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Optical material companies top May's VC activity

Companies using innovative thin film or surface texturing technology to tailor optical properties made VC news.

Introducing the Photonics VC Update, a new monthly series to brief scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and business leaders about the venture funding of emerging companies in various photonics technologies.

June 6, 2024

May venture deals in photonics were highlighted by companies using innovative thin-film or surface texturing technology to tailor optical properties for specific applications.

The largest deal we noted in this category was for NIL Technology, a Danish company using nanoimprint lithography to improve the performance of meta-optics for applications such as consumer electronics and robotics. The company announced that it had raised €29 million to help scale its manufacturing organization and capabilities in a round led by Export & Investment Fund of Denmark, Jolt Capital, NGP Capital, and Swisscanto Private Equity.

MIT spinout Active Surfaces raised a large $5.6 million pre-Seed round led by Safar Partners with several other firms joining the round to commercialize lightweight, flexible solar panels based on several years of academic research into the design and fabrication of thin-film photovoltaics.

Finally, Mapsi Photonics received a €1.5 million investment from Bullnet Capital to advance its macroporous silicon technology in which the company perforates as silicon substrate with electrochemical etching to make infrared filters for industrial applications such as gas identification and thermal vision.

About the Author

Eric Hall is a managing partner of Entrada Ventures, a seed-stage fund investing in innovative technologies. He has worked alongside multiple Nobel Prize winners in building successful startups across various photonics technologies, including Aurrion (silicon photonics), Soraa (GaN LEDs), Kaai (GaN lasers), and Agility Communications (InP photonics), leading to multiple acquisitions. Subsequently, Hall led several transactions as an investment banker at Golding Partners before moving into early-stage investing. He earned his Bachelor of Science in engineering physics at UC Berkeley, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Columbia Business School, and a PhD in materials at UC Santa Barbara.


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