The year 2023 will be a milestone for the Montreal company e2ip. Its “smart surfaces” technology developed since 2016 is ready to be commercialized, and it will be able to count on a financing of 120 million which will be announced this Wednesday.

This Series B financing round was led by Export Development Canada (EDC) and McRock Capital. Investissement Québec doubled its position in the company and a new investor, the DNA Continuity Fund, was added. The feat is all the more remarkable given that the funds invested in venture capital in Canada fell sharply in early 2023, according to the media The Logic, standing at 1.3 billion US, against 3.7 billion US during the same period. period the previous year.

“We weren’t affected at all,” said Eric Saint-Jacques, CEO of e2ip. The financing round has been completed at a higher level than originally intended, we have AAA investors. It made the round a pleasure to do, we are very privileged to have had so much interest. »

Specialized in screen printing, in particular for engraving information on the metal plates of household appliances, it has experienced a shift towards the design of various components and electronic devices, including printed circuits. It has clients in particular in aeronautics, transport and health and has two establishments in Montreal as well as a factory in Casablanca, Morocco.

Since 2016, in collaboration with the National Research Council Canada (NRC) and other partners, e2ip has been planning a big coup: developing materials that will make buttons, dimmers and lights obsolete and replace them with “intelligent structural surfaces”. . An example: a coffee maker designed with this type of flexible circuit board, completely concealed in the device, which would be controlled entirely by touch.

“We touch the surface as if it were our smartphone,” explains the CEO. New materials have been developed that allow functional circuits to be printed on a flexible sheet of polycarbonate. When we deform them, stretch them, put them in the device, they will resist this deformation. On the external structures of the object, there is nothing. The LEDs, the control circuits are now inside. »

“For decades, the way to allow humans to interact with objects is to make holes, add buttons, switches, dimmers, lights. We add material, cost, complexity, breaking and failure points. All those buttons and traditional methods add cost and hurt durability. »

We will begin to see this innovation, which could upset our daily lives, on the market this year. “We are already working with the most important contractors, for hospital beds, infusion pumps, aircraft surfaces, smoke detectors. »

Funding of 120 million will be allocated in particular to the purchase of production lines intended for Montreal factories for high-volume manufacturing, and to marketing efforts for this new product and those which already ensure the success of e2ip.