Nanowire LED Innovator Aledia Completes $31 Million Series B Financing
New Investors Include Automotive-lighting Leader Valeo, IKEA GreenTech, the Venture Capital Arm of IKEA, and Bpifrance, the French National Industrial Bank; Development-and-Supply Contracts Signed with Valeo and IKEA GreenTech Simultaneously with Financing
Aledia, a developer and manufacturer of next-generation 3D LEDs based on its Gallium-Nitride-on-Silicon platform, announced the closing of its Series B financing round and the execution of development and supply contracts with major LED buyers.
The round, totalling up to €28.4 million (approximately $31 million), includes new investments from Valeo, one of the world’s largest automobile-equipment manufacturers and the world’s second-largest supplier of car lighting systems; IKEA GreenTech AB, the venture capital arm of IKEA; and the Ecotechnologies fund of Bpifrance, the French national industrial bank. Aledia’s existing international investors – Sofinnova Partners, Braemar Energy Ventures, Demeter Partners and CEAi/ATi – also participated in the round.
“This financing round, abundantly oversubscribed, and particularly the presence of two very large potential corporate customers, testifies to the interest that our cost-disruptive nanowire LED technology is generating in the customer base, as well as in the financial community,” said Giorgio Anania, CEO, chairman and co-founder of Aledia.
Aledia is developing a new generation of LEDs that are manufactured on large-diameter silicon wafers (200mm or 8-inch), promise to be significantly less expensive than traditional “2D” LEDs, and that allow for integration of electronics into the LED. The company is also working on next-generation displays.
Anania said: “We are progressing with the development of the technology and this financing round will allow us to accelerate significantly the speed of development and the customer traction. In Valeo we have a major potential customer in the automotive LED market, generally viewed as the most profitable market segment. Simultaneously with the investment, we have signed a supply agreement with Valeo.”
Maurizio Martinelli, Valeo Visibility Business Group President, said: “We are convinced that Aledia’s 3D LED technology, together with Valeo’s expertise in automobile lighting systems, has the potential to put on the market a technological breakthrough in innovative lighting systems, perfectly in line with Valeo Lighting System’s mission to provide performance and style, and contribute to the safety of road users.”
Christian Ehrenborg, Managing Director of IKEA GreenTech AB, said: “This technology will be one important part in the IKEA Group strategy to supply high-quality, energy-saving lighting products to consumers worldwide. The low-price opportunity for residential use has the potential of faster implementation of the LED technology, leading to savings for customers. The connectivity functions of Aledia’s technology also open up new interesting possibilities to make life at home more convenient and smarter.”
Anne-Sophie Carrese, Investments Director at Bpifrance Investissement, said: “Bpifrance congratulates Aledia for its success in this operation. It proposes a breakthrough technology in a growing market and positions itself as a major actor in the smart-lighting industry. Aledia also benefits from its head start to create a French and European sector in LED, among which partnerships with prestigious industrialists such as IKEA and Valeo constitute the first stage.”
Aledia is a pioneering developer of next-generation LEDs based on its disruptive WireLED® nanowire technology, which allows manufacturing of 3D LEDs on 8-inch (200mm) or larger wafers in existing CMOS foundries, and their straightforward integration with electronics. Originally developed by CEA-Leti, the company’s 3D microwire GaN-on-silicon technology unlocks significant cost reductions compared to conventional planar (2D) LEDs, which should accelerate the penetration of LED applications in new markets, such as general lighting, automotive and display applications. Aledia is based in Grenoble, France, and has subsidiaries in Melacca, Malaysia, and Palo Alto, California. Additional information is available at www.aledia.com.
Valeo is an automotive supplier, partner to all automakers worldwide. As a technology company, Valeo proposes innovative products and systems that contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions and to the development of intuitive driving. In 2014, the Group generated sales of €12.7 billion euros and invested over 10% of its original equipment sales in research and development. Valeo has 133 plants, 16 research centers, 34 development centers, 15 distribution platforms and employs 81,200 people in 29 countries worldwide. Valeo is listed on Euronext Paris and is a member of the CAC 40 index. Additional information is available at www.valeo.com.
IKEA GreenTech AB is a corporate venture capital company making equity investments in green-technology companies. Our mission is to invest primarily in technology-based companies that improve the sustainability of the IKEA business activities. The company is owned by the IKEA Group. This ownership structure gives potential access to the global and well-renowned retail concept IKEA.
About the Ecotechnologies Fund of Bpifrance
The venture capital fund (FCPR) has capital of €150 million to invest in PIA initiatives managed by ADEME, and is managed by Bpifrance Investissement. It invests sums of between €1 million and €10 million, systematically seeking matching investment from private partners and acting as an informed investor. The fund primarily targets equity and quasi-equity investments in minority shareholdings in innovative SMEs, mainly French-based and unlisted. The Ecotechnologies Fund invests in those areas of the PIA under ADEME’s management: renewable carbon-free energies and green chemistry, smart grids, the circular economy (waste recovery, eco-design and industrial ecology) and vehicles of the future. The Ecotechnologies investment areas are described more precisely in the AMI calls, “Appels à Manifestations d’Intérêt”, issued by ADEME and available on the following links: www.ademe.fr/IA_fonds_propres and www.bpifrance.fr.
About Braemar Energy Ventures
Braemar Energy Ventures is a venture capital firm focused on making investments in the energy technology sector. The firm’s principals have invested in more than 60 companies in the sector and have more than 100 years of combined technical, operational and financial experience in energy and energy-related industries. Braemar partners with exceptional companies and management teams, in both alternative and traditional energy markets, which can contribute to a more profitable and efficient energy landscape through innovation and marketplace expertise. Additional information is available at www.braemarenergy.com.
About Sofinnova Partners
Sofinnova Partners is an independent venture capital firm based in Paris, one of the largest European VC firms in Europe, with over €1.3 Billion under management. Over the past 40 years, the firm has financed and accompanied almost 500 companies. Sofinnova invest in start-ups, early-stage companies, corporate spin-offs and occasionally turnaround situations. Sofinnova invest in Life Sciences and in Clean Energy, and invest throughout Europe from their headquarters in Paris with a portion of investments made in the rest of the world. Additional information is available at www.sofinnova.fr.
About Demeter Partners
Demeter Partners is one of the pioneers and leading investment capital firm in Europe for Cleantech with more than €350 million under management. Based in Paris, with offices in Berlin and Madrid, Demeter Partners is an independent company founded in 2005 and specializes in eco-industries (water, air and waste treatment, site remediation,) and eco-energies (energy efficiency, renewable energies) mostly for companies located in France, Germany and Spain. Demeter Partners has invested in more than 40 companies from innovating start-ups to mid-cap companies and supports them at all stages: creation, growth, transfer, with unitary mandates ranging from €0.5 M to €15 M. Additional information is available at www.demeter-partners.com.
Founded in 1999 with €60 million under management, CEA Investissement is an affiliate of the French nuclear and alternative energies agency dedicated to venture capital investment in disruptive technology start-ups. Its investors are corporates including EDF, Safran and Biomerieux around CEA and Bpifrance. With more than 50 innovative start-ups financed since its beginning, it covers microelectronics, life sciences, energy/cleantech and embedded software. The management team is based in Paris and Grenoble, France. ATI is the subsidiary of CEAi dealing with new investments. Additional information is available at www.cea-investissement.com.