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  • Imaging Startup Closes Seed Funding Round
Nov 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill., Nov. 7, 2013 — Quantitative imaging startup Phi Optics Inc. has closed its seed funding round with $250,000 from venture capital groups, the company said Wednesday.

Phi Optics develops imaging solutions for life sciences and biopharmaceutical researchers and was founded by Drs. Gabriel Popescu and Catalin Chiritescu of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The company, which is commercializing technology initially developed in Popescu’s lab, is located in the EnterpriseWorks incubator in the University of Illinois Research Park.

The funding will support development of optical microscopes designed for faster and more sensitive imaging of live cells and tissues using Phi Optics’ patented Quantitative Phase Imaging (QPI) technology, a label-free and quantitative imaging method with nanoscale sensitivity, the company said. QPI-enabled devices have applications in life sciences, diagnostic pathology and nanotechnology.

The seed round was led by Champaign-based Serra Ventures and includes New Jersey-based Newport Holdings LP and Champaign-based Illinois Ventures LLC.

Phi Optics also has received a Phase 1 SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) award from the National Science Foundation, and those funds were used toward a feasibility study for translating QPI technology from university lab to commercial product. Phi Optics also has developed strategic partnerships with Agilent Technologies and Carl Zeiss Microscopy.

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