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Nuburu grabs $3M lifeline

09 Apr 2024

Blue industrial laser firm wins purchase order for EV battery production; BluGlass adds funding for GaN laser diode production.

Nuburu, the developer of blue laser diode systems for industrial materials processing applications, says it has gained $3 million as it continues to explore capital-raising opportunities.

News of the investment comes two months after the firm, whose stock was listed on the NYSE American exchange in a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) deal in January 2023, said it was “evaluating strategic alternatives” as it ran low on cash.

The $3 million comes from a combination of strategic investment coordinated by financial technology entrepreneur Alessandro Zamboni, and initial purchase orders from new customers.

“Among the new orders, the company has been awarded an initial purchase order to supply BL-300s to a best-in-class manufacturer of battery systems in the sustainable energy market, with manufacturing capabilities primarily in Asia,” Nuburu announced.

The firm’s blue diode laser systems, which take advantage of the much higher absorption of short-wavelength visible light in metals - and copper in particular - are set to be used in automated welding of components used in electric vehicle battery modules.

Bridging loans
Although Nuburu had originally been hoping to raise hundreds of millions of dollars via the SPAC arrangement, it appeared to fall well short of expectations, leaving the Colorado company scrambling to arrange $5.5 million in bridging loans in November 2023.

That came shortly after the departure of CEO and co-founder Mark Zediker, and results showing that Nuburu had posted an operating loss of more than $5 million on sales of only $0.2 million in the third quarter of last year - leaving it with just $1.6 million cash on its balance sheet.

The firm is yet to post any subsequent results, and has failed to produce its annual financial report within the time prescribed for publicly listed companies by the US Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC).

Current CEO Brian Knaley said of the latest developments: “The customer qualification process for our products can be lengthy and complex, but we are finally seeing the fruits of our efforts.

“We have orders to fill in critical new markets and with new customers and we believe this investment will accelerate our fulfillment process and path towards consistent revenue generation.”

In connection with the new investment, Nuburu said it planned to call a special meeting of stockholders that may allow for the "acquisition of additional assets and the strategic diversification of the business".

BluGlass adds funding
In related news the Australian company BluGlass, which is aiming to ramp production of blue laser diodes fabricated using gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor epitaxy, says it has added funding of $5.9 million.

Late last year the firm acquired the GaNWorks foundry in Silicon Valley, including specialty GaN wafer processing equipment for n-side wafer thinning and laser bar cleave capabilities, both said to be critical and complex processes in its laser manufacturing supply chain.

Its CEO Jim Haden commented: “This capital supports our continued growth, enabling us to step-up production and delivery of our visible GaN lasers in rapidly growing markets, driven by adoption across advanced manufacturing, quantum sensing and computing, defense, space, and biotech applications.

“We’re also investing in future capabilities, such as our distributed feedback (DFB) lasers, which have been key to winning revenue-generating projects and partnerships with the US CLAWS Hub and laser pioneer Applied Energetics.”

CeNing Optics Co LtdBerkeley Nucleonics CorporationABTechIridian Spectral TechnologiesLASEROPTIK GmbHCHROMA TECHNOLOGY CORP.LaCroix Precision Optics
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