9 January 2020
MICLEDI raises €4.5m from imec.xpand, PMV and FIDIMEC
MICLEDI Microdisplays BV of Leuven, Belgium, a spin-off from nanoelectronics research centre imec, has raised €4.5m seed capital from imec.xpand, with participation from Brussels-based PMV (which funds start-ups in Flanders) and FIDIMEC (imec’s investment arm, supporting the creation and growth of its spin-off companies). The funding will be used to develop micro-LED displays for next-generation augmented reality (AR) glasses.
MICLEDI says that its vision is to enable AR for everyday personal use - smart glasses that are small, lightweight, with long battery life, and at reasonable cost. The firm is hence developing what are targeted to be the world smallest and brightest displays. The key innovation is the new integration technology for micro-LEDs on 300mm wafers developed in collaboration with imec.
Picture: The MICLEDI team: co-founder & CTO Dr Soeren Steudel, co-founder & COO Dr Alexander Mityashin, and CEO Sean Lord.
MICLEDI was founded by chief technology officer Dr Soeren Steudel and chief operating officer Dr Alexander Mityashin, both researchers from imec with expertise in R&D and display development. They are joined by experienced semiconductor industry Sean Lord as CEO.
“AR glasses may replace our smartphones in the future, and display technology is a key enabler for such a transition,” says Steudel. “Today’s display technologies cannot fulfil the specifications needed for next-generation AR glasses,” he adds. “At MICLEDI we are tackling this challenge and have developed displays that are 100x brighter than commercial alternatives.”
To implement the vision that future consumer AR devices will be powered by a tiny display, MICLEDI has raised the €4.5m seed investment from imec.xpand, PMV and FIDIMEC. “We look forward to working with them and to enable technology that will be at the core of future AR devices and will change how digital information is presented to consumers,” comments Cyril Vančura, a partner at imec.xpand.
MICLEDI’s will develop its micro-LED technology and first prototypes on imec’s 300mm pilot-line infrastructure.
“Hardware development takes courage, capital and time. We are proud of the entrepreneurship of our engineers to bring promising technology developments originating from our R&D to the market,” says imec’s president & CEO Luc Van den hove. “Based on an original concept launched now more than two years ago by the MICLEDI team, imec together with imec.xpand incubated this into a promising technology base and exciting business case. It leverages imec’s extensive R&D in organic displays, 300mm integration and wafer-scale optics technologies,” he adds.
“MICLEDI’s new-generation display for AR glasses fits in PMV’s strategy of supporting early-stage technology with a large-scale international potential, hence strengthening Flanders’ position as a top region,” states Roald Borré, head of equity investments at PMV.