Startup Story: IMSystems

Machines and, in particular, robots are increasingly aiding – if not even substituting – people with their work. Yet, those machines often lack the strength and precision necessary to create real impact. Or at least that was the case until IMSystems came around.

Led by scientist Jack Schorsch, a team of four Co-Founders – including Matthew Corvers, Thibaud Verschoor and Rory Deen – are working on the Archimedes Drive, an invention in mechanical power transmission that can make any electrical engine simultaneously stronger, more precise and more efficient than anything currently on the market.

FROM A SIMPLE IDEA

The idea behind the Archimedes Drive had been evolving in Jack’s mind for years, during which he did research in the fields of prosthetics and exoskeleton design. In his work, he often faced the challenge of making those wearables small, lightweight and easy to use.

The Archimedes drive is a compact gearbox that uses traction instead of gear teeth, allowing it to make electrical engines – and the machines they power – lighter, more precise, stronger and faster than ever before.

“We took part in a course [aimed at] turning technology into a business,” Matthew recalls, where they were given a patent by a TU Delft researcher, without knowing the exact application of the invention. “We had to brainstorm it ourselves, because inventions can often be used for much more than their original application.”

A few brief months later, Jack’s Archimedes drive had proven to have a market fit, and so the team set out to launch IMSystems.

THROUGH YES!DELFT

IMSystems’ product is the first drive to use friction instead of gear teeth as a means of powering electrical engines – and it seems to come with a list of advantages. “We can get to about half the size and a quarter of the weight [of our competitors’ drives],” Matthew explains. “What’s more, we are not limited by the gear ratios and how strong we can make an electrical engine.”

With multiple subsidies and a loan already secured, IMSystems has been able to develop its first metal prototype with a gear ratio of 10.000:1, which is about 25 times more than what most drives on the market can currently achieve. A relieve for robotic companies that are waiting for decades for this kind of precision. Other than this great achievement, IMSystems developed transmissions for multiple pilot projects. E-Bikes, prosthetics and robotics are one of the few we have designed and tested so far.

The team’s progress so far, however, hasn’t been without the help of YES!Delft and their Incubation Program, which Matthew describes as fantastic. “You’re here with about 80 other companies; there are always people who have been at the point where you are, so you can just walk up to their office and discuss how they did things. Having this network is very useful.”

In 2018, IMSystems did get the opportunity to move to the incubator of RoboValley. At this point, IMSystems has a team of 12 fte and expect to grow to over 20 fte by the end of this year using the Series-A investment they are currently working on.

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NEXT STEPS

From this point on, IMSystems is looking forward to growing. They have already signed with multiple clients, and are working towards adding more to their portfolio. Focussing mainly on robotics. Expanding the team is, thus, certainly among their next steps if they want to be able to deliver timely and quality results. By the beginning of 2020, IMSystems wants to deliver their first of the shelf R&D products to different clients. A great possibility for companies who want to try out this latest technology for reduced costs.

One thing is for certain: We will sure be hearing more from IMSystems in the future.

Milestones:

January 2015 – The team came together for the Master’s course (turning technology into a business)

February 2016 – Admission to YES!Delft’s Incubation Program

June 2016 – Founded company

August 2016 – First client signed

Q1 2017 – Pilot projects prosthetic elbow and an E-bike

September 2017 – Technical milestone: Archimede Drive had 10 million input cycles

Q1 and Q2 2018 –  € 300,000 UNIIQ investment. Pilot project with industrial robot giant started and moved to RoboValley

Q3 and Q4 2018 – € 600,000,- Lucros and Innovation Quarter investment. Pilot project with second robotic tech giant started

Q2 2019 – Launch of our first Archimedes Drive development kit

Q3 2019 – Series-A investment

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