Spin-out Silicon Microgravity secures $7m investment, appoints CEO


Silicon Microgravity (SMG), a spin-out from both BP and the University of Cambridge, has raised $7 million from IP Group, Parkwalk, BP Ventures and Cambridge Enterprise.

Silicon Microgravity is a privately held company focused on developing and applying innovative technology primarily to improve surveillance, appraisal and production of oil and gas with additional application to CO2 storage, water management, mining and defence. Our technology has the potential to disrupt current practices and advance reservoir surveillance so that our clients can achieve real efficiencies and cost savings while meeting their desired social, safety and environmental goals.

SMG is based on over ten years of research from the Nanoscience Centre at the University of Cambridge in collaboration with the energy company BP PLC. It has developed a unique high performance, ultra-sensitive, yet robust microelectromechanical system (MEMS). The MEMS technology consists of a 3-axis accelerometer with a projected resolution of approximately one billionth of the Earth’s gravity. SMG is also funded for and actively researching a related MEMS gyro technology with a potential application to inertial navigation.

This funding round of $7m will allow the company to commercialise its technology and grow rapidly.

Prof Ashwin Seshia, co-founder of Silicon Microgravity, said: “We have made very significant progress in developing the technology over the past year, meeting key technical milestones. Our MEMS sensors are sensitive enough to detect seismic events across the globe and stable enough to track Earth tides. We continue to develop the technology underpinning these sensors, moving the roadmap towards even higher resolution and stability. SMG has assembled an outstanding R&D and leadership team to launch the next phase of development, and is embarking on an ambitious field trial program in collaboration with BP and other partners to establish borehole microgravity as a viable technology for reservoir surveillance. ”

Paul Vickery, Chairman, of Silicon Microgravity, said: “I am very excited to announce a significant funding round with current and new shareholders providing such strong backing for the company. SMG is based on a long-standing collaboration between Cambridge and BP. We have a compelling business plan, a long-standing and fruitful collaboration with BP and a highly credible team.  I am delighted that we have attracted Jeremy Lofts to lead the company. He is a successful and experienced leader in the oil and gas industry with a wealth of knowledge and experience in our target markets.”

Jeremy (Jez) Lofts, incoming CEO of SMG said: “Our technology has a strong value proposition for our oil and gas customers looking to improve reservoir yields through enhanced subsurface monitoring and understanding. I am proud to join the team and lead the company at this exciting time.”

Alastair Kilgour, CIO of Parkwalk, said: “We believe SMG’s technology is potentially truly disruptive for the oil drilling industry and will be a contributor to providing significant efficiency gains in this field. We are delighted to support this funding round.”

Robert Bahns, Partner at IP Group, said: “SMG has an outstanding technology portfolio developed at Cambridge University in partnership with BP. The company has developed well since the seed round two years ago, and we are delighted to support this funding round.”

Julian Peck, Commercialisation Manager at Cambridge Enterprise, saidWe are delighted that Prof Seshia’s unique technology is being brought to market by SMG. We are very excited by the continuing collaboration with BP, and we are keen to support future progress.”

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Cambridge Enterprise exists to help University of Cambridge inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs make their ideas and concepts more commercially successful for the benefit of society, the UK economy, the inventors and the University.

Cambridge Enterprise, University of Cambridge