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PhotonVentures Fattens Its Investment Coffers

Photonic integrated circuit on board

Photonic integrated circuit with microarchitecture details. [Image: Getty Images]

The Netherlands-based venture capital fund PhotonVentures, which focuses on investments in integrated photonics, announced on 16 April that a second fundraising round has augmented its investment pot by €15 million (US$16 million). The new round puts the fund’s total pool of investible euros at €75 million (US$80 million).

The new round comes eight months after the fund’s establishment via a €60 million initial investment led by the well-heeled Dutch photonic-ecosystem hub PhotonDelta. By the time the fund closes at the end of this year, PhotonVentures hopes to boost its total war chest to a value of more than €100 million—which it says will target “essential applications in data transmission, health diagnostics and smart sensor systems, while also aligning with major global trends such as AI, AR and VR.”

Picking “international winners”

The PhotonVentures fund was launched in August 2023 as a financing vehicle for its parent, a venture-capital firm also called PhotonVentures—which itself is an outgrowth and partner of PhotonDelta. The fund has the avowed aim of supporting seed and Series A financing rounds for “European deep-tech companies that have potential to grow into international winners in their sectors.”

LioniX IC

Among the companies funded by PhotonVentures is the custom-microsystems developer LioniX International. [Image: LioniX International]

In particular, PhotonVentures says it hopes its financial support can create “the conditions for the growth of 20 deep-tech front-runners to position themselves as international leaders within the European ecosystem.” It has already invested in several Netherlands startups including the integrated-sensor maker MantiSpectra, the AR/VR player Brilliance, the integrated-photonics foundry companies PHIX and SMART Photonics, the microsystem developer LioniX International and others.

A strategic focus

In a country with significant ties to the global semiconductor ecosystem—most notably through the prevalence of the Dutch photolithography equipment giant ASML—PhotonVentures sees an important strategic dimension to its focus on integrated photonics. The press release announcing the new funding cites “strategic support from the Dutch National Growth Fund and the European Chips Act” for the integrated-photonics ecosystem in the Netherlands and Europe. PhotonVentures’ “commitment to integrated photonic technology and sustainable AI-driven trends,” the firm maintains, positions it to “promote significant economic growth and social progress.”

In a country with significant ties to the global semiconductor ecosystem, PhotonVentures sees an important strategic dimension to its focus on integrated photonics.

“The further development of photonics is crucial for the future of the Dutch semiconductor ecosystem,” Marc Jansen, the managing director of investments at Brabant Development Agency (BOM), one of the participants in the new financing round, said in the press release. “It’s no coincidence that photonics is one of the key technologies for BOM. To scale innovative companies in this sector, funds like PhotonVentures are indispensable.”

In addition to BOM, PhotonVentures said other participants in the just-announced €15 million funding kicker included “private and strategic investors,” with additional support from Oost NL, TNO and the University of Twente.

Publish Date: 18 April 2024

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