Montréal-based motor-tech company FTEX has raised $485,000 in a pre-seed, all-equity SAFE funding round that closed in August.
The financing saw participation from Front Row Ventures and Fonds Ecofuel, as well as two angel investors including the author of Mind, Money and Wealth Robert Luxenberg, and another undisclosed entity. Luxenberg will be joining FTEX’s board of directors as part of the funding.
Including grants and subsidies from Canadian government-led programs and Quebec Ministry of Economy provincial programs, FTEX’s total funding to date is $1.48 million CAD.
Founded in 2017 by co-founders Alexandre Cosneau, Silvana Huaman, and Ramee Mossa, FTEX specializes in designing and developing powertrain systems for electric vehicles (EVs) that can increase EV range by 30 percent. FTEX’s mission is to improve vehicle performance, extend range, and enhance the rider’s experience by combining gallium nitride (GaN)-based drivetrains with software-based transmission systems.
Its GaN-powered motor controller features waterproof prevention, multilayer fail-safe protection, up to 15 percent range increase, smoother EV control, all of which the startup claims increases motor efficiency to 97 percent.
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According to the autotech startup, the new financing is earmarked for product development, expansion of its manufacturing and testing capabilities, and the production of its first GaN motor controllers to be launched in 2022. FTEX is also looking to go on a hiring spree for its engineering team with currently 16 employees according to its LinkedIn page.
In July, FTEX entered into a partnership with GaN Systems, a provider of gallium-nitride semiconductors, to develop GaN-powered motor drives for EVs. In its announcement, FTEX explained that the motor drives will combine GaN Systems’ transistors with FTEX’s products to increase the range and power of EVs by as much as 30 percent.
“Our partnership with FTEX highlights the growing demand for GaN-based motor control solutions for EVs, from e-bikes to motorcycles to automobiles,” said Jim Witham, CEO at GaN Systems.
“By replacing legacy silicon transistors with GaN Systems’ transistors, electric powertrain designers can make vast improvements to their EV solutions, including reducing the size of the inverters and converters, increasing power, and maximizing efficiency,” he said.
The Government of Canada also accelerated the urgency of EV demand, as it announced in June that all car and passenger truck sales are required to be zero-emission by 2035. The government also declared that it will pursue investments and regulations to achieve its goal.