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18 Firms to Vie for $94M at Invest in Photonics
Nov 2012
BORDEAUX, France, Nov. 30, 2012 — Eighteen emerging technology companies from around Europe have been selected to participate in a special funding session at the two-day international business partnering convention Invest in Photonics next month in Bordeaux, a growing industrial region for lasers, optics and photonics.

Invest in Photonics is the only event of its kind in Europe designed to attract investors searching for the most innovative, credible and profitable business ventures in photonics. The photonics industry is estimated at €300 billion (about $388 billion, according to Horizon 2020: Research and Innovation in European Photonics, the EU Framework Programme.

The companies from Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Scotland, and 11 from France, were selected for their leading-edge applications in double-digit growth areas such as the clean tech, health care and consumer goods markets, and will improve their chances of targeting a total investment of €72.2 million (approximately $93.9 million).

The companies selected had to meet certain criteria to qualify, including uniqueness of technology, business model credibility, a clearly defined “go to market” strategy, management experience and international development plans. Companies chosen for the special funding session include:
  • Ovizio Imaging Systems, a spinoff of the Free University of Brussels that is developing devices and software based on patented partially coherent light-based digital holographic interferometric microscopy to better observe cell cultures in their original environment;
  • Actlight, a fabless semiconductor company based in the PSE Science and Incubation Park of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) that embeds CMOS-based semiconductor chips into solar cells to power wireless sensors and other electronic devices;
  • MedImaps, located near Bordeaux, a designer and developer of medical tools to assess bone density;
  • Mach8 Lasers, a Netherlands-based business commercializing a proprietary optoelectronics breakthrough for diode lasers for the defense, diagnostics and telecommunications markets;
  • Smart Photonics, an Eindhoven, Netherlands-based III-V foundry; 
  • Holoxica of Edinburgh, Scotland, maker of a pioneering 3-D holographic display system;
  • Argolight, a Netherlands-based maker of ambient LED lighting systems;
  • Aurea Technology of Besançon, France, which makes ultrasensitive infrared detection systems;
  • Blue Industry and Science of Paris,  an infrared spectrometer maker;
  • Fibercryst of Villeurbanne, France, the maker of the high-power laser gain module Taranis for industry and research applications;
  • Image Guided Therapy, a Bordeaux-based medical device company that develops cancer treatment approaches based on tumor ablation;
  • Lasar of France;
  • µQuanS, a Bordeaux-area startup founded by researchers at the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) that develops high-precision tools to measure the gravity of atoms trapped and cooled by a laser;
  • Nethis, a France-based startup that makes terahertz multispectral imaging systems;
  • Prestodiag, founded by Thierry Livache and Thibaut Mercey (who previously founded GenOptics, a company bought by Horiba Jobin Yvon in 2009), based in Villejuif, France; (Prestodiag is developing optical systems to rapidly detect major pathogens like salmonella, listeria and E. coli);
  • Sunna Design, a designer and marketer of LED lighting solutions and solar products that is based in the outskirts of Bordeaux;
  • Vence Innovation, a Grenoble, France-based maker of a smart motion detector.
“We are very impressed with the innovative quality of the companies selected for funding, their market ambitions and the ingenuity of their projects,” said Giorgio Anania, Invest in Photonics chairman. “With fast-growth in the life sciences, clean tech and consumer products markets, as well as emerging markets, there’s significantly more potential for high returns from investments in photonics.”

“It’ll be important for the companies selected for the special funding session to show some creativity in their plans to get to the product stage,” said George N. Ugras, general partner, Adams Capital Management. “I have regularly attended Invest in Photonics to look for investment opportunities and support the Bordeaux region’s concerted effort to help small European companies prosper and create jobs in the photonics industry.”

“We’ll be paying close attention to the market size of each application, the particularity of the technology as well as the strength of management team behind each company seeking funding,” said Alessio Beverina, partner at Sofinnova.

This is the third biennial Invest in Photonics event, which has helped raise €37 million to date. Previous events took place in 2008 and 2010.

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A sub-field of photonics that pertains to an electronic device that responds to optical power, emits or modifies optical radiation, or utilizes optical radiation for its internal operation. Any device that functions as an electrical-to-optical or optical-to-electrical transducer. Electro-optic often is used erroneously as a synonym.
A kind of spectrograph in which some form of detector, other than a photographic film, is used to measure the distribution of radiation in a particular wavelength region.
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