SmartKem, a developer of high performance, organic semiconductor materials for flexible displays and electronics, has completed a significant series A funding round from an investment syndicate comprising BASF Venture Capital, Octopus Investments and Entrepreneurs Fund, plus further investment from Finance Wales, the company's principal shareholder. The investment will build on the £3m of investment from Finance Wales to date and will be used to further develop the leading scientific foundation of the SmartKem tru-FLEX™ organic semiconductor material range, and to accelerate this technology towards full commercialisation.
The investment will provide SmartKem with the ability to further develop its tru-FLEX semiconductor technology to the point of market-readiness. It will also contribute to the scale-up and support of current and future partner programmes which are key to the technology's commercialisation.
SmartKem's tru-FLEX, a truly flexible semiconductor technology, has been developed to allow display and electronics manufacturers to obtain industry grade thin-film-transistor (TFT) performance with leading physical flexibility, enabling bendable and foldable mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets as well as wearable display based applications. SmartKem's award winning tru-FLEX is now recognised as an industry leading semiconductor for flexible TFT manufacture for displays and electronics on the market. SmartKem is firmly embedded in the display supply chain across Asia, with a number of JDA's, and key partnerships. SmartKem's tru-FLEX is now established as a key enabler for the next generation of flexible display and electronics based products.
Steve Kelly, CEO at SmartKem, said, "The market now recognises that SmartKem's tru-FLEX provides manufacturers with truly flexible TFTs with high physical and electrical stability coupled with best-in-class charge carrier mobility. Our low temperature semiconductor process allows unrivalled design freedom in choice of barrier layers and substrates for highly flexible transistor backplane manufacture. This key ability to process at low temperature offers manufacturers a "cost-down" proposition whilst opening the door to the use of printing processes such as ink-jet or roll-to-roll technology. This has the potential to disrupt production costs for OEMs whilst simplifying the whole manufacturing process."
He continued, "With the current traction in the markets for new form factor mobile displays and wearable technology, the timing of the latest round of investment is ideal. We have a number of high value joint development agreements (JDA's) that require support to ensure the commercialisation of our revolutionary semiconductors. With the market for printed, flexible and organic electronics set to grow to around $77 billion by 2023, we are now well positioned to fully commercialise tru-FLEX and to satisfy the growing market demand."
For more attend Business and Technology Insight Forums, 3-4 September 2014, Tokyo, Japan and Printed Electronics USA, 19-20 November 2014, Santa Clara, USA.