SMART-Photonics has managed to raise seven million in a second round of investment. The money will be used for further growth, including through building a new plant and additional staff.
According to Robert Feelders, CFO of SMART-Photonics, the current development of the photonics industry is similar to the early stages of the microelectronics. The expectations are high, especially because Eindhoven is one of the hotspots for this new technology. “Last year we were started to produce for the market, but we know that we still are in the beginning stages of this development. More customers will be joining us, this is a very exciting time for us.”
Feelders used to work forthe photonics department of the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), where SMART-Photonics also originated. The company specializes in the development and (mass) production of integrated photonic chips. These chips could eventually replace the electronic chips, because they are faster and more accurate. The capacity problems expected in data transmission could eventually be solved by photonic chips.
Feelders: “We make our chips based on indium phosphide. With this technology, you can make measurements a thousand times more accurate. That is important, for example in aviation where you can measure the slightest bending of the material, but you can also notice the tiniest cracks in metal.”
The photonics market will grow strongly and by 2025 will have passed the 3,000 billion euro, as is expected.,
SMART Photonics combines their “Multi Project Wafer” (a dish with space for various chips) orders from different customers. In this way, production is cheaper and therefore interesting for smaller companies.
Expectations for the photonics industry are high. Studies show that the global photonics market is already around 600 billion. That market will grow strongly, and in 2025 will have passed the 3,000 billion euro, as is expected. The market for integrated photonics, the asset of the Brainport region, will have a worldwide scale of around 50 billion euros in 2020 and will then also grow strongly.
SMART Photonics, located on the High Tech Campus, now has over 30 employees. According to Feelders this number will be more than doubled in the course of next year. He also expects many additional jobs in the supply chain.