Bumblebee Power is developing High Frequency, Synchronous wireless charging products to provide automatic power charging for land-based vehicles, ranging in size from scooters to cars, mobile devices such as phones, laptops and peripherals, and autonomous vehicles such as drones and industrial materials handling.
The Bumblebee technology provides 3 times more air gap and tolerance to misalignment compared with low frequency technology.
To transform wireless charging into a practical, efficient and safe technology.
Seeking to raise £700k for a 12-15-month runway, of which £500k is committed, including £250k from Imperial.
Explain what your venture does.
Bumblebee Power is developing High Frequency, Synchronous wireless charging products to provide automatic power charging for land-based vehicles, ranging in size from scooters to cars, mobile devices such as phones, laptops and peripherals, and autonomous vehicles such as drones and industrial materials handling. The Bumblebee technology provides 3 times more air gap and tolerance to misalignment compared with low frequency technology. This greater spatial freedom transforms wireless charging into a practical, efficient and safe technology.
What stage is your business?
Initial validation of tech or plan/mvp.
Describe your advisers.
Capital advisers, Namier capital. Various HNW and experienced entrepreneurs.
Give an overview of your startup's financing history.
Academic Research Grants of c£5m, Pathways to Impact funding c£200k. Seed funding of £500k committed another £200k in negotiation. This funding is planned to last c12-15 months.
Explain the ownership structure of your company.
Academic founders and management 60.9%, Imperial (Inc ICIF) 15.1%, HNW Group 7.4%, Share Options 10% Other 6.6%.
How many employees do you have?
2.0 FTE Academic Founders (CTO and Senior Engineer), 0.5 rising to 1.0 FTE (Commercial Lead), 0.5 FTE Part-time academic founders (various engineer skills). 1.0 FTE to be recruited post investment (Embedded engineer).
Please provide the name of a lawyer, who will represent you for the upcoming investment round.
Rob Hayes & Elizabeth Yell, Osborne Clarke LLP, Reading.
How much money are you seeking to raise in the current round?
Do you have any existing commitments to the current round?
£500k plus 4 other strategic/institutional investors in discussion for the remaining £200k. We are planning a submission for an Innovate UK grant which, if successful will could be worth c£500k gross Bumblebee to provide c £90k in-kind funding.
Explain why you are raising finance.
First field trials for a wireless system for e-mobility vehicles. Partnerships have been secured with; o Voi for e-scooter wireless charging o Pashley for their e-bike and dock o Charge Enterprises to provide wireless capabilities to their scooter charging infrastructure - Increased market awareness through a strategic publicity plan - Relationship building with key players in other target markets, i.e. EVs Funding is planned to last c12-15 months. Staff costs £280k, Project related overheads/consumables c£140k, Fixed overheads £280k.
Please explain the history of your venture.
Prof Paul Mitcheson, Dr Yates have worked together for many years and in the last 6-8 years have focussed on wireless power technology. Brian Graves had previously worked with Paul and David to file the underpinning patents. Dave and Paul had received significant academic and industrial attention to their novel IP and were keen to commercialise it via a spin-out company. Brian Graves started working with Paul and Dave to develop the business plan in 2020. Interest from Voi scooters and Pashley Cycles to adopt the technology developed during the second half of 2020 and Seed fund raising started in earnest in Nov 2020.
Please explain the longer term, future vision for the Company
After the initial e-mobility field trials we will develop a mvp/preproduction prototype which will be used to attract first customers during 2022. We hope to be revenue generating in 2022/2023. Thus funding will be required to scale product in this market sector. In parallel we will start building collaboration projects with EV manufacturers to demonstrate the capability of the Bumblebee technology in car-based field trials. We would expect the Series A investment to be in the range of £1.5 to £2.0m. Eventually we expect to have a business which is selling hardware to micro-mobility market sectors and licence technology to the automotive sector and the IT industry.
Explain the core technologies and/or service propositions of your venture.
Wireless chargers and products must conform to the Qi standard for phones and SAE standard for cars. Competitors have focused on developing kHz, induction technology (Low Frequency) to meet these standards. Inductive wireless systems consist of 3 main elements; - a mains interface, - a transmit circuit composed of a transmit coil and receive coil (electrical energy is transmitted through a transmit coil to create a magnetic field between itself and the receive coil) - and a receive circuit, converting the received electrical energy to a form of current and voltage required to power the receiving device. Existing Low Frequency technologies require precise alignment and a short air gap between the transmit and receive circuits (compared with coil size) to meet efficiency and safety requirements. Low Frequency solutions require substantially larger coils (e.g. SAE standard for cars). These are too bulky to integrate into most applications. Bumblebee has developed new circuit designs for the transmit and receive circuits which operate at MHZ frequencies (High Frequency). This technology allows both the gap between the coils, and tolerance to mis-alignment, to increase by 3 times that of Low Frequency kHz systems. The technology can also deliver the whole power range needed to charge everything from mobile phones to cars, using lightweight receivers which are easy to integrate, opening up a wide range of new applications.
Does your commercial strategy rely on intellectual property assets?
The Bumblebee IP consist of four patent families under exclusive licence from Imperial College to the Company. 1 Wireless Power Transfer System Load Independent Class EF Inverter with Constant Current Output. Allows variation in coupling and load whilst maintaining soft switching and constant current Granted US and Europe Pending elsewhere including USA, Europe, China, Japan, Canada, India, HK, Australia 2 Inductive Power Transfer Class E rectifier. Low deviation reactance under load variation. Hybrid topology gives additional degree of freedom to enable "impedance matching" and low deviation to be achieved simultaneously Pending USA, Europe, China, Japan, Canada, India, HK, Australia 3 Transmitter and receiver circuitry for power converter systems "Barracuda". Direct AC mains connection allows removal of conversion stage, enhancing system efficiency by 5% Pending USA 4 Wireless Power Transmission System and Method Foreign and Live Object Detection, machine learning based foreign object classification based on inverter drain waveform Pending USA, Europe, China, Japan, Canada, India, HK, Australia.
What commercial progress have you made?
Bumblebee has made good initial progress with key commercial partners. In December 2020 Bumblebee technology was integrated into a Voi scooter (Europe's leading e-scooter sharing company operating over 4m scooters). An MoU was signed committing Voi to field trials, initially as a point-to-point scheme based at Warwick university's campus. Voi will provide 6 scooters and Bumblebee will retrofit receive units on the scooters and provide appropriate transmit pads. This is due commence by May/June 2021, dependent on closing the investment round. As a result of the press coverage created by Voi, Bumblebee was approached by Charge Enterprises, (a US-based e-scooter charging infrastructure supplier) seeking partnership. Bumblebee is considering a corporate investment from Charge and will be testing a High Frequency charging system in their infrastructure in Q2 of 2021. Charge operates over 6,000 e-scooter charging points in the US and Europe. Bumblebee also have an active partnership with Pashley Cycles. Pashley Cycles, are a UK based bike OEM supplier. They have provided bikes for the TfL Santander scheme in London, as well Serco schemes in Edinburg and Birmingham. Bumblebee are working with Pashley to deliver a wireless charging system for use in docked e- bike hire schemes. Prototypes will start to be built in April 2021. Initial discussions have started with CETEK (also interested in a corporate investment), a Swedish-based provider of battery charging equipment including plug-in street charging infrastructure for EVs.