Luminate, Qubits Ventures Launch Quantum and Photonics Pitch Competition: Week in Brief: 09/02/2022

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SAN JOSE, Calif., Sept. 2, 2022 — Lidar technology company Cepton received a nonbinding letter of intent for an investment of up to $100 million from its long-term automotive Tier 1 partner and current shareholder Koito Manufacturing Co. Ltd. The proceeds from the proposed investment will fund Cepton’s next stage of growth as it scales its lidar solutions for mass deployment. The investment in Cepton will be Koito’s third since 2020.

BOZEMAN, Mont. — Montana-based syndicate Beaverhead Partners LLC invested $55 million in Bridger Photonics. Bridger said the investment supports its rapid growth. The company developed gas mapping lidar, a methane detection technology. The U.S. Department of Energy awarded Bridger Photonics $4.6 million from the department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy’s (ARPA-E) SCALEUP program in September 2020.

PASADENA, Calif. — Luminate Accelerator and Qubits Ventures, in partnership with the Founder Institute and Duality Accelerator, will host the inaugural $100K Quantum and Photonics Pitch Competition on Sept. 20. During the live, online event, quantum and photonics startups will pitch to a group of investors for a chance to win at least $100,000 from investors, including the Luminate Accelerator and Qubits Ventures. The deadline to submit a pitch for consideration is Sunday, Sept. 11. The event is free and will stream on Zoom. Rules and information can be found at

WASHINGTON, D.C. — NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover discovered two types of igneous rock on the floor of Mars’ Jezero Crater. Because the crater had been home to a lake, scientists had expected to find sedimentary rock. Analysis conducted by the rover’s SuperCam instrument, which uses a laser to vaporize rock and a visible light and infrared spectrometer to analyze the resulting vapor, indicated that the igneous rock had formed both from volcanic activity at the surface and from magma deep underground. SuperCam also found evidence of water-altered minerals in the rocks of the crater floor.
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover took this selfie over a rock nicknamed “Rochette,” on September 10, 2021, the 198th Martian day, or sol of the mission. Courtesy of NASA.
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover takes a selfie over a rock nicknamed “Rochette” on Sept. 10, 2021, the 198th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. Courtesy of NASA.

CORNING, N.Y. — Corning Inc. will build a cable manufacturing facility outside Phoenix, adding approximately 250 jobs and extending the company's strategic investments in optical fiber, cable, and connectivity solutions to meet record demand. The facility is expected to open in 2024 and will be the industry’s western-most U.S. manufacturing site for optical cable — allowing Corning to serve growing demand in the western U.S. and Canada, according to the company.

ARLINGTON, Va. — Leonardo DRS received contracts to provide its advanced thermal weapon sights for the Swedish Ministry of Defense. The firm-fixed-price contracts are worth approximately $50 million. The DRS Electro-Optical Infrared Systems (EOIS) business will provide more than 4600 thermal weapon sights, including standard individual weapon sight (IWS) and individual weapon sight long-range (IWSLR) variants.

HIRAM, Ohio — Funds advised by SK Capital Partners LP and Edgewater Capital Partners LP, private investment firms focused on the specialty materials and specialty chemicals sectors, entered into exclusive negotiations following submission of their binding offer to acquire the scintillation and photonic crystals business of Saint-Gobain SA. Saint-Gobain Crystals is a provider of single scintillation crystals for radiation detection applications, as well as sapphire and garnet substrates for photonics and power electronics applications. The agreement between Saint-Gobain, SK Capital, and Edgewater will be able to be finalized following completion of customary employee consultations within the Saint-Gobain group. The completion of the transaction is subject to the approval of certain regulatory authorities and should be effective before the end of the year, according to SK Capital.

LARIMER, Pa. — Aerial autonomy developer KEF Robotics was awarded a 12-month, $1.5 million, Phase 2 SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) award from the Army Applications Lab. The contract will fund KEF's development of advanced computer vision algorithms to fly tethered autonomous drones through an urban environment in day or night conditions. The development will speed KEF’s ambition to provide vision-based autonomous flight to any aircraft, even in GPS-denied environments, according to the company. In Phase 2, KEF will study the use of tethered drones for highly mobile ground platforms by leveraging infrared and electro-optical sensors, machine learning algorithms, and powerful computation to build a dense and long-range map of the surroundings.

