8 July 2020
SMART Photonics’ Series C round raises €35m
Independent pure-play indium phosphide (InP) photonic integrated circuit (PIC) foundry SMART Photonics of Eindhoven, The Netherlands has raised €35m in a Series C investment round from a Dutch consortium.
Lead investor Innovation Industries is said to be one of Europe’s most active independent photonics investors, with investments across the photonics value chain. 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 participation from KPN Ventures, PhotonDelta and existing shareholders.
Founded in 2012, SMART Photonics says that it has attracted a global customer base, consisting of leading US, European and Asian customers as well as a range of start-ups developing applications using integrated photonics. Its aim is to be the leading independent foundry for photonic integrated circuits. The firm’s integration technology enables customers to design chips for various next-generation communication and highly accurate sensor applications in telecoms, healthcare, smart mobility and sustainable industrial processes.
SMART Photonics will use the new funds to expand its capacity for wafer manufacturing at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven, accelerate the development of its photonic integration technology and firmly establish the technology in the marketplace.
The new funding 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,” says CEO Johan Feenstra. “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,” he adds.
“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 (PDK) and tremendous know-how,” comments Innovation Industries’ general partner Nard Sintenie. “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… SMART 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,” he adds.
“Recognized as one of Europe’s key enabling technologies, photonics has the potential to drive economic growth and provide solutions to some of the most pressing societal and environmental challenges of our time,” comments Miriam Dragstra, chief compliance officer of the Brabant Development Agency (BOM), which played an important role in the deal sourcing. “SMART Photonics allows Dutch technology companies to play a leading role in the development of this promising technology. Therefore, BOM is committed to supporting the financial and strategic development of this game changer,” she adds.
“SMART Photonics fulfils a key function within our growing European photonics ecosystem and is of utmost importance as the fabrication of photonic integrated circuits enables innovative products in many application domains,” says PhotonDelta’s CEO Ewit Roos. “Thus, the growth of SMART Photonics has a profound impact as it leverages the scale of activity and innovation of the entire supply chain of integrated photonics in Europe. We are thrilled to participate in this round as the national growth accelerator for the Dutch integrated photonics industry,” he adds.