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  • Varioptic Announces Funding Round
May 2004
LYON, France, May 27 -- Varioptic SA, a Lyon-based maker of electrically controlled optical liquid lenses for optical designers, has announced a a 10-million-euro Series B funding round from PolyTechnos Venture-Partners (Munich, Germany) and Sofinnova Partners (Paris). Varioptic received a first round of funding, for 2 million euros, from Sofinnova Partners last year.

Headed by Etienne Paillard, who joined the company in December as CEO, Varioptic was founded in 2002 by president and CTO Bruno Berge, a former research scientist at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and professor at Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon. The company’s technology is based on research conducted at the Universite Joseph Fourier (Grenoble) and the Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon.

Varioptic was the first to hold international patents on a single-element focusing lens based on immiscible liquids. Conventional focus technologies are based on the principle of moving parts, i.e., of precisely shifting delicate glass elements. The Varioptic approach is to sandwich two liquids, one of them conductive, between transparent panes, attach contacts and control the shape of the interface between the liquids through voltage, using electro-wetting principles.

Varioptic said it will use the funding for research and to further develop its its products for various applications.

Knut Heitmann, a founding partner of PolyTechnos and former managing director, research and development, at Leitz (now Leica), in Germany, has become a member of Varioptic’s scientific advisory board. Dirk Kanngiesser, founder and managing partner of PolyTechnos, has joined Varioptic’s board of directors.

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