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Luxexcel lands VC cash for prescription virtual reality eyewear

02 Oct 2017

Netherlands-based Innovation Industries makes €4 million equity investment.

Luxexcel, the Netherlands-based developer of 3D-printed optics, says it has attracted new venture capital investment of €4 million that will enable it to advance its technology for augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) applications.

The Eindhoven firm, which received €8.5 million backing as recently as May and counts semiconductor equipment giant KLA-Tencor among its backers, will use the cash to expand its efforts and partnerships in the fast-growing AR/VR sector - and more specifically to provide headsets that integrate sight correction for those who wear glasses.

“The investment enables Luxexcel to accelerate the next-gen development of its 3D printing platform for prescription lenses for use in augmented reality and virtual reality applications,” announced the company.

EU support
Amsterdam-headquartered Innovation Industries is the venture capital group providing the new cash. It is supported by InnovFin Equity, which is in turn backed by the European Union, via its Horizon 2020 financial instruments scheme.

Nard Sintenie, founding partner at the VC fund, said: “We believe that with the technology of Luxexcel it will be possible to combine AR/VR applications with [vision] correction, which is an essential component in bringing smart eyewear to the mainstream market. We are excited about leveraging the high-tech network in the Netherlands to enable this unique breakthrough.”

Luxexcel’s CEO Hans Streng added in a company release: “AR/VR applications have become a hot topic in the industry. We add the ability to 3D-print ophthalmic-quality prescription lenses to these applications.

“This enables the AR/VR headset manufacturers to offer fully personalized smart eyewear in an attractive frame design. The ability of our platform to 3D-print ophthalmic lenses in any shape or form and the possibility to embed new functionalities in the lens triggers entirely new dimensions in terms of user-experience and business opportunity.”

Personalized headsets
Back in May, Luxexcel said that the €8.5 million investment from SET Ventures, Munich Venture Partners, PMV and KLA-Tencor would support installation of the first “industrial-grade” 3D printing platforms at sites in the US and Europe.

The new €4 million investment will be used to expand the Luxexcel platform's functionality - partly through dedicated co-development programs - to include smart glasses that provide wearers with real-time information for professional and personal use, such as games or controlling drones.

“The Luxexcel Vision platform offers opportunities for both ophthalmic labs and AR/VR headset manufacturers,” states the company. “Ophthalmic labs use the Luxexcel Vision Platform to 3D print custom AR/VR lenses. The Luxexcel Vision Platform is fully integrated in today’s ophthalmic lab flow. This opens up a new industry lens segment for ophthalmic labs.”

According to Luxexcel it will give VR and AR headset makers the ability to commercialize gear featuring integrated, personalized prescription lenses.

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