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Optical link developer Silicon Line raises €8.2m

13 Sep 2018

Low-power optical link developer will invest new Series B funding in production, expansion and Asian presence.

Silicon Line, a developer of innovative, ultra-low-power optical link technology for consumer electronics, commercial and industrial markets, based in Munich, Germany, has raised €8.2m ($9.5m) in a Series B financing round led by Capital-E.

Additional investors in the Series B round include LRM, Munich Venture Partners and Unixtar. The financing will be used to ramp-up production of the company's optical modules – tiny circuit boards inside cable connectors; upgrades to the company's module factory located in Hasselt, Belgium; the hiring of additional design engineers; and opening of local customer support offices in Asia.

Capital-E, LRM and Munich Venture Partners are repeat investors from the company's Series A round, which closed in March 2015 and raised a total of €23m ($26.8m); Taiwan-based Unixtar Technologies, one of the company's partners, is a new investor.

Optical interconnects

In many high-speed data applications, copper cables are reaching their physical limits in terms of connectivity – particularly for distances above one meter. Silicon Line says that ultra-low-power optical link technology “represents the path ahead for a broad range of consumer electronics and industrial applications”.

“By some estimates, the optical interconnect market will reach $7 billion by 2020,” stated the company’s latest funding press release.

Besides the exhaustion of copper capabilities, other market drivers for new technological solutions are said to include:

  • Proliferation of personal, portable devices – including phones, tablets, notebooks, augmented and virtual reality headsets and more – placing a premium on thin, flexible, lightweight cables which minimize power consumption and susceptibility to electromagnetic interference;
  • Specialized camera applications in healthcare, scientific research, national defense and other markets; and
  • Size and weight considerations in a broad range of consumer/industrial segments including automotive, mobile devices and aviation.

Ruud van der Linden, CEO, Silicon Line, commented, "The Silicon Line team has built a formidable portfolio of technologies and products which are already influencing current and future product development in North America, Asia and Europe. We're grateful to our funding partners who are providing the resources required to allow the company to expand and take advantage of the market opportunity we have created."

Market opportunity

Pascal Vanluchene, partner at Capital-E, added, "In much the same way in which copper cables began to collapse in data centers, there is now a significant role to play for active and passive optical cables in consumer and automotive electronics. Silicon Line has the critical components at scalable pricing levels to make this transformation to last," said Pascal Vanluchene, partner, Capital-E.

Lieven De Jonge, head of Smart Manufacturing, at Belgium-based investment company LRM, commented, "Silicon Line has achieved a great breakthrough in a high-tech market. As an investment company, we are pleased to be able to give such a fast-growing company, operating from Corda Campus in Hasselt, Belgium, the extra boost they need."

Rolf Nagel, managing director, at Munich Venture Partners, said, "The Silicon Line Team has realized a remarkable breakthrough technology platform enabling many applications for international markets, such as consumer electronics, medical devices, industrial and new virtual reality/augmented reality."

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