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EKWB: liquid cooling

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“I was playing video-games, I think it was Half-Life, back in the early 2000’s, and my PC was loud and overheating. My air cooled heatsink wasn’t working well enough. That’s how I found out about liquid cooling,” explains founder Edvard König. Taking it to the next level, Edvard created prototypes for liquid cooling which he then presented online, securing his first clients, turning his hobby into a career. “Your pc will run faster and better if it’s cooler. And water has quite simply about 4000 times better heat-capacity than air. So by using liquid cooling, you can cool the CPU more efficiently.” Edvard soon partnered with Matjaz Krc, who brought a strategic and business perspective to the initiative, but ultimately, the two are really just having fun: “When we started we were like children in a sandbox, pushing boundaries and testing the waters. Still today we don’t consider this as work. We really enjoy it even when it becomes too intense,” Matjaz says.

Founded in 2006 in Slovenia, EKWB, which stands for ‘Edvard König Water Blocks’, develops and manufactures computer liquid-cooling components that eliminate excess heat and enhance the performance of CPUs (central processing unit – the electronic circuitry within a computer) and GPUs (graphics processing unit – dealing with images for output to a display device like a mobile phone or PC). The company is now number one globally, exporting to more than 130 countries. “I think we haven’t sent a cooling system to Antarctica yet,” Edvard adds. It’s also expanding to other solutions, like cooling data centres. As the world digitalises fast, data centres are growing as well, and they produce a lot of heat. “Data centres are a science. Cooling them is normally very complex, with hot isles, cold isles, tunnels below and above the floor… but with liquid cooling, things become a lot simpler. Even a normal room will do. In Germany, we’re working with a partner to see how to use this process to cool a data centre but also heat up the building as well. We’re looking into these kinds of sustainable solutions more and more,” Matjaz explains.

In the process of growing the company, EKWB ran into the COVID-19 crisis, but still managed to grow more than 50%. “Obviously the roll-out of our products didn’t quite go to plan,” Edvard says. In 2020, the company secured an EU-guaranteed loan from Unicredit, backed by the EIF, under the Investment Plan for Europe.  “It helped us with working capital to navigate the crisis, but also to invest in R&D and boost our inventory,” explains Edvard. “To grow, you need to add people. All parts of the puzzle need to come together. Right now, our biggest concern is that people don’t burn out. They’re all so enthusiastic and motivated that we need to make sure they don’t overwork!”

Company: EKWB (Slovenia)

Type of business: technology

EIF financing: InnovFin SMEG, EFSI

Financial intermediary: Unicredit Slovenia

For further information abiout EIF intermediaries in Slovenia, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/sl

 

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