Blade monitoring startup Fibersail raises €5m to reduce the cost of wind energy

Amsterdam, April 5, 2022: Rockstart, global early-stage investor, announces its investment into Fibersail, a Rockstar energy portfolio company. The wind turbine blade monitoring startup raised a €5m investment round led by FORWARD.one, a Dutch deep tech VC alongside Rockstart, Innoenergy, Caixa Capital among others, and former LM Wind Power CEO, Marc de Jong, who is stepping in as a member of the board. With this investment round and by partnering with leading turbine manufacturers and operators, Fibersail is focused on scaling the team and its customer pipeline. 

Wind energy is one of the most cost-efficient power sources worldwide, but even with a record breaking number of installations each year reaching over 743 GW of capacity in 2022, the world needs to triple the speed of installations to attain its carbon neutral goals over the next decade. To achieve this, new turbines with blades exceeding 100  meters in length, are being developed and tested. However, current blade monitoring solutions lack accuracy and are not prepared for tip displacements reaching more than 20 meters.

By using their proprietary shape sensing technology, Fibersail, unlike current solutions, is focused on the shape of the blade rather than root strain, enabling manufacturers and operators to design and operate better performing wind turbines. The Fibersail technology enables this by precisely controlling and monitoring the behavior of their blades, empowering in this way the EU vision to become climate neutral and energy independent.

With a passion for wind energy and background in high performance sailing, my entire life was spent on understanding how to generate the best energy performance by using wind power. During the first years of Fibersail, I was amazed with the lack of information regarding the conditions and operations of wind turbine blades and the multi-billion euro cost it was generating every year. Now, together with our strong team of deep and green tech investors, we are disrupting the way these wind turbines are controlled and maintained.  Pedro Pinto, Co-Founder and CEO
My passion for renewable energies has always guided my contribution towards a cleaner, more sustainable, and better world. I have spent the last ten years optimizing the way we harness energy from the wind and I know first-hand how little is known about these ever-bigger composite structures. The potential this technology brings to the industry made me step in. Initially as an investor, and now as co-founder of the company, this was a challenge I felt the need to embrace. I truly believe that together with our strong investors and industry-leading partners, the Fibersail solution will fundamentally change the way in which wind turbines are controlled and the performance is optimized. Carlos Oliveira, Co-Founder and CCO
We are extremely excited to join the Fibersail team on their journey to disrupt the wind turbine industry. Fibersail has the unique ability to accurately monitor deformation along the full length of wind turbine blades, in-situ and in real-time. We are convinced that this ability will have a profound and lasting impact on the ways in which wind turbines are designed and operated. Arjan Göbel, Partner FORWARD.one
Rockstart was one of the first investors to support the development of Fibersail’s innovative blade sensor technology. We are excited about its potential to improve performance and reduce repair costs for hundreds of thousands of wind turbines in a revolutionary way. This technology will thus make wind energy even more competitive, while providing excellent returns for asset operators who deploy their sensors. We are proud that Fibersail, Rockstart portfolio company and alumni of the Rockstart Energy program, is getting so much traction among leading wind energy players. We now continue to invest in their scaling Max ter Horst, Managing Partner Energy, Rockstart 

Fibersail was born from an idea by initial founders and sailing experts: Hugo Rocha (Olympic medalist), Vasco Serpa (Investor) and Pedro Pinto (Entrepreneur), to search for the perfect shape of sails. The idea to measure the shape and deformation of sails came alive with the development of a sliding shape sensing system based on fiber optic technology. After proving that the principle of shape sensing applied to wind turbine blades would disrupt the wind industry, a new co-founder, Carlos Oliveira, joined the team. With his knowledge and experience from the wind turbine industry, Fibersail is ready for the next chapter.

After 10 months of operational testing, Fibersail has reached an important milestone, demonstrating the ability to monitor and control blade performance and fatigue cycles throughout the asset’s lifetime. Fibersail will accelerate its journey to disrupt the way wind turbines are monitored and controlled today.

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About Fibersail

Fibersail is a data driven shape sensing technology used for the monitoring of wind turbine blades. This technology enhances the performance and reduces the costs of operation by enabling the use of blade deformation for the control of wind turbines. Founded in 2015 by initial founders, Pedro Pinto, Hugo Rocha and Vasco Serpa, and later co-founded by Carlos Oliveira, Fibersail is a mission driven company that is adding intelligence to the way wind turbines are built and operated. Fibersail is based in Porto, Portugal and Rotterdam, the Netherlands. To learn more, visit www.fibersail.com 

About FORWARD.one

FORWARD.one is a VC fund focussed on investing in high-tech start-ups and scale-ups. With a team of financial professionals and technology entrepreneurs, FORWARD.one actively supports their portfolio companies to achieve their goals and ambitions. After successfully deploying the first fund, FORWARD.one has raised its second fund to keep investing in promising high-tech entrepreneurs and their companies.

About Innoenergy

EIT InnoEnergy operates at the centre of the energy transition and is the leading innovation engine in sustainable energy, bringing the technology and skills required to accelerate the green deal and Europe’s decarbonisation goals. Recognised globally as the most active sustainable energy investor and one of the largest climate tech and renewable energy tech investors in 2020, EIT InnoEnergy backs innovations across a range of areas. These include, energy storage, transport and mobility, renewables and sustainable buildings and cities – leveraging its trusted ecosystem of 500+ partners and 24 shareholders.

The 300 portfolio companies are on track to generate €72.8 billion in revenue and save 1.1G tons of CO2e annually by 2030. Established in 2010 and supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), EIT InnoEnergy has offices across Europe and in Boston, US.

About Caixa Capital

Caixa Capital is the Venture Capital arm of Portugal's largest financial group, Caixa Geral de Depósitos, with a presence in 18 countries and with over 100 billion Euros in assets. Caixa Capital is a pioneering operator in the Portuguese market, with about 300 million euros under management and aims to support the global expansion of entrepreneurial teams and companies with significant ties to Portugal and the Portuguese market. Through the various funds it manages, Caixa Capital participates as an investor, both directly and/or through third- party funds, in the creation and development of highly innovative and sustainable businesses.

 

About Rockstart

Rockstart is an early stage investor that empowers purpose-driven founders across three domains: Energy, AgriFood and Emerging Technologies. Rockstart invests in early-stage startups and provides access to capital, market, and expertise by connecting founders with co-investors, mentors, partners, corporates and the wider Rockstart network.

Rockstart has invested in more than 260 startups and its alumni value to date is more than $1bn. Rockstart is an international team of 40+ professionals dedicated to empowering purpose-driven founders to become scalable and drive positive change on a global scale. Rockstart has notable exits such as Wercker, Bouw7, iClinic, and in 2021, 3D Hubs and Brincr.

The company has offices in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Copenhagen, Denmark and Bogota, Colombia.

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