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TDK Ventures invests in GaN laser developer SLD Laser

23 Jan 2020

Third tranche of TDK Ventures investment confirmed from $50 million fund established in mid-2019.

Japan-based electronics giant TDK Ventures has made its third investment from a $50 million fund into SLD Laser, a GaN materials developer commercializing visible laser light sources.

TDKV commented that “SLD Laser fulfills TDK Ventures’ mission targeting innovation in materials science, energy/power and related areas typically underrepresented in venture capital portfolios.”

SLD Laser is TDK Ventures’ third investment target since its July 2019 launch with a stated mission to “invest its expertise in innovative materials science, energy, power and related areas for a sustainable world where digital and energy transformation will improve billions of lives.”

Steve Denbaars, CEO and cofounder at SLD Laser, commented, “TDK is the perfect strategic partner. 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. We have already identified a number of areas where TDK will help us pioneer the future of light faster.”

Semipolar GaN materials

TDK Ventures’ Managing Director Nicolas Sauvage added, “SLD Laser is a pioneer in innovative and meaningful applications leveraging semipolar GaN materials, and we are impressed by their team and their ambitious roadmap of a wide spectrum of applications around the future of light.

“TDKV looks 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.”

SLD Laser was founded in 2013 by solid state lighting specialists Dr. Shuji Nakamura (2014 Nobel Laureate in Physics and father of modern LED lighting), Dr. Steve Denbaars, Dr. James Raring, and Dr. Paul Rudy.

This independent spin-off from lighting giant Soraa (which means “sky” in kanji) holds an intellectual property portfolio with over 500 patents. Their recently released products are more than ten times brighter than today’s LED lights, capable of illuminating objects one kilometer away while using less power than traditional technology.

SLD's Beyond Lighting technology combines dynamic illumination with high-resolution sensing and ultra-high speed LiFi communication. SLD Laser products are used in applications including automotive, mobility, specialty and portable lighting, projection and AR/VR displays, biomedical instrumentation, industrial imaging, and materials processing.

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