Invest in Photonics chooses 20 European companies to pitch for €70m funding

23 September 2014

Invest in Photonics 2014, a two-day international business partnering convention for photonics VC investment, has announced the selection of 20 emerging technology companies from around Europe to participate in a special funding session on October 9–10, 2014, in Bordeaux (France).

First launched in 2008, Invest in Photonics focuses on providing venture capitalists with a clear perspective on the most innovative, credible and profitable market opportunities in photonics (light-based technologies). The Bordeaux region is a growing industrial centre for laser, optics and photonics.

The selected companies represent an innovative pan-European group of firms. They come from Finland, Norway, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Ireland and Hungary, and include five companies from Germany plus five from France. Their objective is to improve their chances of targeting a total investment of US$90 million (€70m).

The entrepreneurs will be seeking different levels of funding from seed to growth capital. Funding is used to further research and development, develop sales and marketing, enter a market, or to solidify the business networks of emerging photonics companies.

“There are 20 exciting investment opportunities in optical communications, sensing, biophotonics, imaging, energy, healthcare and manufacturing for the VC community to consider at Invest in Photonics this year,” said Thierry Thevenin, head of the organizing committee at Invest in Photonics. “Invest in Photonics is a very time-efficient way of developing direct personal contact with some of the most influential players in global markets as well as thought leaders in the photonics field. We are confident that our emphasis on market-focused data in photonics and real life applications will help the financial community identify the best opportunities to strike deals.”

Projects range from skin diagnostics and cell analysis to 3D optical printing and smart LED lighting. They cover a hybrid semiconductor graphene material that could potentially replace silicon. The projects also include a bright light therapy treatment. The treatment consists of a light headset that channels light through the ear canal to the photosensitive parts of the brain in order to alleviate SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or lift depression. The light headset is at an advanced stage of development and already available at Amazon.

The companies selected for the special funding session are: Actlight (CH), Aledia (FR), Aurea Technology (FR), Azur Light Systems (FR), Class 5 Photonics (DE), Crayonano (NO), Domo Helios (FR), Effect Photonics (NL), Holografika (HU), Ideas (NO), LED Linear (DE), Luxexcel (NL), Medlumics (SP), Multiphoton Optics (DE), Sicoya (DE), Sunna Design (FR), Sxt-co (IE), Valkee (FI), Volatiles (DE) et Voptica (SP).

Each candidate will deliver a five-minute investment opportunity pitch, followed by a two-minute question and answer session.

To participate in the special funding session, the selection committee required companies to demonstrate:

  • a real market opportunity;
  • a unique value proposition that shows venture capitalists the company’s ability to penetrate a market;
  • the ability to outperform competition based on unique differentiation.

“I see a bright future for the photonics industry as a driver of innovation and enabling new applications in new human interfaces, medicine, industrial processing, energy and other segments,” said George Ugras, general partner, Adams Capital Management, Inc. “This conference has become one of the most interesting venues to see these innovative companies that are ready for growth.”

Yole Finance, a unit of market analyst firm Yole Developpement, selected and intensively coached the candidates to meet VC expectations. Those attending Invest in Photonics view the professional coaching as one of the major differentiating factors over other investment meetings of this kind.

“Since holding our first Invest in Photonics event in 2008, we have seen that it takes an average of two years for a candidate to close a funding round. Of the 41 companies who have participated in our events, 40% have succeeded in raising funds. The majority of those seeking seed funding have raised €1.5m. Other have raised much more capital, with the highest at €15m,” added Thevenin.


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