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From NASA to UIC: Fredrik Bruhn Pays it Forward

Hobby pilot, IT enthusiast, entrepreneur, and former professor in robotics and avionics – that’s how Fredrik Bruhn, the latest addition to UIC, describes himself. With several startups under his belt and experience working with major clients such as NASA and Boeing, Fredrik Bruhn has participated in several of UIC’s business development programs. Now, he is part of UIC and Swedish Scaleups to give back and contribute to the Pay it Forward culture.

“It’s not rocket science,” says Fredrik, laughing, as we discuss the commercialization of capital- and knowledge-intensive companies, some within space research.

Foto: Fredrik Bruhn, ny affärsutvecklare på UIC, för Swedish Scaleups
Photo: Fredrik Bruhn, new business developer at UIC, for Swedish Scaleups

UIC is making a clear effort to support companies in DeepTech, which require significant investments of financial capital, specialized knowledge, and time. Historically, it takes about 10 years and 100 million SEK to develop hardware products and achieve full-scale market launch for deeptech-related companies.

“The long process includes prototype development, putting the product into production early, and iterating to eliminate so-called teething problems, early problems, in other words. DeepTech has long iteration cycles that require precision and patience to get the product right and ensure success,”
says Fredrik Bruhn, business developer at UIC, Swedish Scaleups.

Swedish Scaleups aims to support and promote the growth of innovative growth companies with the potential to become prominent nationally and internationally. UIC, in collaboration with three other incubators, is driving the joint project. Fredrik Bruhn complements the network further with his experience, knowledge, and extensive connections.

“What I have done in life, I could not have done without the privilege of having good mentors. It’s invaluable. Now, I want to give back to others who will build the future after us. It’s exciting, and I look forward to contributing,”
says Fredrik Bruhn.

Fredrik is a trailblazer who earned a master’s degree in atomic and molecular physics for Nobel laureate Kai Siegbahn and a PhD in materials science with a focus on space technology at Ångström. He has also conducted guest research at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. The journey with DeepTech companies began in 2004 with the robotics company Rotundus and in 2005 with the satellite company ÅAC Microtec. Since 2013, he combined an adjunct professorship in robotics & avionics at Mälardalen University Västerås and started Unibap, delivering cloud server infrastructure in space.

“I have always been passionate about commercializing new ideas. Basic research has a long way to application, and having a good understanding of both the academic world and entrepreneurship can contribute to bringing research into use quickly and bringing ideas to the market.”

Foto: Fredrik Bruhn -Uppsala observatorium
Photo: Fredrik Bruhn -Uppsala observatory

Pay it Forward

With all his companies, Fredrik participated in UIC’s business development programs between 2004 and 2013. With the company Unibap, Fredrik participated in Swedish Scaleups’ predecessor, Växtzon I, but also ESA BIC Sweden.

“We received financial support, access to additional space expertise, and a structure for how we bring space businesses down to Earth. Some of the customers we have worked with include NASA, the European Space Agency, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Husqvarna, all world-leading companies or institutions,”
says Fredrik.

One of the biggest challenges for companies in the industry, besides time and money, is the lack of structure; processes and documentation, as well as strategic communication and team-building.

“Companies are vulnerable when, for example, supplier and customer lists are in the heads of certain individuals or, not least, innovators often have difficulty managing group dynamics and talents in a journey of change with many different phases over a fairly long time.”

Fredrik will review the processes for DeepTech companies. Right now, he is looking at an educational package with practical elements. Much within CRM, HR routines, sales, time reporting, project management, etc., is often scattered across different tools in startup companies. Swedish Scaleups wants to provide knowledge and methods early on, whether a company is to be sold, ISO certified, or listed on the stock exchange. It increases the value and accelerates the process when companies have clear documentation.

Fredrik Bruhn has a significant network in the USA and is one of only two Europeans in a strategic Think Tank in Washington DC called Loomis Innovation Council at Stimson Center. A Think Tank is an organization dedicated to research, debate, and advocacy on key geo-technical and political issues worldwide.

“There, we sit and discuss important crystal ball issues that affect the Western world and our democracy, often from a technical perspective called geotech. Geotech is about technology and system solutions that have global impact, i.e., geopolitical impact.”

Fredrik, among other achievements, has spent several months in the USA as an Eisenhower Fellow, delving into areas such as AI, robotics, and automation, and how the world may look in 2047.

“I bring all the knowledge and network with me as we work with companies in Swedish Scaleups,” concludes Fredrik Bruhn.

For more information:
Fredrik Bruhn, Business Developer, Swedish Scaleups
Email: fredrik.bruhn@uic.se
Tel: 072-595 80 58

Swedish Scaleups is a collaboration project for innovative companies in Mälardalen, driven by four incubators; Inkubera in Örebro, Linköping Science Park, Create in Västerås, and UIC in Uppsala. Swedish Scaleups helps create growth for innovative companies with competence development, capital acquisition, internationalization, and everything else required to take the company to the next level.