22 January 2020
TDK Ventures invests in GaN laser light firm SLD Laser
Electronics company TDK Corp of Tokyo, Japan says that subsidiary TDK Ventures Inc has added to its growing portfolio of companies by investing in SLD Laser of Goleta, near Santa Barbara, CA, USA (a spin-off from LED lighting firm Soraa Inc of Fremont, CA that is commercializing visible laser light sources for automotive, mobility, medical, LiFi communication, sensing, specialty lighting and consumer applications).
SoraaLaser was spun off in 2013 from Soraa Inc of Fremont, CA, USA - which develops solid-state lighting technology built on ‘GaN on GaN’ (gallium nitride on gallium nitride) substrates - and was co-founded by Dr Shuji Nakamura (the 2014 Nobel Laureate in Physics), Dr Steve Denbaars, Dr James Raring and Dr Paul Rudy.
SLD Laser is TDK Ventures’ third investment from its $50m fund since its July 2019 launch with a mission to invest its expertise in startups in innovative materials science, energy/power and related areas (typically underrepresented in venture capital portfolios) for a sustainable world.
“Their vision of digital and energy transformation matches our vision of developing real-world applications for intelligent illumination, sensing and communication that weren’t thought possible,” comments said SLD Laser’s CEO & cofounder Steve Denbaars about TDK Ventures. “We have already identified a number of areas where TDK will help us pioneer the future of light faster,” he adds.
“We look for fundamental solutions to the hardest problems, and offer our expertise, experience and industry connections to startups and growth-phase companies to help them more quickly achieve their full potential to make a positive world impact,” says TDK Ventures’ managing director Nicolas Sauvage. “SLD Laser is a true pioneer in innovative and meaningful applications leveraging semi-polar GaN materials, and we are very impressed by their team and their ambitious roadmap of a wide spectrum of applications around the future of light,” he comments.
SLD Laser holds an intellectual property portfolio with over 500 patents. Their recently released products are claimed to be more than ten times brighter than existing LED lights, capable of illuminating objects 1km away while using less power than traditional technology. Their Beyond Lighting technology combines dynamic illumination with high-resolution sensing and ultra-high-speed LiFi communication. Products are used in applications including automotive & mobility, specialty & portable lighting, entertainment & outdoor, projection & AR/VR displays, biomedical instrumentation & therapeutics, industrial imaging & material processing.