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invest photonics expands offerings for venture capitalists

Sep 2012
For two days at the end of the year, venture capitalists and photonics investors will gather at the Place de la Bourse to network, learn, share and grow. The third biennial Invest in Photonics event, a business partnering convention that focuses on venture capital investment in photonics, will be held Dec. 12-13.

The event will promote the European region’s mandate to develop and stimulate competitiveness in photonics markets, as photonics is one of five key enabling technologies named by the European Commission as vital for future prosperity.

The convention will offer an enriched program emphasizing three of the top fast-growth markets for the photonics industry: cleantech, health care and consumer products. It also will focus on trends in Asia.

Photonics-based technologies have multiplied in a number of areas, such as information and communication, where an increasing proportion of optical fiber cables are made overseas, with China and India becoming major suppliers; and in screen and display, where component production has shifted toward Asia. Other developments in photonics energy systems, including the relocation of advanced lighting and laser diode manufacturing to Asia, have been progressing.

Attendees will debate the potential of this growing market and discuss Asian trends and business practices. Talks will outline the reality of the Asian market, the threats and opportunities for companies in other countries, and will offer the data necessary to build a sustainable growth strategy.

Key speakers at Invest in Photonics 2012 represent Zeiss, Philips and Samsung Ventures. The participation of global brands aims to make the photonics event more market-focused and provide an impetus for investors to better spot potential investments in hardware, organizers say.

Pierre Billardon, president of Carl Zeiss France, will introduce the health care segment of the conference.

Hans Nikol, vice president of LED innovation and strategy at Philips, will talk about cleantech.

Michael Jeon, head of Samsung Ventures Europe, will cover consumer goods.

A fourth session, dealing with competitive developments and trends in Asia, will be led by Vivek Tandon of Aloe Private Equity, a firm specializing in injecting capital into companies with environmentally sustainable technology. It establishes strategic partnerships with companies based in India, China and other Southeast Asian countries.

Organizers expect 300 photonics and investment professionals to attend, more than double the number of delegates present at the last event in 2010.

“In 2012, we are starting to see unparalleled new opportunities emerging in the photonics area, and investor interest has dramatically increased,” said Giorgio Anania, the event’s 2012 chairman. “More than ever, Invest in Photonics is the right event at the right time and is still the only such investment program focused exclusively on photonics.

“The third edition is a result of the high level of demand we have received and will be larger than previous events, with significantly more participating companies, world-class speakers from end-user industries and a special new focus on particular markets.”

Photonics represents at least 10 percent of the European economy, worth €58.5 billion in 2008 – 21 percent of the world market – and employs 290,000 in Europe, which is set to increase as technologies in these areas continue to develop, as Photonics21 wrote in a 2011 report titled The Leverage Effect of Photonics Technologies: The European Perspective.

“In the past two years, interest in the photonics area has grown significantly, particularly the explosion of photonics in communications applications and in data centers, which is at the heart of the information technology revolution in which we are living,” Anania said. “Big advances in the market for photonics applications have occurred in lighting, life sciences, biophotonics, smartphones and in consumer electronics, of which the cleantech, health and consumer product markets have seen double-digit growth.”

In a special event, a number of companies will be selected to present an elevator pitch to a panel of venture capitalists from around the world; this has helped raise €37 million in funding to date.

The convention is organized by the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce, the ALPhA (Aquitaine Laser Photonics and Applications) technology cluster and CEA-EA, the largest government-funded technological research organization in France.

For more information, visit

Aloe Private EquityAsia-PacificBordeauxCarl Zeiss FranceCommunicationsConsumerEuro NewsEuropeFrancefundingGiorgio AnaniaHans NikolimagingindustrialInvest in PhotonicsinvestmentmarketMichael JeonNewsopticsPhilipsPhotonics21Pierre BillardonSamsung Ventures Europeventure capitalVivek Tandonlasers

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