The funding, led by Parkwalk, will fuel product development as the company commercialises
15 July, Cambridge, UK: UK-founded graphene-based electronics technology company Paragraf announces today the close of its £12.8m Series A round led by Parkwalk. The round also included investment from IQ Capital Partners, Amadeus Capital Partners and Cambridge Enterprise, the commercialisation arm of the University of Cambridge, as well as several angel investors. The funding will see Paragraf’s first graphene-based electronics products reach the market, transitioning the company into a commercial, revenue-generating entity.
Graphene is the original wonder material, with multiple incredible properties including being the most conductive material in the world, incredibly strong but flexible, capable of withstanding very high electrical powers and has great thermal integrity. The material, for example, can potentially replace silicon in computer chips, providing a performance speed increase of up to 1000 times, while reducing the energy used by up to 50 percent.
Until now, manufacturers have struggled to harness the benefits of graphene. Paragraf is the first company to deliver IP-protected graphene technology using standard, mass production scale manufacturing approaches, enabling step-change performance enhancements to today’s electronic devices. The company’s first sensor products have already demonstrated order of magnitude operational improvements over today’s incumbents. Achieving large-scale, graphene-based production technology will enable next generation electronics, including vastly increased computing speeds, significantly improved medical diagnostics and higher efficiency renewable energy generation as well as currently unachievable products such as instant charging batteries and very low power, flexible electronics.
Paragraf has completed a highly successful seed phase, delivering a manufacturing facility, graphene layer production and first device prototypes significantly ahead of plan. Focus now switches to delivering products with strategic volume device production partners, and commercialisation of the first device – a super-high sensitivity magnetic field detector that operates over temperature, field and power ranges that no other device can currently achieve.
Dr Simon Thomas, CEO and Co-founder of Paragraf, said: “This funding marks the start of the next phase in Paragraf’s growth. I am extremely proud of the young team at Paragraf who have collectively delivered the early strategy milestones with great skill. This next phase will allow Paragraf to make these truly game-changing technologies a reality. Paragraf is continually seeking like-minded collaborative development, production and commercial partners to accelerate the delivery of the many exciting electronics technology opportunities graphene has to offer.”
Alastair Kilgour from Parkwalk commented: “Parkwalk has been impressed by the strong progress the management and company have made since the seed round and is delighted to lead this funding round. We believe that Paragraf is well-equipped to deliver the unique benefits of graphene to their customers and licensees, which in turn will enable transformative products.”
About Paragraf: Paragraf is a spin-out from the Centre for Gallium Nitride group of Professor Sir Colin Humphreys in the Department of Materials Science at the University of Cambridge. Building on significant know-how and IP, Paragraf has developed atom-layer-thick two-dimensional materials, with a focus on graphene. Through its growing IP portfolio, Paragraf is applying these materials to a range of advanced electronic, energy and medical devices to benefit society.
About Parkwalk: Parkwalk is the largest growth EIS fund manager, backing world-changing technologies emerging from the UK’s leading universities and research institutions. With £250m of assets under management, it has invested in over 100 companies across its flagship Parkwalk Opportunities EIS Fund as well as the award-winning enterprise and innovation funds Parkwalk manages for the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Bristol.
Parkwalk invests in businesses creating solutions to real-world challenges, with IP-protected innovations, across a range of sectors including life sciences, AI, quantum computing, advanced materials, genomics, cleantech, future of mobility, medtech and big data.
About IQ Capital: IQ Capital is a venture capital firm, based between Cambridge and London, that invests in ‘deep-tech’ across sectors including machine learning, AI, robotics and advanced engineering and materials, and data-focused propositions based on disruptive algorithms. All of the firm’s portfolio companies are capable of dominating their respective markets on a global scale. The team typically invests at seed and series A stage, with significant capital reserved to scale companies through their growth stages. Initial investments range from £300k to £5m, with capacity for follow on investment up to £10-15m. The IQ Capital team has 28 investments over the last three years and achieved over 20 exits to date, to companies including Oracle, Google, Apple, Huawei and Facebook, and several IPOs.
About Amadeus Capital Partners: Amadeus Capital Partners is a global technology investor. Since 1997, the firm has raised over $1bn for investment and used it to back more than 130 companies. With vast experience and a great network, Amadeus’ team of investors and entrepreneurs share a passion for the transformative power of technology. We invest in consumer services, financial technology, artificial intelligence, cyber security, medical technology, digital healthcare and digital media.
Early stage investments we’ve made include rare disease treatment discovery platform Healx, massively parallel simulation platform Improbable; Graphcore, innovators in intelligent microprocessors, and speech recognition company VocalIQ (acquired by Apple).
About Cambridge Enterprise: Cambridge Enterprise is a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Cambridge, Cambridge Enterprise Limited is responsible for the commercialisation of University intellectual property. It provides access to early stage capital through the Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds, University of Cambridge Enterprise Funds and Cambridge Enterprise Venture Partners, and offers business planning, mentoring and related programmes. Activities include management and licensing of intellectual property and patents, proof of concept funding and support for University staff and research groups wishing to provide expert advice or facilities to public and private sector organisations.