SMART Photonics, an independent foundry for photonic integrated circuits, has announced a €35M Series C investment from a Dutch consortium led by Innovation Industries. The chips developed SMART Photonics develops can facilitate data traffic at the speed of light. It can be used in many applications, ranging from low-power consumption data centers to a variety of sensing applications for structural monitoring and medical diagnostics.
Founded in 2012, SMART Photonics is located at the High-Tech Campus in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. The company will use the funds to expand its capacity for wafer manufacturing at this High-Tech Campus; accelerate the development of its photonic integration technology; and “firmly” establish the technology in the marketplace through its customers.
The funding includes a contribution from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy of The Netherlands through the Brabant Development Agency (BOM), as well as participations from KPN Ventures, PhotonDelta and existing shareholders, “thereby reaffirming the position of SMART Photonics as the central player in the European photonics ecosystem.”
Low-Power Consumption Data Centers
SMART Photonics’ ambition is to be the leading independent foundry for photonic integrated circuits, which provide small-scale integration and high performance combined with low energy consumption. SMART Photonics’ integration technology allows its customers to design chips for a variety of “next generation” communication, low-power consumption data centers, and highly accurate sensor applications in telecoms, healthcare, smart mobility and sustainable industrial processes.
“We are very excited to have the new consortium on board and to be able to bring our foundry to the next level thanks to this investment,” said Johan Feenstra, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SMART Photonics. “This will allow us to scale up our volumes as we support our customers in bringing their first commercial products using photonic integration technology to the market. I am very grateful for the tremendous support we received from our investors, PhotonDelta partners and our long-term R&D partner the Eindhoven University of Technology in making it happen.”
IoT, AI, Augmented Reality, Autonomous Driving
Since its inception in 2012, SMART Photonics has attracted a truly global customer base, consisting of leading US, European and Asian customers as well as a range of scale-up companies that develop applications using integrated photonics.
“We are delighted to have had the opportunity to lead this investment in SMART Photonics, as the company is perfectly positioned as Europe’s leading independent foundry for integrated photonics through its flexible production process of photonic integrated circuits, proprietary process design kit and tremendous know-how,” said Nard Sintenie, General Partner, Innovation Industries. “We are truly impressed by the quality of the team and believe that they will successfully lead the company through its next phase of growth. In order for Europe to maintain a leading position in the development of new technologies for the rapid-growing photonics industry, we believe it is essential to invest in infrastructure. We are confident that SMART Photonics will contribute to a strong and healthy photonics ecosystem that will drive cutting-edge technology development ensuring continued formation of exciting start- and scale-ups in this attractive industry.”
“In order to keep up with the immense amount of data generated at a very high speed by advancing technologies like IoT, AI, augmented reality and autonomous driving, there is a need for a new generation of photonic integrated circuits that can transport data faster, cost-effective and more sustainable (less energy consumption),” said Samir Ahmad, Investment Director at KPN Ventures. “Therefore, we see a unique, strategic opportunity for KPN to be closely involved in the development of photonic integration technology with SMART Photonics to continue to serve our customers in an optimal way.”
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