Spectricity raises €14m for tiny hyperspectral sensor

Spectricity raises €14m for tiny hyperspectral sensor

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Belgian startup Spectricity has raised €14m ($16m) to accelerate the development and mass production of its CMOS-based tiny hyperspectral sensors and imagers for high-volume, low-cost applications from wearables to smartphones and IoT devices.

The hyperspectral sensor technology was developed at R&D lab imec and spun off three years ago with the research engineers. Semiconductor industry veteran Vincent Mouret joined as CEO last April and Chairman of the Board, Pieter Vorenkamp, ex-Senior Vice President of Broadcom, helped to productize the technology and scale the company.

The team has patented wafer-scale hyperspectral filter technology that can be integrated ito a standard CMOS sensor flow to capture a much broader set to wavelengths.

This can be used to monitor a heartbeat, the amount of oxygen in the blood or the hydration of the skin, while hyperspectral imagers can be used to perfectly match your skintone to cosmetics or to determine whether food is fresh. Other applications include counterfeit detection and enhanced augmented reality (AR).

Unlike other approaches, Spectricity’s filters do not require complex and bulky optics or packaging, slow scanning or sophisticated calibration. The sensors with the filters are produced in volume at the imec wafer fab.

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Leading global investors including AtlanticBridge, Capricorn Fusion China Fund, and Shanghai Semiconductor Equipment and Material Fund (SSMEF) invested in the latest round alongside Belgium Series A investors imec.xpand and Xtrion. This round brings Spectricity to €20m in total funding to date.

“This is a major milestone for Spectricity and the deployment of our chip size hyperspectral sensor and imager solutions for mass market mobile devices and applications,” said Vincent Mouret, CEO of Spectricity. “This new round of financing will enable us to significantly accelerate our high-volume manufacturing, hire key talent and continue to expand our partnerships.”

Peter Vanbekbergen, partner at imec.xpand said: “The formation of Spectricity is a prime example of remarkable semiconductor innovation born in Europe, based on unique technology developed at imec. The best companies start with a great technology base, with founders coming together to identify a big problem and line up an expert investment team to help them succeed. As part of that team, we’re focused on providing Spectricity with unique value and networking.”

“I am pleased to see Spectricity growing and closing their second financing round, three years after its creation as imec spin-off,” said Luc Van den hove, President and CEO of imec. “Spectricity’s products are based on unique imec technology, and we will continue to maintain a strong link between our R&D and Spectricity’s development to enable a lasting competitive edge for Spectricity’s products.”

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