Investinor leads round to support the commercialisation of poLight’s optical polymer lens.
poLight AS, the world leader in reflowable autofocus actuated lenses for camera phones, announced today the successful closing of its Series B financing round, raising NOK100 million (USD 18.5 million). Investinor, based in Trondheim, Norway, led the round with the participation of existing shareholders Viking Venture III AS, Alliance Venture Polaris AS and SINTEF Venture III AS.
poLight’s TLens (Tunable Lens) offers camera module makers next generation Auto Focus (AF) actuators based on an innovative patented optical polymer technology that will continue to improve camera phone performance while aggressively driving its cost and size further down.
poLight’s TLens products can easily be integrated into mobile phone camera modules ranging from low-end to high-end devices, as high as 12 mega-pixel. poLight’s technology brings superior features compared to the traditional AF solutions, reducing by half camera module system power consumption and allowing Instant Focus for video and picture capture.
“Investors recognize that poLight’s technology is best positioned to bring features enhancing camera phone user experience while, for the manufacturing process, leveraging semiconductor suppliers to ensure cost effective large volume supply,” said Christian Dupont, CEO of poLight. “Customers will be able to benefit from our innovation with a trusted sourcing.”
Eivind Bergsmyr, Partner at Viking Venture, added: “Since our Series A investment in poLight in 2009, the company has made tremendous progress. A solid management team has been built around new CEO Christian Dupont who brought several highly knowledgeable leaders to complement poLight’s technology experts. poLight has sampled its TLens to the camera phone market generating a high level of interest and having customers integrating the TLens in their camera module design. In parallel, poLight has secured cooperation with leading MEMS semiconductor suppliers.”
“We are pleased to play a leading role to allow this high potential Norwegian nanotechnology company, based on 10 years of advanced R&D, to commercialize its technology for use in the highly demanding and rewarding mobile phone market. According to the Japanese market analyst TSR, worldwide mobile camera phone sales to end users reached 1.1 billion units in 2010. We believe the combination of the advanced technology expertise in Horten, Norway and the international industrial experience found within the team, is the right combination to handle the challenges found in the high clock speed mobile industry”, said Ann-Tove Kongsnes, Investment Director of Investinor.
poLight’s round B of financing could be extended to NOK130M (USD 24.5 million ) in the second part of the year with additional investors joining the consortium.
Investinor was established in 2008 and is funded by the Norwegian government. Current funds under management are about USD 400 Million (NOK 2.2 billion). It invests in highly competitive and promising Norwegian companies aiming for international growth and/or expansion. Investinor is an active and value adding owner with a clear exit strategy for all investments. For more information, visit www.investinor.no.
poLight is developing micro-optics components. Its patented proprietary technology enables the production of reflowable and wafer scale active optical components based on deformable polymers. Originating from a spin-off from Ignis ASA, poLight received, during 2009, investments from Viking Venture III AS, Alliance Venture Polaris AS, Sintef Venture III AS and Ignis ASA. poLight's main objective is to lead the mobile phone camera module market with the world’s smallest and most cost-efficient autofocus reflowable lens. poLight is based in Horten, south of Oslo, Norway. For more information, visit www.polight.com.
About Viking Venture
Viking Venture is one of the leading technology focused venture funds in Norway with about USD 250 million (NOK 1.4 billion) under management. The investment company focuses on companies involved in electronics, software, oil & gas, materials and clean technology. Viking Venture typically invests in companies that have passed the seed phase and is ready for the commercialization phase. The fund is a very active owner with a substantial share in the portfolio companies.
About Alliance Venture
Alliance Venture is a venture capital firm investing in privately held, early stage technology companies. Total funds under management are about USD 80 million (NOK 0.4 billion). Alliance Venture was formed in 2001 by a team of experienced executives with backgrounds that enables efficient investment evaluations and active follow-up. This is supported by a network of strategic alliances, who can contribute with know-how, deal flow, due-diligence, co-investments and partnerships with the portfolio companies.
SINTEF is one of the largest contract R&D institutes in Europe with 2,000 employees and a yearly turnover of approximately €300 million. SINTEF’s subsidiary Sinvent AS manages the IPR and venture portfolio of SINTEF.