Photonics startup Rockley raises $50m, looks to health sensing

October 08, 2020 //By Peter Clarke
Rockley looks to health sensing, closes $50 million funding round
UK silicon photonics startup Rockley Photonics has raised $50m, bringing the total investment to over $225m

The Oxford-based developer of optical sensing chips is also targeting healthcare sensing with the appointment of a chief commercial officer with 25 years of experience in the medical device industry.

The latest tranche of funding comes from investors including SIG-i Capital and Applied Ventures LLC, the venture capital arm of Applied Materials Inc., as well as existing shareholders.

The company has appointed Vafa Jamali as chief commercial officer. Jamali will be responsible for the company's commercial strategy, driving business growth and market share. Jamali has extensive medical device knowledge across several specialties and patient conditions and was most recently with Medtronic.

"Our optical sensing chipsets, with their unique analytical capabilities, bring benchtop testing capabilities to healthcare and well-being markets within handheld and wearable devices," said Andrew Rickman, CEO of Rockley, in a statement. "Vafa’s extensive experience in the medical devices field will help to position Rockley for growth in this multibillion-dollar, high-volume market,' he added.

Rockley developed its photonics platform to facilitate cost-effective volume manufacture of highly integrated optical/electronic devices.

The platform enables data communications and machine vision applications but is also suitable for high precision sensing in multiple healthcare and wellness applications. "Personalized monitoring of multiple biophysical and biochemical biomarkers will revolutionize the way we look after our health and wellbeing," said Jamali, in the same statement.

"This round provides the funding for Rockley as it moves into the next exciting growth phase and develops next generation disruptive silicon photonics powered healthcare and wellness sensors and communications products for its Tier-1 customers," said Rickman.

Rickman founded Bookham Technology in 1988, and also served as its CEO and Chairman of the board. The company, which became Oclaro, was the world's second largest fibre optics telecom component manufacturer. 

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