Swiss startup raises $18m for 3D printed satellite antenna tech
SWISSto12 has raised CHF18.1m ($18m) to scale up the production and marketing of its 3D printed satellite antenna technology.
The firm, a spin off from research lab EPFL, will use the cash to ramp up marketing of its 3D-printed metal waveguides and expand its offices in the US and Israel. Investors include Swisscanto Invest, Swisscom Ventures and CNB.
SWISSto12 uses a patented process to manufacture metal-plated 3D-printed components using a complex maze of tiny conduits, each custom-built for a specific application. This allows the satellite antenna technology to be ten times lighter than all-metal versions.
“We may be a new player on the scene, but we’ve already attracted the attention of major names in the satellite and aerospace industries,” says CEO Emile de Rijk, whose PhD thesis led to the spin-off. “Our partners include Airbus Defense and Space, Thales Alenia Space, Cobham Advanced Electronic Solutions and the European Space Agency.” SWISSto12’s technology could also change the way miniature satellites and constellations, two fast-growing market segments, and the antennas fitted to airplane fuselages are designed and manufactured.
“This investment will allow us to take our business to the next level,” added de Rijk. As SWISSto12 expands its new premises in the US and Israel, it intends to begin production of complete antennas – waveguide and transmitter combined. It is also exploring some initial opportunities in terrestrial communication systems such as 5G.