£1.5m to support university spin-out

Investors back fast-track ‘li-fi’ pioneer as early exit looks likely

PureLiFiA pioneering technology firm behind a new generation of light-based networking systems has raised £1.5 million towards further commercialising the product.

The backing for Edinburgh University spin-out PureLiFi represents another vote of confidence in the city’s growing reputation for as a centre of emerging technologies.

It comes ahead of additional financing for the firm expected later this year and there have been hints at a possible flotation or early trade sale as it accelerates its growth prospects.

Investors have shown growing interest in the company and its technology which is at the centre of a revolution in communications called Li-Fi – a term coined by the firm’s co-founder and chief science officer Professor Harald Haas.

The technology provides full networking capabilities similar to wi-fi but with significantly greater bandwidth.  The Li-Fi industry is forecast to grow to over $9 billion by 2020.

The funding comes as PureLiFi ships the world’s first full wireless Li-Fi networking system.

Investors participating in the latest round were led by London & Scottish Investment Partners (LSIP), a Scottish-based angel group supported by investors from London and Scotland. Additional funding came from the Scottish Investment Bank and Old College Capital, the venture investment arm of the University of Edinburgh, in a process managed by Edinburgh-based corporate finance firm, Quest Corporate.

Professor Russel Griggs, PureLiFi’s Chairman, said: “I am very pleased that the necessary funding is now in place to allow Harald and his team to push ahead with the product roadmap, positioning pureLiFi for its next phase of growth.”

Prof Haas said: “Li-Fi is increasingly viewed as a transformative technology that can change the way we use the mobile internet as part of future 5G cellular networks and at the same time be an enabler of the emerging Internet of Things.”

Scott Carnegie, chairman of LSIP, said that PureLiFi would grow at a such a rate that investors could expect early success.

He said it “appealed to his firm’s key goals of helping to accelerate growth and speed of development of a leading Scottish technology company in anticipation of an earlier exit and release of entrepreneurial wealth.”

The Scottish Investment Bank, part of Scottish Enterprise, has supported pureLiFi through seed investment and Kerry Sharp, head of the bank, said the new investment will help the company capitalise on market opportunities.

Andrea Young, fund manager at Old College Capital, said it is committed to supporting “exciting spin-out and start-up companies like pureLiFi which are emerging from the University of Edinburgh, to support their growth and development into global market leaders in partnership with other investors.”

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