Cash prize for polymer pioneers

Start-ups

Published Mar 15, 2013

Mercene Labs has won the 2013 Ingemar Croon Award from KTH Royal Institute of Technology’s Greenhouse Labs. The pioneering firm founded in 2012 is behind an advanced polymer solution with great potential.

As well as being granted this honour, Mercene Labs will receive EUR 240,000 and the opportunity to take its place in the KTH Royal Institute of Technology’s Greenhouse Labs incubator laboratory.

Mercene Labs CEO Fredrik Carlborg says: “The Ingemar Croon Award means so much to us. We can employ more people and enable the company to grow. Today, we have a concept and now we can take that to the next level by making prototypes. The award and the prize money will also allow us to test our potential markets systematically.”

He says the opportunity to take its place in KTH’s Greenhouse Labs will bring the firm closer to other start-ups working in similar areas.

“It’s a good, innovative environment and it gives us a good network of contacts. And let’s not forget all the great cutting-edge labs,” Carlborg says.

Describing his company’s product, Carlborg says: “We develop a firm, dry and mouldable plastic material that enables the use of powerful epoxy chemistry in entirely new applications. First, you can shape the material as you like, and then you can activate the epoxy to bond it strongly with the base layer. You could call it a material platform and a development of epoxy adhesive.”

Carlborg says the material is found appealing in those markets involved in the integration of heterogeneous materials. Typical applications are found in the electronics industry: in packaging for components, for example. Micro-patterned plastic details are often an integral part of this packaging, and these are glued onto a silicon base layer – a difficult process.

CTO Tommy Haraldsson says: “With our material, you get a plastic component with the correct shape and qualities, but which has the adhesive incorporated into the actual plastic. In this way, our material enables quicker, cheaper processes. One of its possible applications is in LEDs (light-emitting diodes), where a plastic lens can easily be attached to a diode without the use of liquid glue. This means you can skip a complete stage in the process, as you avoid having to glue the LED lens to the component. So potting microelectronic components in this way is just one of our niches.”

Carlborg says the aim is to turn Mercene Labs into a manufacturing company, and they are already in contact with major players within several industries, where the polymer platform can be used to overcome important, unresolved problems.

In granting the company the Ingemar Croon Award, the jury issued the following statement:

Through their research at KTH, the company’s founders have developed a new type of technology platform within the polymer-materials domain. The technology has commercially accessible foundations which – through the application of various unique combinations of different polymerisation processes – can create materials with qualities that can be put to good use in a wide range of areas. The Mercene Labs team has identified several applications for this technology – applications with massive potential worldwide – and has already established promising contacts with potential customers. Receiving the Ingemar Croon Award will make it easier for the company to ensure its own commercial breakthrough, and given the team’s expressed ambition of turning Mercene Labs into a successful growth company, the operation will also be able to contribute to Greenhouse Labs’ dynamic development environment.

Ingemar Croon Award: the facts

The Ingemar Croon Award was established in 2012 at KTH’s Greenhouse Labs incubator lab with a donation of SEK 10 million. The award is named after Ingemar Croon, former associate professor and industry professor at KTH. The winner of the annual Ingemar Croon Award receives SEK 2 million; this financial backing creates a unique opportunity for promising new companies to develop their business ideas at an early stage.

Mercene Labs AB receives regular business-development support through business incubator and KTH partner STING (Stockholm Innovation & Growth).

For more information, contact: Fredrik Carlborg on +46 (0) 70-543 01 65 / fredrik.carlborg@mercenelabs.com; Tessie Borg, Director of Greenhouse Labs, on +46 (0) 8-790 82 46 / tessie@kth.se; or Mikael Lindström (Dean at the School of Chemical Science and Engineering at KTH) on +46 (0) 70-373 90 93 or mil@kth.se.

Peter Larsson