Success for RWTH Start-Up at Business Competition

22/04/2021

A team from RWTH’s Institute für Textiltechnik (ITA) took 3rd place in the Rice University Business Plan Competition in Texas, the largest competition of its kind in the world.

  FibreCoat Copyright: FibreCoat The FibreCoat team – Robert Brüll, Richard Haas and Alexander Lüking (from left)

More than 440 student-led start-ups from around the world applied to compete in the 2021 Rice Business Plan Competition the world’s ‘richest’ and largest student start-up competition. It is hosted by Rice University in Houston, Texas, USA.

Together with 53 other teams, RWTH’s FibreCoat team made it to the final round and was invited to present its business model in front of a jury of venture-capital and investor judges. In their pitch, the FibreCoat team succeeded in convincing the jury of their business venture and were awarded third prize, which comes with a prize money of 50,000 US dollars.

At the RBPC, which took place online this year, the start-up company from Aachen – the only European team to make it to the finals – also received the TiE Houston Angel Group Investment Prize worth 100,000 US dollars and the Best Hard Tech Elevator Pitch award from the Mercury Fund, worth 500 US dollars.

Low-Cost High-Performance Composite Fibers

FibreCoat GmbH manufactures low-cost high-performance composite fibers using a highly productive spinning technology, such as glass fibers with a polymer sheath or basalt fibers with an aluminum sheath.

With the help of a technology developed at RWTH, the company is capable of coating the individual filaments directly in the manufacturing process. It achieves a production speed of over 1,500 meters per minute as well as a completely homogeneous sheath. FibreCoat launched its first product, AluCoat, in January 2021. The resulting fibers are ten times cheaper than comparable conductive fibers, which are currently in high demand for applications in the areas of electric mobility or electromagnetic shielding.

The start-up was founded in February 2020. In the same year, the team won the RWTH Spin-off Award, came in second at the Aachen Technology and Entrepreneurship Conference (ATEC X) and at the AC2 start-up competition, received the "Science Start-Up" award from the Falling Walls Foundation, achieved first place in the NUK Business Plan competition, and made it onto the list of the top 50 start-up companies in Germany.