Munich-based startup Proxima Fusion raises €20m seed to accelerate timeline to fusion power

Munich-based startup Proxima Fusion raises €20m seed to accelerate timeline to fusion power

Published: 10-04-2024 12:19:00 | By: Pie Kamau | hits: 1321 | Tags:

Munich-based startup Proxima Fusion, has raised €20 million in seed funding to propel the building of the first generation of fusion power plants based on quasi-isodynamic (QI) stellarators with high-temperature superconductors. Proxima Fusion’s vision is to lead Europe into a new era of clean energy, for good.

Proxima Fusion’s seed round, led by Redalpine Venture Capital, was preempted and oversubscribed, with participation from the Bavarian government-backed Bayern Kapital, German government-backed DeepTech & Climate Fonds, and the Max Planck Foundation. Existing investors, including Plural, UVC Partners, High-Tech Gründerfonds, Wilbe, and TOMORROW of Visionaries Club have doubled down on their pre-seed investments.

QI stellarators hold promise for a carbon-free, safe and effectively limitless source of energy. The science behind this class of magnetic confinement fusion devices has been the subject of research for more than six decades; however, achieving sustained and commercially viable fusion remains a challenge. In 2022, stellarator optimization results entirely disrupted the field, enabling Proxima Fusion to tackle these challenges with an engineering- and simulation-focused approach, leveraging advanced computing.

The company builds on groundbreaking results from the Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X) experiment, the world's largest stellarator at the Max Planck IPP, resulting from €1.3 billion of visionary public investment by the German Government and the European Union.

Francesco Sciortino, Co-founder and CEO, Proxima Fusion: ''Our first year of operation has exceeded all expectation. In April 2023, we hit the ground running on both engineering optimization and high-temperature superconducting magnets. One year later, we are leading Europe into a new phase of stellarator R&D, having made huge progress in integrated design with our StarFinder framework. The appetite from high-caliber strategic investors validates the quality of the team we've assembled, the groundbreaking impact of what we're aiming to achieve.''

In backing the startup, investors join forces with a team that is building on decades of peer-reviewed research, with the audacity to redefine stellarator engineering and deeptech ambition in Europe. In less than 12 months, the company has grown to more than 30 employees, attracting talent from the likes of Google, Tesla, TUM, Harvard, MIT, CentraleSupélec, and EPFL.

Harald Nieder, Physicist and General Partner, Redalpine Venture Capital: ''Fusion energy presents both incredible challenges and unprecedented opportunities, and it must be pursued to ensure a clean energy future. I’m incredibly excited to partner with Proxima Fusion’s game-changing team, setting a new standard for European deeptech moonshots.''

Benjamin Erhart, General Partner, UVC Partners‍: ''Now the key is flawless integration of the achieved scientific milestones, and first-class engineering quality. Proxima Fusion’s strengths in automated design, AI-enabled engineering, high-temperature superconducting magnets, as well as rapid team growth, give us unwavering confidence in their ability to turn steady-state fusion energy into a reality.''

Besides speeding up the development of key enabling technologies in both hardware and software domains, Proxima Fusion will use the seed funding to further expand the tea with world-class engineers and physicists, as well as to match public funding awards.