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Unikraft, a NEC Laboratories Europe spin-off, raises European and U.S. venture capital and begins operation as an independent company

HEIDELBERG, Germany, March 23, 2023 – Unikraft GmbH recently announced it has closed a seed round from European and Silicon Valley investors to help accelerate its commercial operations. A technology startup conceived and incubated by NEC Laboratories Europe, Unikraft optimizes cloud applications transparently, lowering cloud spend by up to 50%.

Unikraft technology separates an operating system into elementary pieces; these can then be individually selected to build lightweight, specialized images called unikernels that are tailored to the needs of specific cloud applications. Dr. Felipe Huici, former Chief Researcher at NEC Laboratories Europe and now CEO and Co-Founder of Unikraft explains: “The potential of unikernels has been known for a while, but they have also been infamously difficult to use, and have had very poor support for mainstream applications. With Unikraft we are building extremely accelerated stacks that can run unmodified applications, leading to significant reduction in cloud spend. We’re also working on transparent integration with cloud ecosystem tools such as Kubernetes, so that clients do not have to change anything in their build/deploy pipelines – essentially Unikraft works as a drop-in replacement that transparently accelerates cloud workloads.” The scientific paper about Unikraft technology, Unikraft: Fast, Specialized Unikernels the Easy Way (S. Kuenzer et al.), was the recipient of the prestigious 2021 EuroSys Best Paper Award.

Started in 2017 as a NEC Laboratories Europe project, Unikraft was developed with the support of The Linux Foundation and has established a large, open source community. Huici adds, “Unikraft operates under an open core model, and so the Unikraft Linux Foundation project is essential to our company. As of today, the Unikraft project has more than 1.2K stargazers and over 700 Discord members, and these numbers are constantly growing.”

Unikraft is the first graduate of NEC Laboratories Europe’s technology spin-off incubation and acceleration program. The program is designed to bring high-potential technology to market that falls outside the core business of NEC. Conceived by NEC Laboratories Europe, the program is a springboard for inventors who want to pursue their technology aspirations as entrepreneurs outside of NEC. It is a collaboration between NEC Laboratories Europe, NEC X, the global corporate accelerator of the NEC Group, Heidelberg Technology Park, and the innovation consultancy SOMMERRUST. Based in Heidelberg, Germany, headquarters of NEC Laboratories Europe, Heidelberg Technology Park and SOMMERRUST help launch technology startups and are fostering NEC Laboratories Europe’s homegrown technology.

Roberto Baldessari, General Manager of Administration at NEC Laboratories Europe and head of its technology spin-off acceleration program said: “I am delighted that our program has already generated a successful technology start-up. This demonstrates the top-notch value and commitment of Unikraft’s founders but also that NEC Laboratories Europe is home to world-class scientists developing original technology who are capable of generating new business opportunities. We are proud to support inventors that want to pursue their technology ambitions and create business impact, either through a large corporation like the NEC Group or as entrepreneurs.”

About NEC Europe Ltd.
NEC Europe Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of NEC Corporation, a leader in the integration of IT network technologies that benefit businesses and people around the world. NEC Europe Ltd. is building upon its heritage and reputation for innovation and quality by providing its expertise, solutions and services to a broad range of customers, from telecom operators to enterprises and the public sector. For additional information, please visit the NEC Europe Ltd. home page at:

About NEC Laboratories Europe GmbH
NEC Laboratories Europe research and develop cutting-edge technology to create innovative social solutions. Located in Heidelberg, Germany, major research areas of NEC Laboratories Europe include artificial intelligence, blockchain security, 5G and 6G networks, and IoT platforms. These technologies promote NEC Group solutions for a better society in the fields of digital health, safer cities, public services and communication infrastructure. For more information visit

About Unikraft GmbH
Unikraft is a start-up set to revolutionize the way workloads are deployed on the cloud. Unikraft accelerates cloud applications by automatically building tailored, extremely efficient and green images leading to 20-50% reduction in cloud spend, lower latency and memory consumption, incredibly fast start times and more secure images. Unikraft  transparently integrates with the most popular cloud ecosystem tools so customers do not have to disrupt any of their build/deploy pipelines. For more information please visit

About Technologiepark Heidelberg GmbH and SOMMERRUST GmbH
Heidelberg Technology Park is a vibrant community of innovative companies, start-ups and entrepreneurs. Founded in 1984, the park offers a variety of resources and services to support the growth and success of innovative companies, including modern office and laboratory space, accelerator programs, access to funding, and a supportive network of experts and mentors. Heidelberg Technology Park is a founding member of Heidelberg Startup Partner e.V., which promotes technology-driven startups.

SOMMERRUST is an innovation consultancy based in Berlin and Heidelberg, Germany. SOMMERRUST helps companies to innovate, create new business models and to improve their innovative capacity. Their unique approach combines methods from strategic management, design thinking as well as the world of start-ups. For more information please visit and

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