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The Business Magazine May 2024
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Bristol's iCOMAT raises more than £17 million to automate advanced composite manufacturing

The Business Magazine article image for: Bristol's iCOMAT raises more than £17 million to automate advanced composite manufacturing
ICOMAT
11 June 2024
ICOMAT

iCOMAT, a University of Bristol spin-out, has closed a successful Series A funding round of £17.6 million to deliver lighter transport faster and at a lower cost.

iCOMAT is one of the leading manufacturers of advanced composite structures for the aerospace and automotive industries. Leveraging its proprietary fibre-steering technology, its Rapid Tow Shearing (RTS) process means carbon fibre tapes can be used in physically curved positions without becoming damaged or defective.

Unlike traditional methods that create components by layering straight fibre layers, iCOMAT’s solution allows for the fibres to be directed precisely, optimising the structural property at any given point. This groundbreaking technology can reduce weight by up to 65 per cent compared to the latest commercial solutions. It also boasts the power to increase production rates tenfold.

The impressive investment round was led by 8VC, a technology and bio-sciences venture capitalist firm, alongside the NATO Innovation Fund. Other investor partners included Syensqo Ventures and existing iCOMAT investors, Velocity Partners VC.

Before spinning out of the university in 2019, iCOMAT took part in the Innovate UK-funded ICURe programme, as well as the Quantum Technology Enterprise Centre’s (QTEC) programme. From here, they went on to join SETsquared Bristol, participate in the SETsquared Scale-Up programme, and most recently, pitch for investment at the Global Corporate Venturing Symposium as part of the SETsquared cohort in 2023.

iCOMAT is currently working with more than 25 customers from across the aerospace, defence and automotive sectors, and has successfully delivered demonstrator parts for demanding applications including fighter aircraft panels, space launcher structures, and Formula 1 components.

To meet demand, iCOMAT is in the process of building its first production factory in Gloucester. The state-of-the-art facility will house three RTS production lines, alongside an array of other advanced processing equipment. It is anticipated that the factory will be fully operational by the end of 2024.

Dr Evangelos Zympeloudis, Founder and CEO, iCOMAT said, “Our RTS process not only offers unparalleled structural efficiency, but unlocks fully automated production workflows, akin to automotive stamping lines. We are thrilled to partner with our investors and accelerate progress towards our mission – to revolutionise transportation by delivering the lightest structures and vehicles possible.”

Alex Moore, Partner, 8VC, added that “iCOMAT is solving some of the most critical problems in materials, and the breakthroughs they’re making today will play a decisive role in the future of both combat and motability.”

Kelly Chen, Partner, NATO Innovation Fund, continued: “We’re excited about iCOMAT’s groundbreaking technology and believe they will play a critical role in building a more resilient and sustainable future. We are proud to be investing in teams that are revolutionising the transportation and defence sectors, from ground to sky to space.”


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Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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