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Imperial startup ‘transforming wireless charging’ raises £750,000 seed funding

Bumblebee Power has raised funds to accelerate commercial development of its transformational wireless charging technology

Bumblebee Power, the developer of lightweight, high frequency wireless charging technologies for transport and mobility applications, founded by a team of academics from Imperial College London’s Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, has raised a £750,000 seed round from investors including the Imperial College Innovation Fund.

Bumblebee was founded by engineers Dr David Yates, and Professor Paul Mitcheson with commercial support from Brian Graves with the aim of transforming wireless charging into a practical, efficient and safe technology suitable for multiple applications, including e-bikes, e-scooters, drones and electric vehicles. Its proprietary technology is licensed exclusively from Imperial. In addition to transport related applications Bumblebee’s technology could provide automatic power charging for mobile devices such as laptops, phones and peripherals.

As the use of electric vehicles and transport systems increases – the market is set to exceed 230 million electric vehicles on the roads globally by 2030 – solutions are required to reduce reliance on battery-swapping and cable-charging. These hindrances may limit the applications for electrification because they are not always practical to implement or desirable for customers.

"Wireless power transfer is an essential enabling technology to unlock the power of mass electrification."

Brijesh Roy, Seed Investment Manager at Imperial College London

Bumblebee Power has developed highly efficient wireless charging technology that, when compared with existing solutions, offers three times the size of air gap, three times the tolerance to misalignment and inter-operability between different vehicles from a common transmit unit. Combined with its low weight (less than 20% of similar products) and significantly lower cost, Bumblebee believes its technology could create a step-change in a range of areas.

“Bumblebee provides the only wireless charging solution that delivers the lightweight, wide power range and freedom of position performance that users really want. Our offering will transform wireless charging from a nice-to-have to a must-have technology across multiple markets,” said Dr David Yates, Co-founder of Bumblebee Power and co-inventor of the underlying technology.

The funds raised in this seed round will support initial field trials for a wireless charging system for e-mobility vehicles, scale-up to 7kW power capability and product development for a number of potential customer requirements.  

Brijesh Roy, Seed Investment Manager at Imperial, said: “Wireless power transfer is an essential enabling technology to unlock the power of mass electrification, and I am delighted that Imperial College Enterprise Funds has invested in Bumblebee Power, an Imperial startup well-placed to make substantial progress in this area.  As well as being underpinned by leading-edge research, Bumblebee has taken a customer-focused approach to its development to date, resulting in practical technologies and traction with partners.”

Bumblebee Power and Imperial College London

Bumblebee’s founders have developed a wealth of technical expertise in their work at Imperial, especially through the College’s Wireless Power Lab. Dr David Yates, Bumblebee’s co-founder, took part in Imperial’s Techcelerate programme, which supports researchers at Imperial to develop customer insights and market understanding for their technology venture.

“Bumblebee has benefited from Imperial’s extensive ecosystem for supporting entrepreneurship and university startups, all the way from initial IP protection, to funding accelerator programs, and providing business advice.”

Professor Paul Mitcheson, CSO at Bumblebee Power

Bumblebee and the Academic founders worked closely with Imperial’s Enterprise Division to protect and license intellectual property arising from their Research in College and develop an initial commercialisation strategy including engagement with Imperial Technology Experts (ITES). 

Dr Rebeca Santamaria-Fernandez, Director of Industry Partnerships and Commercialisation, Faculty of Engineering, said, “It is a privilege of my role to work with many inspirational startups. We have worked with Professor Mitcheson and the Bumblebee team for a number of years now, and I’m delighted to see the company building on its impressive commercial traction to date with this investment round.”