FlexEnable takes the money for move into smart automotive surfaces

FlexEnable takes the money for move into smart automotive surfaces

Business news |
By Peter Clarke

An equal amount of funding from Novares is scheduled for 2019 contingent on positive market feedback on innovation resulting from the initial investment. The total funding of €5.0 million (about $6 million) will give Novares a “significant equity stake” in FlexEnable, Novares said without quantifying that stake.

Novares Groupe is an automotive plastics company formed by the merger of Mecaplast and Key Plastics in 2017 that plans to invest up to €50 million (about $60 million) in the development of technology over the next five years. The investment in FlexEnable is Novares’ first venture capital outlay.

The investment is a first step in a partnership to develop glass-free flexible electronic displays and sensors or “smart surfaces” for automotive applications. It will combine Novares’ expertise in designing and manufacturing automotive parts with FlexEnable’s bendable glass-free plastic electronics technology. To speed up its R&D Novares Group signed a multiyear collaboration agreement in 2017 with France’s Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), which includes Leti and other research groups.

FlexEnable, which started out as Cambridge University spin off Plastic Logic Ltd includes Lord Alec Broers, Professor Henning Sirringhaus and Hermann Hauser on its board of directors and retains more than 600 patents on plastic transistors and circuits. Plastic Logic initially applied its expertise to addressing of flexible displays by way of organic thin-film transistors (OTFT).

Novares supplies almost all tiers of the automotive supply chain with plastic parts and had 2017 revenues of about €1.2 billion (about $1.5 billion).

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