“It all started in a small garage with some friends who wanted to build lighter and better skis.” – Sounds cliché but this really was the beginning of Bcomp. The real birth of Bcomp as a young startup happened in 2011 in Fribourg though. Venturelab and Innosuisse provided Bcomp with the most valuable support tools for the company’s early-stage phase and the foundation was quickly followed by a win at the IMD Startup Competition. This first year already set the tone for the action-packed decade that was to follow.
Within the first year of Bcomp’s foundation ampliTex™ natural fibre reinforcements and the lightweight, high-performance core material for skis and snowboards – the bCores™ – were officially launched. The revolutionary and patented powerRibs™ technology was launched shortly after in 2013 and these three technologies still form the core of Bcomp’s sustainable lightweighting solutions to this date.
The first five years of Bcomp were dominated by extensive research and development efforts. Year after year the team gained more knowledge and expertise of the complex natural fibre materials and applied these findings to our technologies. bCores™ were hitting the snowsports market with perfect timing for the rise of the freeride and freetouring wave and many of the big names in skiing launched lightweight high-performance freeride skis with bCores™ inside. 2016 marked a special point as more than 30 different brands presented skis with bCores™ at the annual ISPO in Munich in the year of Bcomp’s 5th birthday. This special year was topped off with Bcomp winning the 2016 Swiss Economic Award at the Swiss Economic Forum (SEF).
A journey of collaboration
From the very beginning, Bcomp put an emphasis on company culture and the humans that make everything happen. The team consists of dedicated and passionate individuals from different backgrounds, nationalities, and ages, sharing the drive to create better technologies for a cleaner future. The company’s motto – play naturally smart – is not just a phrase but something which people at Bcomp actively live from day to day. The whole team at Bcomp values their freedom, leisure, sports, and hobbies as well as family time, and having fun plays a crucial role in the creativity and performance of every team member.
Everyone at Bcomp shares the goal to play a role in the ongoing revolution towards cleaner mobility and we put all our efforts, passion, and energy into creating high performance solutions from sustainable materials. Bringing the latest innovations to the market requires a smart approach. This is why from the very beginning we have worked closely with leading universities, research institutes and laboratories. Going even further, we have always sought out collaborations with our suppliers and customers and built long lasting and very deep relationships that are based on a set of shared values and trust.
Upping the pace
The second half of Bcomp’s lifetime started with a bang in the form of entering the motorsport market. Partnerships and collaborations with the Electric GT racing series for bodyworks, Automobiles Gillet for their Vertigo that participated in 2018’s Pikes Peak race and with DAB Motors for their unique “ALTER” Yamaha Yard Built project bike set the pace and were early signs of the momentum that Bcomp was about to pick up. With more than 12 customer development projects together with automotive OEMs, 2018 marked yet another milestone in Bcomp’s journey to shaping the future of mobility. Winning the JEC Innovation Award for Future of Composites in Transportation together with Persico Automotive as well as the Don Burgoon Most Innovative New Motorsport Product 2018 at the World Motorsport Symposium showed the growing team at Bcomp once more that they were on the right track.
Sustainable lightweighting in many forms
By 2019 hundreds of cars were racing with ampliTex™ and powerRibs™ natural fibre bodywork in 16 racing series worldwide and together with Porsche Motorsport, Bcomp was a finalist for another JEC Innovation Award with natural fibre bodywork parts made in small series production. In the framework of the European Space Agency’s Clean Space program the world’s first natural fibre reinforced satellite panel was developed by Bcomp and ESA while ampliTex™ flax fibre reinforcements also started to enter the marine industry – beautifully showcased in the form of the stunning Flax 27 made by Greenboats. 2020 continued to demonstrate the versatility of Bcomp’s sustainable lightweighting technologies with the inauguration of a record-breaking bio-composite bridge near Ritsumasyl in the Netherlands. After becoming a member of the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions in 2019, ampliTex™ and powerRibs™ technologies became part of Solar Impulse’s 1000 Solutions in 2020.
Start of a new chapter
The partnership with electric performance car brand Polestar announced in early 2020 marked the start of a new chapter for sustainable interior panels for large scale automotive. Natural fibres are also continuing their penetration of the sports-, motorsports- and marine sectors. McLaren Racing’s natural fibre F1 seat, Porsche’s full natural fibre body kit on the Cayman 718 GT4 CS MR and Baltic Yacht’s Café Racer 68 are all prime examples of how far Bcomp has come in the last 10 years.
With all this, it is only fitting that after these successful years Bcomp just renewed and reinforced its commitment to the location in Fribourg by building its first production line here. The town of Fribourg and its surroundings are quickly becoming a hub for innovation, know-how, and forward-looking companies. With the new production site and the headquarters in Fribourg, Bcomp is contributing to the local job market, ensuring that young people from the area can find challenging positions with an impact and that valuable know-how is concentrated in this area of Switzerland. At the same time, we have benefitted from the tremendous support we have been receiving from the Fribourg Development Agency throughout all these years.
Looking back on the past 10 years has us more than excited for what is yet to come. It has been a wild ride to where we are now, and we are far from slowing down anytime soon. The next ten years will see us apply everything we have learned about sustainable lightweighting from the sports and motorsports sectors to help the mobility sector reduce its climate impact. Make sure to tag along for the next round as we will push even harder towards a circular economy.