NEW YORK — Accenture made a strategic investment, through Accenture Ventures, in Earth imaging technology company Pixxel. Terms of the investment were not disclosed. Pixxel is building a high-resolution hyperspectral imaging satellite constellation to offer industry AI-powered insights that discover, solve, and predict climate issues at a fraction of the cost of traditional satellites. Pixxel’s satellites can capture images at hundreds of wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum and reveal data about the health of Earth that is invisible to other satellites. Pixxel’s first commercial phase satellites are scheduled to be launched in early 2023 along with the commercial sale of its data. Accenture’s investment in Pixxel follows a $25 million Series A funding round that the company announced in March, as well as the launch of their first satellite as part of SpaceX’s April Transporter-4 payload.

NEW YORK — DarkPulse Inc. entered into agreements to increase its equity ownership to 100% in both Remote Intelligence LLC and Wildlife Specialists LLC. When closed, the agreements will make both firms wholly owned subsidiaries of DarkPulse. Both Remote Intelligence and Wildfire Specialists offer fully integrated, drone-based, georectifed, 3D-modeled mapping for industrial applications specializing in the energy and environmental survey service. Initially specializing in the oil and gas industry, the companies will expand offerings into the home drone delivery markets, according to DarkPulse. DarkPulse uses laser-based monitoring systems to provide rapid and accurate monitoring of temperatures, strains, and stresses.

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Concurrent to a five-year business restructuring plan, LED and OEM lighting solutions company Lumileds filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. Only the company’s operations in the U.S. and the Netherlands are included in the Chapter 11 process. Lumileds expects to emerge from Chapter 11 within 60 days.

NACKA, Sweden — Atlas Copco will acquire cryostat manufacturer Montana Instruments Corp., which provides cryostats for customers involved in physics research and low-temperature technology solutions. Montana Instrument Systems will become part of the Scientific Vacuum Division within Atlas Copco’s Vacuum Technique Business area. The deal purchase price was not disclosed. The acquisition is expected to close during the fourth quarter. 

DORTMUND, Germany — 4PICO Litho, a laser lithography company acquired by nanofabrication company Raith in 2021, was renamed Raith Laser Systems BV. Raith Laser Systems is a producer of maskless laser lithograph systems. The company remains located in St. Oedenrode, Netherlands.

Published: September 2022
An acronym of light detection and ranging, describing systems that use a light beam in place of conventional microwave beams for atmospheric monitoring, tracking and detection functions. Ladar, an acronym of laser detection and ranging, uses laser light for detection of speed, altitude, direction and range; it is often called laser radar.
A noncrystalline, inorganic mixture of various metallic oxides fused by heating with glassifiers such as silica, or boric or phosphoric oxides. Common window or bottle glass is a mixture of soda, lime and sand, melted and cast, rolled or blown to shape. Most glasses are transparent in the visible spectrum and up to about 2.5 µm in the infrared, but some are opaque such as natural obsidian; these are, nevertheless, useful as mirror blanks. Traces of some elements such as cobalt, copper and...
The processes in which luminous energy incident on the eye is perceived and evaluated.
machine vision
Interpretation of an image of an object or scene through the use of optical noncontact sensing mechanisms for the purpose of obtaining information and/or controlling machines or processes.
A material whose molecular structure consists of long chains made up by the repetition of many (usually thousands) of similar groups of atoms.
Businesslidarletter of intentCeptoninvestmentKoito ManufacturingLuminateQubits VenturesFounder InstituteDuality AcceleratorQuantum and Photonics Pitch CompetitionCorningmanufacturingglassFacilityexpansionLeonardo DRSArmy Applications Labvisionmachine visioncomputer visionAccenturePixxelImaginghyperspectraldark pulseWildlife SpecialistsenvironmentalLumiledsbankruptcyChapter 11Atlas CopcoMontana Instruments CorporationIP Infusionnetworkingfiber opticsFujitsu Network CommunicationsCenter for Soft Photoelectrochemical SystemsUniversity of ArizonaEnergy Frontier Research CenterpolymerMaterialsAmericasEuropeBridger PhotonicsSaint-GobainSaint-Gobain Crystals

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