Meet The Builders And Engineers Powering Europe’s Industrial Future

This year’s list includes an impressive array of honorees working in fields ranging from lithium-ion batteries to sustainable aviation to automatic self-cleaning public toilets.

By Elisabeth Brier and Igor Bosilkovski

It’s clear Europe (and the world) is charging toward robotization at unprecedented speed. This year alone, research and advisory firm Forrester predicts that 35{64d42ef84185fe650eef13e078a399812999bbd8b8ee84343ab535e62a252847} of European industry organizations will integrate physical robotics with mainstream tech, as labor shortages in Europe force organizations to pursue robot workers to help keep business functioning.

Germany’s Roman Hölzl, 29, is capitalizing on this momentum. In 2020, he cofounded Munich-based Robco, a platform that designs low-cost robots for small and mid-sized businesses to automate repetitive manual worker tasks, such as laser engraving or palletizing. Since then, he’s secured $18.5 million in venture capital funding from investors like Sequoia Capital and billionaire Daniel Dines. Though he declined to specify the exact amount, he says Robco generated “low seven-digit revenues” in 2022, and predicts mid-seven-digit revenues in 2023.

“If we look at the phones in our pockets, the stools we’re sitting on, the rockets launched into space, those are all manufactured,” Hölzl says. “Those are products manufactured in a manual, repetitive stream use way, and what we do at Robco is we try to automate those jobs in the manufacturing sector that won’t be there anymore in a couple of years.”

Hölzl is just one of the 30 honorees featured on our 2023 30 Under 30 Europe Manufacturing & Industry list, selected by a panel of judges after a highly competitive process that involved hundreds of applicants. Judges included Sabine Klauke, chief technical officer at aerospace company Airbus; Geert van Poelvoorde, CEO of steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal Europe; Arno Held, managing partner of venture capital firm AM Ventures; and 2020 Under 30 alum Parveen Begum-Maurice, cofounder and CEO of solar-powered carports startup SolisCo.

This year’s list includes an impressive array of honorees working in fields ranging from lithium-ion batteries to sustainable aviation to automatic self-cleaning public toilets.

But the listers who were able to secure the most funding are Nicolas Cruaud, 27, and Clément Bénassy, 27, the cofounders of French startup Néolithe. Their patented fossilization process turns non-recyclable waste into mineral aggregates (or stones) for use in the construction industry. The Chalonnes-sur-Loire-based company cofounded has 130 employees and, since its inception five years ago, has raised $23 million.

Another French company working to decrease the global carbon footprint is Dioxcyle, which is building a device called an electrolyzer to convert CO2 into commodities like jet fuel, antifreeze and furniture. Cofounded by Cambridge graduate and Stanford post-doc Sarah Lamaison, 29, the Paris-based enterprise has raised $9 million in funding to date from investors including Bill Gates’ nonprofit organization Breakthrough Energy Fellows.

When it comes to accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles, U.K.-based Iranian immigrant Behnam Hormozi, 28, founded Integrals Power, which develops high-performance and reliable lithium iron phosphate powder for lithium-ion batteries. The company has raised $4 million in funded projects from the U.K. government, innovation agency Innovate U.K. and more.

This year’s list also features companies with a mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable aviation. Founded by Cambridge graduate Tobias Kahnert, 29, Electric Flytrain develops electric and hybrid-electric batteries, power electronics and motors for the aviation industry, and also has its own hybrid-powertrain product for unmanned aircrafts. The Munich-based startup has raised over $2 million.

Gallery: 30 Under 30 Europe 2023 Callouts

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One of the more unique ideas comes from Dutch company Sanitronics, which is designing and producing automatic, self-cleaning public toilet systems that are available as a stand-alone for city parks or parking lots, as a mobile unit for festivals or as a retrofit solution for restaurants. Spearheaded by self-proclaimed “Chief Toilet Officer” Coen van Houwelingen, 29, the Amsterdam-based enterprise has raised nearly $5 million.

This year’s list was edited by Elisabeth Brier and Igor Bosilkovski. For a link to our complete 2023 30 Under 30 Europe Manufacturing & Industry list, click here, and for full 2023 30 Under 30 Europe coverage, click here.


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