iCOMAT raises $22.5m to automate advanced composite manufacturing for sustainable transport

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SETsquared Bristol

iCOMAT, a SETsquared Bristol alumnus and University of Bristol spinout, has closed its Series A funding round, securing $22.5m (£17.6m) to deliver lighter transport solutions faster and at a lower cost.

The demand for faster, cleaner and more sustainable transport solutions has never been greater.

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 percent 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.

The Bristol-based company has had a long affiliation with SETsquared and its academic partners at the University of Bristol.

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 (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.

Speaking on the recent investment success, Dr Evangelos Zympeloudis, Founder and CEO of 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.”

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.”

Learn more about iCOMAT: icomat.co.uk

Find out more about SETsquared Bristol’s incubation programme

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