8 March 2012

Sheffield University LED spin-off Seren Photonics raises £1.8m

UK-based university IP commercialization company Fusion IP plc says that Seren Photonics Ltd (which was spun off from the University of Sheffield in February 2010) has raised £1.8m in equity funding from investors including I2BF Global Ventures (£1,100,000), Fusion IP plc (£300,000) and IP Group plc (£400,000).

The funding will enable Seren to speed the transfer of its LED technology to manufacturing partners around the globe. The first of these exploitation agreements was recently announced with an India-based manufacturer. “We are already in discussion with HB-LED manufacturers in China about the possibility of licensing or creating a joint venture manufacturing facility,” says Seren’s CEO Dr Carl Griffiths. “We will continue to look for other potential partners outside of these territories.”

Specifically, the funding will be used to purchase key capital equipment for high-brightness (HB) LED pilot-scale development and to create a specialist engineering team for the transfer of Seren’s processes to its commercial manufacturing partners. Post funding, Fusion will have a 40.2% undiluted shareholding in Seren (compared with its initial holding of 60%).

Seren says that its new processing technique, developed by professor Tao Wang from the University of Sheffield, has been shown in tests to greatly increase the HB-LED efficiency and to significantly reduce heat generation under normal running conditions. Demonstrations of the patent pending technology have resulted in a significant increase of the light output compared to untreated devices, so that either much brighter LED lamps can be manufactured or the power consumption of LED lamps can be reduced.

Seren’s technology is targeted at fast-growing white light HB LED markets (including domestic, architectural and street lighting). “This market is currently worth an estimated $7bn in 2011 and is set to grow to $20bn by 2014,” says chairman Dr Godfrey Ainsworth. “HB LEDs are set to replace incandescent lamps as governments around the world bring in legislation banning the manufacture and sale of incandescents and concerns increase about the poor light quality and environmental contamination fears from compact fluorescents. The rate of adoption will accelerate as the brightness of HB LEDs increases and the cost of manufacture reduces,” he adds.

“We believe LEDs will play a large role in reducing energy intensity for a range of municipal and industrial users, and that Seren is well-positioned to help drive that growth due to the double impact of its technology on both brightness and reduction of heat loss,” says David Waserstein, partner and director of investments at I2BF. “We are also pleased to be supporting a UK university spin out at this time, which has been ably supported by our co-investors Fusion IP PLC,” he adds.

“We remain confident that Seren can make a significant contribution to enabling the use of LEDs in a variety of different energy-efficient applications where there is a continuous need to reduce power consumption and improve product performance,” says Fusion IP’s operations director Peter Grant. “With this funding in place we look forward to the company securing further deals for the use of its technology internationally.”

See related items:

New start-up Seren Photonics targets white LED market

Tags: LEDs White LEDs

Visit: www.serenphotonics.co.uk

Visit: www.fusionip.co.uk

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