Eggtronic, the Italy-founded startup developing power electronics, wireless charging and data over power technology and products, has closed around $10 million in Series A funding.
Backing the company is Rinkelberg Capital — the investment fund from the founders of TomTom — and funds managed by an unnamed investment bank in Milan. It brings the total raised by Eggtronic since 2012 to $17 million.
Eggtronic says the capital will be used to develop a new integrated circuits division at the Eggtronic research laboratories as it continues along its roadmap of more efficient power transformers. Eventually, the company hopes its “capacitive” wireless charging technology will be adopted universally as a new industry standard.
Founded by CEO Igor Spinella out of Italy’s Modena — famous for its balsamic vinegar, opera heritage and Ferrari and Lamborghini sports cars — and now with offices and production facilities in the U.S., Italy and China, Eggtronic is best-known for its sleek laptop charger and stone-shaped wireless chargers.
However, it also makes various power electronics for other brands, and it is B2B, including producing ICs that other manufacturers can use in their own devices, that is the company’s longer-term and “scalable” future.
Spinella tells me that Eggtronic’s consumer and white-labeled products serve as a direct way of signalling to the market what Eggtronic is capable of and brings in revenue that can be reinvested into R&D to get to a better wireless charging future.
“We were not in California, and working in a capital-intensive field almost unknown by Italian investors, we created a pipeline able to validate us as a manufacturing and design company, invest in R&D — [including] being able to create some incredible demos of our most innovating technologies — and scale internationally,” explains Spinella.
Those demos included a capacitive wireless surface able to charge a smartphone in 2015, a TV in 2017 and two laptops connected and charging via data over power in 2020.
“These R&D demos were extremely important milestones to validate our own idea of wireless power and data,” says Spinella. [This includes] total position freedom: You can literally put every device on the desk randomly, charging and connecting them all.”
In addition, the company has been able to demonstrate high-power use-cases, and data over power that it claims can hit the same speed of a USB 3 cable but wirelessly.
“This technology has already some industrial customers, the next steps are the creation of ICs and the first retails products based on these ICs, then we can work on the adoption by a leading company,” adds the Eggtronic founder.
In the interim, the company is applying some of the same capacitive technology to power conversion for existing applications, such as Eggtronic’s laptop chargers and power bricks.
“We filed several patents in this area, starting from our capacitive power converters able to remove the transformer, increasing efficiency and reducing size,” says Spinella. “Today we have several architectures that we invented, able to cover most of the typical applications, from some tens of Watts to kW, with our own resonant architectures (capacitive, inductive and hybrid), with several proprietary control algorithms, our own ‘Power Factor Correction’ circuits, several proprietary ways to shrink the size of the components, to reduce the number of stages in series and so on.”
Meanwhile, Spinella is being advised by consumer electronics veteran Mark Gretton, who is the former CTO of TomTom and helped pioneer mobile computing at Psion. He was introduced to Eggtronic via Rinkelberg Capital, before deciding to invest and join as an advisor.
“I decided to get involved because firstly I liked and respected Igor, but also because unlike so many technology companies that come my way, the Eggtronic proposition was refreshingly simple,” Gretton tells me. “We are going to make something that is an integral part of everyone’s lives better through applying technology. There was no change of behaviour, complex business model, or solution to a problem nobody knew they had. Just designing better power electronics for everyone.”