IP Group plc (LON: IPO), the developer of intellectual property-based businesses, today noted that portfolio company WaveOptics, the world leading designer and manufacturer of diffractive waveguides for use in Augmented Reality (AR) wearables, has completed a £20.0m fundraising.
The round was led by Octopus Ventures and supported by existing shareholders including IP Group, Robert Bosch Venture Capital (RBVC) and Gobi Partners as well as new investors Goertek and Optimas Capital Partners.
Goertek is a global leader in the design and manufacturing of high-tech consumer electronics. Goertek’s investment is a significant development for the business and follows the announcement on 28 November 2018 that WaveOptics and Goertek have agreed an exclusive manufacturing partnership that will enable the global mass production of waveguides.
Following completion of the first tranche of the financing round, IP Group’s direct undiluted beneficial stake of 19.9% in WaveOptics is valued at £15.2 million, representing a direct unrealised fair value gain to IP Group of £7.6 million. IP Group committed £3.7 million to the fundraising.
Robert Bahns, Partner of Technology at IP Group plc, said: “WaveOptics is making excellent progress and we believe the Company has the best solution both from a commercial and technical standpoint for providing the key component in AR devices. This is being demonstrated by the level of engagement with its key customers.”
The funds will be used to scale up WaveOptics’ operations on a national and international basis. WaveOptics is building a large volume manufacturing supply chain to meet customer demand from the Asian and US markets. The Company is also investing in its overseas infrastructure having recently opened offices in Los Angeles and Taipei and plans to open a new office in Beijing in 2019.
WaveOptics’ funding round represents the largest AR hardware fundraise in Europe in 2018. The Company is in advanced discussions with potential new shareholders and strategic partners about a second stage investment.