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Italy’s WSense has raised an investment round led by SWEN Blue Ocean, with participation from Axon Partners Group and CDP, among others

  • WSense is a spin-off from the Sapienza University of Rome and has pioneered a new technology that enables wireless communication underwater.
  • This funding round will allow the company to expand its global reach and enhance its suite of products.
  • WSense’s underwater communication technology, based on the “Internet of Underwater Things” concept, has multiple applications in the sustainability and energy sectors.
  • This is Axon’s fourth investment in Italy and its second in the climate-tech sector, underlining the company’s growing commitment to the country.

Recently, Italian tech firm Wsense has closed a Series A investment round to expand its solid customer base across different geographies and improve the performance of its products. A group of investors such as SWEN Blue Ocean, Axon Partners Group, RunwayFBU, CoreAngels Climate, Katapult Ocean and local investors such as CDP Ventures have provided the resources specialised in the climate and deep tech verticals.

The company specialises in the climate and deep tech sector and has patented technology that includes both software and hardware to obtain real-time information in underwater environments without the need for cables. This technology provides the ability to deploy and manage an underwater wireless ecosystem connected to the cloud that can operate reliably and cost-effectively at depths of 3,000 metres. Its scope encompasses communication with energy assets and critical infrastructure at sea, such as offshore and floating wind farms and new technologies, including wave energy. Its technology also allows the collection of information on ocean ecosystems, contributing to their conservation and protection.

The underwater communications sector is witnessing significant expansion, expected to increase from €3.3 billion in 2022 to €7.3 billion in 2030. The underwater communications sector is undergoing strong growth, with the market expected to increase from €3.3 billion in 2022 to €7.3 billion in 2030, a compound annual growth rate of 10.1%, according to sources quoted by the company. The establishment of novel deep-sea infrastructure, an increasing demand for real-time information on underwater ecosystems, and a lack of knowledge about the effects of climate change on seas and oceans are expected to be the main drivers of growth in the sector in the medium to long term.

The Wsense team is headed by Chiara Petrioli, a leading expert in the IoT sector and responsible for coining the term IoUT (Internet of Underwater Things). With several patents and numerous innovation awards under her name, both in Italy and worldwide, she leads a multidisciplinary team of more than 40 professionals with extensive experience both in the technical field – a third of the staff have PhDs – and in the commercial, communications and oceanic sectors. The WSense team was awarded the 2022 Blueinvest award by the European Commission and recognised as the most innovative company globally in collecting and managing Big Data during the recent World Economic Forum in Davos. This achievement is a clear indication of the team’s pioneering and innovative spirit in the sector.

Chiara Petrioli, co-founder and CEO, commented: `This latest round, and the new international investors’ confidence, will enable us to strengthen our technological leadership in an increasingly competitive market where even major players are starting to enter. Our proficiency in developing previously unachievable marine technologies positions WSense to make a positive impact on our planet. In fact, we are building partnerships that will strengthen us in emerging areas such as marine renewable energy, autonomous underwater robotics and infrastructure security and surveillance.´

Luis Castañeda, Axon partner who leads the Climate-Tech investment strategy, remarked: `Underwater telecommunications will be crucial to unlocking the full potential of new offshore generation technologies. We are thrilled to collaborate with Chiara and her team. Our investment in Wsense clearly demonstrates our interest in deep tech companies that facilitate the energy transition and our dedication to the Italian market, where we are already assembling a collection of technology and innovation-based companies.´

This transaction brings the number of companies in Axon’s Climate Tech portfolio to 11 and is the second in Italy after the investment in Italian electrolyser manufacturer ErreDue. These numbers confirm Axon’s strong and growing global positioning in the energy transition, a strategy it has been successfully implementing since 2015 and which today has around 120 million euros under management.