Free Piston Engines eliminate the entire mechanical drivetrain of a conventional engine, replacing this with software-controlled linear electrical machines that allow ultra-efficient combustion cycles to be developed.
Free Piston Engines are a clean and efficient compact power source, capable of operating on a variety of renewable or fossil fuels.
This technology has been around for a while, but recently we have seen a wave of investment in the sector, with companies such as Aquarius and Etagen raising over $150m in the past few years.
Despite this, no company has achieved the necessary electrical machine performance and motion control capabilities for automotive-scale Free Piston Engines to take off... until now.
Based in Sheffield, Libertine has developed a world-leading platform technology that solves this problem.
More importantly, the company and its early investors expect Free Piston Engines using their platform, will replace conventional engines en-masse, in the near future - a vision shared by a growing number of global equipment businesses.
In the past 6 months Libertine has been approached by three such Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) including two major automotive businesses who need a control platform solution for their Free Piston Engine development plans.
Libertine has 28 patents around its unique technology, as well as commercial relationships with pioneering Free Piston Engine developers including PETRONAS the Malaysian multinational oil and gas giant, and Israeli Aquarius Engines.
Libertine signed its first technology license earlier this year and is currently reporting 80-100% annual revenue growth.
This commercial traction is not surprising, given the numerous benefits Free Piston Engines offer over conventional engines - higher efficiency; lower emissions; compact format; lower maintenance; better fuel-flexibility; lower vibration; lower noise; and oil-free operation.
With all these advantages, Libertine’s platform technology is set to deliver huge benefits across a multitude of industries - motor vehicles, renewable technologies, and the oil and gas sector to name a few.
In fact, the addressable market that Libertine is tapping into is in excess of USD $100 Billion.
The company has already raised £4.0m of seed capital, including £1.3m of grant funding, and last year generated revenues of £300k. They are now looking to raise up to £700k on a pre-money valuation of £5m, prior to raising their USD $10m Series A round next year.
Shadow Foundr has been allocated £250k of this £700k, with the remainder coming from existing investors and Venture Capitalist, Mercia Technologies.
Existing investors include Sir Robin Saxby, the first CEO of ARM Holdings, which he built to a market capitalisation of more than USD $10 Billion; and Mercia Technologies, which has already invested £650k in the company.
Libertine management is targeting an exit value in excess of £150m by 2024, which would provide investors with a return in excess of 26x.
Libertine’s platform technology will accelerate the global adoption of hybrid electric vehicles, and will help make decentralised power generation the norm, bringing clean, reliable and affordable power to wherever it is needed and transforming the lives of millions of people.
An opportunity exists for Shadow Foundr investors to invest alongside (and on the same terms) as a well-known VC, in a company that has become a world-leader in its field.