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Sicoya wins European Photonics startup challenge

19 Oct 2016

Silicon photonics specialist recognized at Micro Photonics, the new Berlin expo.

Berlin, Germany-based silicon photonics transceiver developer Sicoya has won the European Photonics Start-up challenge at Micro Photonics, a conference and expo staged last week in the German capital

The company received a cash prize of €4,000, a business coaching package worth €1,500, and various promotions in industry journals. In the competition, which is part of the European outreach program Photonics4All, each of the eight finalists from Germany, France and Austria had to give a presentation on their technology and business model to a judging panel comprising photonics company leaders and cluster managers.

The startup, a Technical University of Berlin spin-off based on nine years’ continuous research into silicon photonics, develops fully-integrated Si-photonics transceiver chips that are designed for server interconnects in data centers. Sicoya said it is on track to enter the market in 2017 with a 100 Gbit/s transceiver chip featuring integrated electronics and optics on a single chip.

Aim: a faster internet

When still based at TU Berlin, the now 25-strong company raised €4.9 million of public funding. Dr. Torsten Fiegler, Sicoya’s business development manager said, “The grants SiliconLight, Silimod, eXIST Forschungstransfer and SPEED have been crucial in our achieving major breakthroughs in technology development. In 2015 we closed a Series A financing round of €3.5 million with Target Partners.”

“Due to our technological achievements, we can lower the power consumption and reduce the costs of silicon photonics transceivers tremendously. This enables better interconnects and will enable a faster internet.”

Waldemar Jantz, a partner at Target Partners and now a board member at Sicoya, commented “Sicoya represents an outstanding opportunity to invest in one of the worldwide leading activities in integrated photonics. We are very proud to be able to support the company in what we believe will be a major step towards the next generation of high-performance integrated photonics.”

Micro Photonics 2016

More than 1000 participants from 15 countries attended the first edition of the new trade fair and congress, which ran from 11–13 October. The conference took place alongside the displays of some 80 exhibitors representing micro-optics, microsystem technology and optoelectronics. The next edition of this business and networking event is scheduled for autumn 2017.

The focus of the first Micro Photonics expo was biophotonics, microphotonics and nanophotonics. The associated congress was divided along similar lines. Prof Dr Jürgen Popp of the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology, who chaired the Biophotonics track, commented, “The technological solutions provided by biophotonics, as well as the topics of the Biophotonics track at micro photonics, are of huge importance for society and the industry.”

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