The Zaragoza company defends submarine cables connecting internet from shark bites so you never go offline - The Internet is used for absolutely everything: from checking the weather to reading the newspaper, working or buying. But how did it get to the device you're reading these lines with?
Most digital interactions are made possible by underground and underwater fiber cables, against the false belief that the internet operates primarily by satellites (they account for less than 1% of human interactions).
To a large extent the internet is under our feet through an intricate system of thin underwater and underground cables attached to gigantic data storage units.
Placing each cable under the sea requires several months, millions of euros and a very large ship with miles of cable rolled on board. When they are broken, a very large deployment is required. Nor is it out of the ordinary: cables are exposed to damage from natural disasters, corrosion, fishermen and even shark bites.
"There may be threats such as boat anchors or trawls, or a freighter that drops a container in a storm and clamps the cable, for example," explains Asier Villafranca, CEO of Aragon Photonics in an interview.
Aragon Photonics is a company based in Zaragoza that develops technology to measure fiber: its quality, temperature, reflectance... So, if there is a problem with some cable, you can detect what happened and where exactly.
This "acoustic sensing" technology called HDAS consists of high-precision lasers that send light pulses with which these measurements are taken. More or less, one sensor is placed every 10 meters, so that in 50 kilometers of cable there would be 5,000 measuring points. In this way threats can be detected quite accurately.
Zaragoza company defends submarine cables connecting internet
They themselves also develop the analysis software that associates the data to known patterns to know what has happened, for which they have done all kinds of simulations.
"One way to deal with the problem is with controlled trials, but on other occasions what we do is to place one of these equipment in a given infrastructure and study the casuistry for a while," explains Villafranca. "We see signs and we have no idea what it is. Then let's see what's going on."
This technology also works on land. "For example, an excavator starts drilling a hole and has the risk of damaging the cable. Because of the vibrations, we are able to see that there is an excavator and locate it," says Villafranca.
In fact, Aragon Photonics works with Red Eléctrica (REE) and Indra, in addition to other companies nationwide in different projects, installing sensors on railway or motorway sections and in the electric network.
The sensing technology also allows to obtain data of seismic movements, tides and is able to detect even the infrasound of whales.
Aragon Photonics began its career in 2004 with its parent company, Fibercom, and has been linked to the University of Zaragoza since its inception.
"My final project was on BOSA technology just when the team was forming and then I did the doctoral thesis on one of the patents," says Villafranca, and explains that Zaragoza has always been a city with a lot of research potential but little industrial fabric.
When it was created, the team consisted mainly of physics professors from the University of Zaragoza. Currently, the workforce is made up of 20 people after growing nonstop for the last 3 years.
At first, The Matrix was the one that put most of the capital, which was then supplemented with aid from the Ministry of industry for innovation and internationalization, among others, interrupted from the years 2008 and 2009 by the financial crisis.
"More than the business opportunity, dominated the excitement of having something new that no one has," the company'S CEO tells Business Insider Spain.
Now, the biggest challenge facing Aragon Photonics is to work and sort the large amount of data they receive.
As for new projects, the Ministry of universities has granted them support under the R & amp; D & amp; I research challenges plan with a 3.5-year development period.
Asier Villafranca explains that, although Aragon Photonics was founded in 2004, it has not been until these last 5 or 6 years that it has managed to penetrate the market.
The company already has a lustre with profit and grows between 25% and 30% each year, a pace they expect to maintain over the next few years.
In addition, according to Villafranca's calculations, by 2020 they will reach profitability in the three business divisions: telecommunications and solar thermal had black numbers, and this year they expect the area of sensado also have them.
At the moment, the company's philosophy is to reinvest those profits in R & D and diversify them in the different areas.
End of Zaragoza company defends submarine cables connecting internet
Algenex closes a round of 7.4 million euros to consolidate its Jump to human health and Columbus Venture Partners joins the shareholders
The biotech company Algenex has closed a round of financing worth 7.4 million euros led by MasterLux, according to the company itself.
The new round has also involved the entry into the ownership of Columbus Venture Partners, which has participated through its Columbus Life Science Fund II focused on startups in the health sector in its initial stages.
Biotech will use the new funds to consolidate the development of its own technology, a platform known as CrisBio that uses insect chrysalis to make vaccines faster and more effectively. Algenex will thus strengthen its portfolio of veterinary vaccines and consolidate its commitment to the application of technology in human health projects.
Part of the investment will go to optimize the new facilities that the biotech company has built in Madrid and that will be inaugurated this month. Pending approval for human use, it could be used to produce biotechnological products against pandemics.
The company claims its platform as the best alternative to current production technologies that use slower and more expensive industrial biorectors.
Claudia Jimenez, CEO of Algenex, recalled in a previous interview with Business Insider Spain that its plant would have the capacity to manufacture 100 million doses of vaccines and that only required an investment of 1.4 million dollars.
The CEO said in a statement that the recent investment round "is an important milestone for Algenex, as we seek to further expand our CrisBio technology in human health "and implies" further validation of the potential of Algenex technology and strategy".