IP Group plc (LON:IPO), the developer of intellectual property-based businesses, has announced today that its portfolio company, First Light Fusion Limited, has completed a fundraising of up to £22.7 million.
First Light, a spin-out from the University of Oxford, has discovered new implosion processes that can achieve the high temperatures and compression necessary for fusion reactions and other valuable applications. The Company’s approach has the potential to dramatically shorten the timescale and cost of achieving practical and affordable fusion energy. This fundraising will allow First Light to further develop its modelling tools and experimental capability and will fund collaborations with leading research groups in the field.
The Company has also announced today that it has established a Scientific Advisory Board to provide technical input and governance for its ongoing development programme. The Board is chaired by Arun Majumdar, who is the Jay Precourt Professor at Stanford University, and consists of eminent figures in energy innovation including Nobel laureate Steven Chu, the former US Energy Secretary.
The financing round will be completed in two tranches subject to the attainment of certain milestones. Following the £14.0 million first tranche of the fundraising, IP Group has an undiluted beneficial interest of 34.9% in First Light that is valued at £13.9 million and this has resulted in an unrealised fair value gain to the Group of £6.4 million. The Group has committed £5.8 million to the first tranche. Other investors in the financing round include a fund managed by Invesco Asset Management Limited, clients advised or managed by Sandaire Investment Office and the University of Oxford.
Robert Trezona, IP Group plc Head of Cleantech, said: “First Light is making excellent progress in developing its technology towards eventual commercial application. The participation of such high-quality investors alongside IP Group in this fundraising is a testament to the achievements of the First Light team so far. The Company’s ability to attract world-class talent to its advisory board is an endorsement of its scientifically rigorous approach to developing its technology.”
Nick Hawker, Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of First Light, said: “The Company has made considerable progress in the last eighteen months, which has allowed us to raise significant capital from leading investors in the science commercialisation space. We believe that we have a differentiated approach to developing technology for fusion and these funds will accelerate our vision of affordable, practical and safe energy supply. We are already working with a number of leading university research groups, and we will use the new capital to expand this programme. Rigour remains a critical feature of our work and, guided by the new Scientific Advisory Board, we will maintain the highest scientific standards in the development of our technology.”
IP Group plc is a leading intellectual property commercialisation company which focuses on evolving great ideas, mainly from its partner universities, into world-changing businesses. The Group has pioneered a unique approach to developing these ideas and the resulting businesses by providing access to business building expertise, capital, networks, recruitment and business support. IP Group has a strong track record of success and its portfolio comprises holdings in over 90 early-stage to mature businesses across four main sectors — Biotech, Cleantech, Healthcare and Technology. The Company is listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange under the code IPO.