Tailwind for start-ups: igus participates in the HTGF IV

July 13, 2022

motion plastics specialist invests in innovative ideas in Germany as a business location

Exciting innovations created by young start-ups and established companies spring up all over Germany every day. To bring both worlds together, promote groundbreaking developments and cooperate to develop new technologies, igus offers young founders financial backing: the motion plastics specialist from Cologne participates as an investor in the new high-tech start-up fund IV (HTGF IV).

If a green-grey cleaning robot is soon seen making its rounds autonomously in a shopping centre or an industrial and logistics hall, it will be the CR700. The eye-catching vehicle with lubrication-free and maintenance-free plain bearing technology from igus on board is a technical innovation from Adlatus Robotics. The Ulm-based start-up succeeded in entering the market in 2017 - thanks to a financial injection from the High-Tech Start-Up Fund (HTGF), a joint fund of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, KfW Capital and private investors. "Germany is the leader in Europe regarding the number of patent applications. The market needs this innovative strength, and we want to help new ideas reach market maturity and then continue to grow", says igus CEO Frank Blase. The Cologne-based company is therefore involved in the new fund HTGF IV as an investor. "For us, this commitment is an excellent opportunity to establish proximity to founders, support disruptive technologies at an early stage and strengthen Germany as a location for innovation."

igus develops and promotes pioneering projects

igus is active around the world, and there no longer a stranger in the start-up scene. Many high-performance plastics are used in the innovations. igus is also constantly in conversation with creative founders through internal start-ups, such as 3D printing or low-cost robotics. New exciting ideas are promoted with products and supported by igus know-how. One example is the igus:bike presented at the Hannover Messe as the world's first urban bike made from recycled plastic. The start-up MTRL, which has already successfully brought 400 bicycles with plastic frames and wheels onto the roads in the Netherlands, will be the first partner to start production and sale by the end of this year. In Germany, the market launch starts at the beginning of 2023. Further versions, such as an e-bike, are planned in the future. Also, the solid plastic bicycle will be available both as a version made of new plastic and as one that is 100% recycled. MTRL plans local manufacturing facilities around the world near plastic landfills.

HTGF has already supported over 670 start-ups

By investing in HTGF, igus is part of one of the most successful and strongest investor and start-up networks in Europe. The HTGF IV seed fund will focus on the areas of digital tech, industrial tech, chemistry and life sciences. As an industry and technology expert, igus will play an active role in the evaluation and development of start-ups. HTGF was first introduced in 2005. At that time, representatives of the Federal Ministry of Economics and industry experts founded a working group. Their goal was to revive the market for start-up financing, which was completely idle. They were successful. Today, HTGF supports young companies with a volume of €895.5 million spread over three funds. Fund IV now adds more than €400 million. In addition to BMWK and KfW Capital, investors include companies such as Altana, Bosch, Haniel and SAP. Together, the funders have helped more than 670 start-ups become businesses since 2005. However, it's not just about money. Start-up experts and experienced investment managers accompany the founders with know-how and passion. HTGF's success stories include online eyewear retailer Mister Spex, software producer 6Wunderkinder and virtual power plant operator Next Kraftwerke.


igus GmbH develops and produces motion plastics. These lubrication-free, high-performance polymers improve technology and reduce costs wherever things move. In energy supplies, highly flexible cables, plain and linear bearings as well as lead screw technology made of tribo-polymers, igus is the worldwide market leader. The family-run company based in Cologne, Germany, is represented in 35 countries and employs 4,900 people across the globe. In 2021, igus generated a turnover of €961 million. Research in the industry's largest test laboratories constantly yields innovations and more security for users. 234,000 articles are available from stock and the service life can be calculated online. In recent years, the company has expanded by creating internal startups, e.g. for ball bearings, robot drives, 3D printing, the RBTX platform for Lean Robotics and intelligent "smart plastics" for Industry 4.0. Among the most important environmental investments are the "chainge" programme – recycling of used e-chains - and the participation in an enterprise that produces oil from plastic waste (Plastic2Oil).

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