Wave Photonics secures £4.5M for deployment of light-based chips

20th June 2024
Paige West

Wave Photonics, a deep tech startup based in Cambridge, secured £4.5M to advance on-chip photonics designs for quantum technologies, sensors, and data centre applications.

The funding round was led by the UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund and Cambridge Enterprise Ventures, with contributions from the Redstone and QAI Ventures’ Quantum Fund, Kyra Ventures, and Deep Tech Labs. This round also included non-dilutive funding through EIC and Innovate UK grants, bringing the company’s total funding to £5.4M ($6.9M).

Integrated photonics employs the same scalable processes as semiconductor electronics to create light circuits. It serves as a platform for energy-efficient communications, wearable healthcare sensors, rapid diagnostic tools, optical tensor processors, on-chip lidar, quantum computing and communication, among other transformative technologies. However, unlike the mature semiconductor chip process, transitioning a photonic integrated circuit (PIC) from concept to mass production is often lengthy and prohibitively expensive.

Founded in May 2021 by James Lee, Matthew Anderson, and Mateusz Kubica, Wave Photonics has since validated its core computational photonics design technology. This technology aims to reduce photonic product development time and unlock the potential of integrated photonics. Their mission is to streamline the inefficient and fragmented production cycle into an integrated and rapid process, similar to modern semiconductor development.

This investment will facilitate Wave Photonics' transition from research manufacturing to a commercial foundry, focusing on solutions for frontier applications such as quantum technologies and biosensing.

James Lee, CEO, said: “The team has spent the past few years building and experimentally validating our design technology – it’s exciting to have the resources to begin deploying it to solve real industry problems.”

Mark White, UKI2S Investment Director, said: “We are delighted to be co-leading this seed round for Wave Photonics. When we first met Jamie and his partners, we were very impressed by both the vision and the promise of the very innovative approach taken to design for the next generation of integrated photonics.”

Dr Christine Martin, Head of Ventures at Cambridge Enterprise, said: “Cambridge Enterprise Ventures is pleased to follow our initial pre-seed investment and co-lead Wave Photonics’ seed round with UKI2S. Integrated photonics is poised to disrupt high-value industries ranging from quantum computing to bio-sensing, and Wave Photonics’ team and technologies are in a great position to enable and accelerate the adoption of next-generation integrated photonics products.”

Chiara Decaroli of Redstone, said: “Redstone has been impressed by what the team at Wave Photonics has achieved so far and are thrilled to support their next phase of growth and development. Integrated photonics is an expanding field with strong impact on quantum technologies, as well as diverse applications touching our everyday life. We believe Wave Photonics' products will play a significant role in shaping PIC's design in the future.”

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