AES Semigas


20 June 2024

Cambridge start-up Wave Photonics raises £4.5m in seed funding

Wave Photonics of Cambridge, UK (which was founded in May 2021) has received £4.5m ($5.8m) in a seed investment round co-led by the UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (UKI2S) and Cambridge Enterprise Ventures, with participation from the Redstone and QAI Ventures’ Quantum Fund, Kyra Ventures, and Deep Tech Labs. This was complemented by non-dilutive funding in grants from the Horizon Europe European Innovation Council (EIC) Fund and UK Government agency Innovate UK (which provides funding and support for business innovation as part of UK Research and Innovation). The company’s total funding to date is now £5.4m ($6.9m).

The new funds will be used to develop on-chip photonics designs for quantum technologies, sensors, and data-center applications.

Integrated photonics can be used as the platform for energy-efficient communications, wearable healthcare sensors, rapid diagnostic tools, optical sensor processors, on-chip LiDAR, quantum computing and communications. But, in contrast to mature semiconductor chip processes, taking a photonic integrated circuit (PIC) from a concept to mass production is long and often prohibitively expensive, says the firm.

The Wave Photonics team.

Picture: The Wave Photonics team.

Wave Photonics was founded by two University of Cambridge quantum photonics PhDs James Lee and Matthew Anderson along with chief technology officer Mateusz Kubica (a former quantitative finance VP with 10 years’ experience in mathematical and computational modelling). The firm has since built and validated its core computational photonics design technology to reduce photonic product development time. It aims to use this to unlock what it describes as the transformative potential of integrated photonics.

The firm’s mission is to help unlock valuable photonics markets by reshaping the inefficient and fragmented productization cycle into an integrated and rapid process, analogous to the development of modern semiconductors.

The new investment will enable it to take its technology from a research manufacturing line to a commercial foundry, with a particular focus on solutions for frontier applications such as quantum technologies and biosensing.

“The team has spent the past few years building and experimentally validating our design technology – it’s exciting to have the resources to begin deploying it to solve real industry problems,” says CEO James Lee.

“When we first met Jamie and his partners, we were very impressed by both the vision and the promise of the very innovative approach taken to design for the next generation of integrated photonics,” comments UKI2S investment director Mark White.

“Cambridge Enterprise Ventures is pleased to follow our initial pre-seed investment and co-lead Wave Photonics’ seed round with UKI2S,” says Dr Christine Martin, head of ventures at Cambridge Enterprise. “Integrated photonics is poised to disrupt high-value industries ranging from quantum computing to bio-sensing, and Wave Photonics’ team and technologies are in a great position to enable and accelerate the adoption of next-generation integrated photonics products,” she reckons.

“Integrated photonics is an expanding field with strong impact on quantum technologies, as well as diverse applications touching our everyday life,” notes Chiara Decaroli of Redstone. “We believe Wave Photonics' products will play a significant role in shaping PICs design in the future.”

Tags: PIC



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