7 October 2020
Aledia closes €80m first tranche of €120m Series D funding round
Aledia S.A of Echirolles, near Grenoble, France (a developer and manufacturer of 3D micro-LEDs for display applications based on its gallium nitride nanowires-on-silicon platform) has closed an €80m first tranche (the first of three tranches) of its €120m Series D financing round.
The investment fund Société de Projet Industriel (SPI), a fund managed by Bpifrance and underwritten by the French State as part of the Programme d’Investissements d’Avenir (PIA), is lead investor in the round and is joined by most of the existing strategic investors, including Intel Capital.
The firm will use the proceeds to complete its product development and create what is said will be a first-of-its-kind, high-volume 3D micro-LED manufacturing facility in the Grenoble area for an estimated capital expenditure (CapEx) of €40m (excluding equipment).
Spun out of Grenoble-based micro/nanotechnology R&D center CEA-Leti in 2012, Aledia uses its proprietary technology to develop LED chips for next-generation displays for laptops, tablets, smartphones, smartwatches, augmented-reality (AR) glasses and large TVs.
“There is a major turning point coming in the $120bn per year display market as micro-LED technology starts to replace the traditional LCD and OLED technologies,’’ says CEO & co-founder Giorgio Anania. “In addition to being more efficient and brighter than current alternatives, with better colors and a faster refresh rate, these new displays will be competitively priced.”
Aledia claims to be the only company targeting this market with a nanocrystal technology that uses very large-size silicon wafers (200-300mm in diameter) and with processes developed by the microelectronics industry, as opposed to the traditional technology of planar 2D LEDs built on smaller, layered sapphire substrates of 100-150mm diameter. The firm’s technology is protected by 197 patent families (making Aledia the leading French startup company in filed patents).
“There is significant competition in this market, and this investment allows Aledia to accelerate substantially its development and establish world-class manufacturing capabilities,” says Anania. “We are delighted to welcome SPI to our shareholder base, and we are also proud that our largest strategic investors and development partners are all reinvesting in this financing,” he adds.
“The display industry is a large strategic market of the future, and Aledia is making a very ambitious play to become a leader in this space,” comments Magali Joëssel, SPI fund director at Bpifrance. “With an investment of over €200m in equipment over the next five years and plans to grow to approximately 500 employees, Aledia’s location in the Grenoble area signals a commitment to establish a world-scale industrial manufacturing facility in France,” he adds.
“In a world where mobile computing has become essential, the need has never been greater for displays which are energy efficient, high definition and readable in all settings - indoor and outdoor,” notes Marshall Smith, senior director materials management at Intel Capital. “Aledia’s nanowire micro-LEDs are a key enabling technology for this next generation of mobile consumer devices,” he believes.
Aledia’s existing investors include Braemar Energy Ventures, Demeter Investment Partners, the Ecotechnologies fund of Bpifrance, Ingka Investments, Intel Capital, Sofinnova Ventures, Supernova Invest, TEL (Tokyo Electron), Valeo, and several large additional technology companies.
Aledia completes €30m Series-C financing round