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This microLED startup raises $20M to accelerate commercial production of AR glasses

Porotech
Porotech

A breakthrough in microdisplay technology from University of Cambridge spin-off Porotech had last year developed the first microdisplay based on native red indium gallium nitride (InGaN) — with a 0.55-inch diagonal active area and a resolution of 960×540.

Porotech, a pioneer in microdisplay technology, has now received a $20M Series A investment to drive worldwide expansion and mass production of its unique micro-LED devices. The funding round saw participation from a multinational electronics giant and it has been led by Ameba Capital and includes previous investor Speedinvest.

Fund Utilisation

The cash will help the company maintain up with rising demand from its world-class clients and partners in the $140B display market.

Porotech is a spin-off from the University of Cambridge’s Cambridge Centre for Gallium Nitride and a developer of gallium nitride (GaN) material technology. Since its inception in 2020, the company has been focused on the development of high-performance and energy-efficient wide-bandgap compound GaN semiconductors through the use of cutting-edge material technologies and solutions to unleash the full potential of GaN to revolutionise the electronics industry.

Porotech has redefined what is possible by developing PoroGaN, a new class of porous gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor material.

The breakthrough enables the company’s micro-LED products to provide monochrome and full-color displays on a single indium gallium nitride (InGaN) material system, with the brightness, efficiency, and resolution required for high-quality image projection against bright backgrounds – even in daylight.

The company’s red micro-LED device already outperforms the competition.

Micro-LED screens will be critical in the next generation of televisions, wearables, and smartphones.

LED products

And GaN-based material technology is commonly regarded as the sole technology capable of producing displays that are bright and efficient enough to meet the demands of extended reality (XR) displays involving virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and/or mixed reality (MR).

Until date, the need to mix several material systems has hindered the production of full-color micro-LED displays, making the final devices prohibitively expensive for mass-market applications. Porotech’s utilisation of a single material system is a big step forward, paving the way for mass production of micro-LED displays.

“Porotech’s progress during its seed phase has been absolutely staggering – both technically and commercially,” said Porotech CEO and co-founder Dr Tongtong Zhu. “We have delivered the world’s first InGaN-based red micro-LEDs and displays and have set up production of our first products – shipping to some of the biggest global names in display technology.

“This latest funding will accelerate our work to ensure that PoroGaN drives the commercialisation of XR glasses and the new wave of user interface innovation. It will help us to continue our expansion plans to meet demand and to continue to provide world-class service and products to our rapidly expanding customer and partner base.”

Tongtong holds a PhD in Materials Science from Cambridge University, as well as a varied background in physics, electronics, engineering, and materials science, as well as extensive experience in the field of III-nitride semiconductor materials and devices dating back to 2008.

He has developed numerous new materials and structure production processes while advancing the general community’s understanding of the science of materials growth. He has expertise in materials deposition techniques and multidisciplinary skills in the development of material science and device applications across a range of fields.

Arthur Chen, a partner at Ameba Capital, said: “Porotech is poised to transform the $140 billion global display market as it accelerates mass production of its revolutionary micro-LED products. The fact that it already has industry leaders among its clients and partners is a testament to the game-changing potential of Porotech’s breakthrough.”

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