European Innovation Council backs hyperTunnel

The European Innovation Council (EIC), Europe’s flagship innovation programme to identify, develop and scale up breakthrough technologies and game-changing innovations, has selected hyperTunnel to receive a substantial financial award under its EIC Accelerator scheme. Funding of 1.88 million Euros will be used to complete the development of hyperTunnel’s advanced swarm robotics underground construction platform, which is set to make tunnel building faster, more affordable, more sustainable and with less risk.  

EIC Accelerator offers start-ups and SMEs grants of up to €2.5 million combined with equity investments through the EIC Fund. In addition to financial support, all projects benefit from a range of Business Acceleration Services that provide access to leading expertise, corporates, investors and ecosystem actors.  

Over a thousand start-ups and SMEs applied for funding under the scheme in the 2022 application round and approximately half of these were invited to submit full applications for evaluation by independent experts. 266 successful companies were then invited to pitch in front of a jury of investors and business experts before 74 companies were finally selected earlier this month to receive funding. Click here to read the EIC’s announcement. 

hyperTunnel prevailed at every stage of the selection process because, as well as being a high-potential project with limited risk for future fundraising, its revolutionary construction methods offer solutions to previously unsolvable problems, bringing big benefits for environmental sustainability and health and safety. Its use of a swarm of thousands of low-cost robots (‘hyperBots’) allows work to be done in many locations at once. This means it takes the same amount of time to build a tunnel of several kilometres as one that is many times shorter. 

“This award is another strong endorsement of the fact that our product really is commercially viable,” said hyperTunnel Co-Founder Jeremy Hammond. “In a large field of applicants, our sustainability credentials were a key differentiator, as was the fact that we are working with clients – the end users of our technology – to refine our technical roadmap and reach our goal. We are over the moon to have secured the EIC’s support. It’s a testament to the colossal efforts of our extremely talented team.” 

The new EIC funding will significantly accelerate hyperTunnel’s development of its swarm robotics platform and hyperBot fleet so that it is fully completed and tested (Technology Readiness Level 8) in around two years. 

This is the latest in a string of awards hyperTunnel has received from business, innovation and technology experts. It was recently picked by the UK government’s Innovate UK agency to join its Global Business Innovation Programme. It has also won Startup of the Year at this year’s Construction Technology Awards in Dubai. In 2021, hyperTunnel was highlighted as a Top 50 Contech Startup and was among 10 winners of the global Construction Startup Competition. 

Since its launch in March 2021, over 6,000 start-ups and SMEs have sent their ideas and almost 3,000 have submitted full applications to EIC Accelerator. In 2021, 164 companies received funding under the scheme.