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MicroLED display developer Aledia gains €80M of scheduled €120M funding

09 Oct 2020

French firm closes first of 3 tranches in Series D investment for product and facility development near Grenoble.

Aledia, a French startup that is pioneering a disruptive technology for microLED displays, has closed an €80M ($92.9M) first tranche of its €120M ($139.4M) D-round financing.

The company says it will use the proceeds to complete its product development and create the first-of-its-kind, high-volume 3D microLED manufacturing facility in Grenoble, France, for an estimated cost of €40 million ($46.5M), excluding equipment).

Spun out of French high-tech research agency CEA-Leti in 2012, Aledia uses its proprietary technology to develop LED chips for next-generation displays for laptops, tablets, smartphones, smartwatches, augmented-reality glasses and large TVs.

The Investment Fund Société de Projet Industriel (SPI), a fund managed by Bpifrance and underwritten by the French State as part of the Programme d’Investissements d’Avenir, is lead investor in the round and is joined by the majority of the existing strategic investors, including Intel Capital.

‘Turning point’

“There is a major turning point coming in the $120 billion per year display market as microLED technology starts to replace the traditional LCD and OLED technologies,’’ said Giorgio Anania, Aledia CEO and cofounder. “In addition to being more efficient and brighter than current alternatives, with better colors, and a faster refresh rate, these new displays will be competitively priced.”

Anania added that Aledia is the only company targeting this market with a nanocrystal technology that uses very large-size silicon wafers (200-300mm in diameter) and with processes developed by the microelectronics industry, as opposed to the traditional technology of planar, 2D LEDs built on smaller, layered sapphire substrates of 100-150mm diameter.

“Clearly there is significant competition in this market, and this investment allows Aledia to accelerate substantially its development and establish world-class manufacturing capabilities,” Anania said. “We are delighted to welcome SPI to our shareholder base, and we are also proud that our largest strategic investors and development partners are all reinvesting in this financing.’’

Magali Joëssel, SPI fund director at Bpifrance, said, “The display industry is a large strategic market of the future. With an investment of over €200 million in equipment over the next five years and plans to grow to approximately 500 employees, Aledia’s location in the Grenoble area signals a commitment to establish a world-scale industrial manufacturing facility in France.’’

Marshall Smith, senior director, materials management at Intel Capital, said, "The need has never been greater for displays which are energy efficient, high definition and readable in all settings. Aledia’s nanowire MicroLEDs are a key enabling technology for this next-generation of mobile consumer devices."

Aledia’s existing investors include Braemar Energy Ventures, Demeter Investment Partners, the Ecotechnologies fund of Bpifrance, Ingka Investments, Intel Capital, Sofinnova Ventures, Supernova Invest, TEL (Tokyo Electron), Valeo, and several large, additional technology companies. The financing was managed by Ancoris Capital Partners of New York, with Orrick as legal advisers.

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