerate the development of the disruptive technology of this Walloon start-up, a UCLouvain spin-off.
- VOCSens has developed an environmental camera that reveals invisible gas molecules.
- What's new? The device is very small, consumes almost no energy and costs up to 50 times less than its competitors.
- The potential is enormous: (petro)chemistry, water purification and recycling, industrial safety, smart cities and buildings, disease monitoring, detection of rotten food in our fridges, etc.
VOCSens raises €2.5 million in seed funding in order to industrialise its gas microsensors. The objective? The aim is to commercialise its micro gas sensors in the chemical and petrochemical, recycling and smart city sectors by the second half of 2022. Five investment funds have joined in the financing: Industrya, Innovation Fund, VIVES IUF, W.IN.G (SRIW) and Invest.BW. They fully support VOCSens' mission to contribute to better environmental monitoring and safer and more efficient industrial processes.
The company has developed multi-pixel sensors, such as those found in mobile phones, which convert signals related to the presence of gases into electrical signals, which are then converted into concentration values by artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms. These tiny sensors incorporate polymeric and nanocomposite materials that react differently to different gases. The process is patented.
"The deployment of autonomous measurement solutions, providing qualified and reliable data is a major challenge in the digitalisation of industry," summarises Thomas Walewyns, co-founder and CEO of VOCSens. "Gas & environmental sensors are the first links in the value chain, and must meet these constraints of autonomy, quality and reliability. Minimising their size and cost, as well as their durability, are also essential criteria in view of the tens of billions of connected objects that will be part of our environment by 2030."
The ecosystem offered by the consortium of investors provides the company with important initial growth opportunities in its target markets, both in Belgium and in Europe, and enables it to strengthen its partnerships with Industry 4.0 companies.
"VOCSens' multi-field approach and the characteristics of their devices convinced us. The field of sensors for the Internet of Things (IoT) is booming, with a rapidly growing demand. We believe that VOCSens has the potential to become one of the leaders in gas microsensors", explains Thibaud Le Séguillon, CEO of Industrya.
For its part, W.IN.G, after having invested from the start of the project in 2019, is delighted to be able to cement this second stage of the start-up's development. "We are very happy with the round of financing we have gathered around VOCSens. It is a fine illustration of an academic/industrial/financial and public/private partnership aimed at deploying a cutting-edge technology that meets concrete environmental and industrial challenges," says Nicolas Dhaene, General Manager of W.IN.G.
Unveiling the invisible through its innovative technology is, according to VOCSens, the first step to undertake responsible environmental actions, and to participate in the major ecological and economic challenges of our societies and future generations.
The result of more than 15 years of research in the university laboratories of UCLouvain and multiple collaborations (ELEN department, ICTEAM), the VOCSens spin-off is developing a new concept of environmental camera, EnviCam®, allowing to see the invisible, these chemical and biochemical molecules that surround us. The company has developed a manufacturing process, CMOSEnvi™, fully compatible with the CMOS technology found in the electronic chips of our daily lives.
Founded in February 2019, it is based in Louvain-la-Neuve at the European Business and Innovation Centre (CEI Louvain).