XRnanotech: a Spin-off is launched!
XRnanotech, the latest PSI spin-off, is working on nanostructured X-ray optics that make the smallest things - the world of the nanometer - visible. Founded only a few months ago, the start-up already has numerous successes to its credit and is already in talks with its first customers and investors.
The technology behind the start up
PSI Fellow Dr Florian Döring, a physicist, is the founder of XRnanotech, a spin-off from PSI and has led the company since then in the role of CEO. The extraordinary X-ray optics that the young company develops and produces can be used in various high-tech applications such as imaging, microchip inspection, drug research or in the analysis of various materials.
There is a worldwide demand for nanostructured optics, as Döring explains - wherever high-energy beams need to be focused on the smallest samples. With its products, XRnanotech addresses international customers from research and development as well as the high-tech industry. Due to the rapid developments in the field of X-ray systems, the market for these products is growing rapidly and XRnanotech has the vision of becoming the world market leader in this field. Florian Döring was thus able to convince the jury of the PSI Founder Fellowship Programme to recommend him for the fellowship and he received a grant of CHF 150,000 with the aim of founding a start-up based on his business idea.
The path to the spin-off
But how does it actually happen that a physicist from basic research embarks on an entrepreneurial career path? The interest in entrepreneurship began early during the studies of the motivated young entrepreneur. This led him to complete an MBA immediately after completing his doctorate in the field of nanotechnology at the Georg-August University in Göttingen, Germany. The foundation for his entrepreneurial career had been laid. In 2017, Döring joined the the X-ray Optics and Applications group led by Dr Christian David in the Micro- and Nanotechnology Laboratory at the Paul Scherrer Institute. Here he continued working on the development of X-ray optics. When he heard about the PSI Founder Fellowship Programme, which supports talented scientists on their way to setting up their own company, he did not hesitate and applied with his promising business idea - with success.
The company picks up speed
A few months later, Florian Döring, supported by the PSI Technology Transfer team, was ready to found the spin-off XRnanotech. Since then, the start-up has already received numerous honours and awards. From the "Hello Tomorrow Global Challenge", the start-up was awarded the title of "Deep Tech Pioneer" and thus as one of the most promising projects in the field of DeepTech. XRnanotech then went on to receive an additional CHF 150,000 from the third stage of VentureKick to help drive the next steps in the business development and market launch of the company’s X-ray optics products. The "Swiss Business Incubation of CERN Technologies" funding programme provided a further CHF 50,000 - and initiated support for XRnanotech from CERN for its further development. Yet another success was achieved through the award of a grant of 150,000 CHF from the Gebert Rüf Foundation. With this financial support, it has been possible to recruit the company’s first employees and build up an initial team. XRnanotech's most recent award is support from the ESA (European Space Agency) BIC Switzerland start-up funding programme, which brings the spin-off a further 200,000 EUR, as well as coaching from the ESA network.
The next steps
In recent months, the company, which is based at Park Innovaare in Villigen, has been able to build and expand its network and is currently in talks with a number of potential investors. After XRnanotech was able to establish several important partnerships and win its first customers in Europe, the young company is now planning to address the American and Asian markets. We continue to keep our fingers crossed for Florian Döring and are excited about the further development of the spin-off XRnanotech!