The company was founded in 2018 as a spinoff of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI): before then, for more than a decade the AWI Working Group on Bionic Lightweight Design and Functional Morphology, led by Dr Christian Hamm, had conducted basic and applied research and developed increasingly needs-oriented solutions in the context of corporate partnerships and research initiatives.
On the basis of bionic structural lightweight design, ELISE co-founders Dr Moritz Maier, Daniel Siegel and Sebastian Möller developed a construction software that, thanks to its combination of intuitive programming language (“low code”) and the integration of “technical DNA”, has revolutionised development for technical components of every kind imaginable, delivering time savings of up to 90%. Its open user platform allows it to be coupled with established programmes, while also directly addressing user needs.
The young company’s approach has been well received: US-based investor Spark Capital, together with BMW i Ventures, Cherry Ventures, UVC Partners and Venture Stars, has put 14.5 million euros into ELISE’s solution for revolutionising product development: the “Connected Engineering” platform.
The platform makes it possible to bundle the experience and expertise of engineers around the globe, promoting the collaborative, digital and automated development of technical components, even across sectors. It often takes months before a new product can be manufactured, because the respective steps involved in its development – from design, to construction, to functional tests for components – often take place separately. Until now, these steps have also involved various types of software, necessitating additional steps to translate between them. The ELISE software integrates all steps and gathers the participants’ process-based expertise to form a comprehensive construction tool, one that can meet the needs of tomorrow (e.g. multifunctionality and sustainability) while also dramatically accelerating the development process.
“This successful example of technology transfer from the AWI was no coincidence; it’s precisely what we aimed for: thanks to the combination of marine biology, bionics, engineering, architecture and informatics, the AWI is constantly working on innovations with considerable potential for resource-saving, climate-friendly lightweight design,” says AWI expert Christian Hamm.