Voyant Photonics Raises $ 15.4 Million in Series A Funding to Provide 3D Sensing with its Chip LiDARs

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LONG ISLAND CITY, NY, December 30, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Seen Photonics (www.voyantphotonics.com) announced to have raised $ 15.4 million in Series A led by UP.Partners with participation from previous investors LDV Capital and Contour Ventures.

Voyant’s LiDAR system, containing thousands of optical components fabricated on a single semiconductor chip, enables its customers to integrate an efficient and exponentially more scalable LiDAR system than possible today.

Voyant’s LiDAR system, containing thousands of optical components fabricated on a single semiconductor chip, enables its customers to integrate an efficient and exponentially more scalable LiDAR system than possible today. LiDAR is a key technology for enabling 3D vision in many industries, including transportation, robotics, industrial automation, and consumer electronics. Voyant Development Kits are now available for select customers on its waitlist.

Previously, LiDAR systems were manufactured using discrete mechanical and optical components, resulting in large and expensive solutions. Voyant Photonics’ solution dramatically reduces the size and complexity of manufacturing LiDAR. Voyant’s LiDAR chips pave the way for the large-scale adoption of 3D sensing in the same way that CMOS image sensors have enabled the accelerated growth of digital photography.

Voyant takes advantage of commercially available and scalable semiconductor manufacturing processes that combine thousands of optical and electrical components on a single chip. This allows Voyant to mass produce a LiDAR system similar to the manufacture of computer chips. This revolutionary technology will make Voyant LiDAR a ubiquitous technology for machine perception.

Co-founders Chris Lighthouse and Steven miller had been working on LiDAR chips for years at from Columbia University Lipson Nanophotonics Group when they decided to commercialize their technology and launched Voyant Photonics.

Miller and Phare’s unique idea was to apply silicon photonic technology used for optical data communications, the same technology that made high-performance optical fiber in data centers affordable. “When you build an on-chip LiDAR system, the manufacturing cost stays the same regardless of how many components you use,” Phare said. “We will soon be selling LiDAR systems for a few hundred dollars and in the longer term, we will be selling them for less than a hundred dollars on a large scale.”

Voyant Photonics devices feature a complete LiDAR system in a field-deployable package, using Voyant’s patented techniques for on-chip digital beam steering, optical signal processing and laser control.

“When we began our mission to make LiDAR a ubiquitous technology for machine perception, many people said silicon photonics was not ready to leave the lab,” Miller said. “Our first successful milestones prove that we can create a complete LiDAR solution that meets industrial needs, using silicon photonics, and deploy it anywhere. “

“Now that we can build LiDAR systems on semiconductor chips, we can make them better and cheaper with every development cycle, like Moore’s Law for computer chips,” added Phare. “Although the excellent performance of our first LiDAR chips even surprised us, this is only the beginning. Just like with computer chips and camera sensors, every design iteration will improve. “

“A ubiquitous 3D vision is essential to enable the transformation of the world of transport and beyond. We are honored to partner with the Voyant team, which is the leading innovator in the field. Their solution will surpass all competitors and offer a scalable solution to enable 3D vision, says Ben marcus, Managing partner of UP.Partners.

“I am so excited about the progress we have made. Our team has accomplished so much and we are now delivering the first LiDAR systems of their type powered by an integrated photonic chip, ”says Peter Stern. “Our diverse customers in robotics, AGVs, mobility, industrial automation and security all have one thing in common: they create solutions that must understand the world around them… That is what our LiDAR systems deliver. Peter is a serial contractor with experience in creating military grade LiDARs. He started as an advisor to Voyant and recently became CEO.

About Voyant Photonics
Voyant creates a new category of LiDAR sensors for machine perception. Founded by top scientists with more than a decade of research in silicon photonics, Voyant manufactures sophisticated optical systems optimized for LiDAR FMCW using low cost semiconductor chips. Voyant’s compact active sensing solutions will revolutionize the perception of machines for transportation, robotics and surveillance applications.

About UP.Partners
Transportation is the underlying fabric of society. UP.Partners invests in the pioneering entrepreneurs who create the key enabling technologies that help move people and goods cleaner, faster, safer, and more efficiently in a multidimensional world. UP.Partnership with some of the world’s most innovative investors and companies, including Alaska Airlines, ARK Invest and Woven Capital, the investment arm of the Toyota Woven Planet Group subsidiary. UP.Summit brings together the brightest minds in the mobility community every year to help humanity soar. Together, the UP community transforms the world in motion.

About LDV Capital
LDV Capital is a thesis-driven, early-stage venture capital fund that invests in people building companies powered by visual technology that leverage computer vision, machine learning and artificial intelligence to analyze visual data. Deep domain knowledge, a vast network of experts, and unique platform initiatives have made LDV Capital a leader in the visual technology ecosystem. Led by a serial entrepreneur Evan nisselson, LDV Capital has invested in pre-seed and start-up teams through North America and Europe since 2012.

About Contour Venture Partners
Contour Venture Partners, founded in 2005, is a New York City early stage venture capital company. Contour was the first early stage venture capitalist to focus on New York City and we have been heavily involved in the growth and maturity of the ecosystem for the past 17 years. Contour invests in early stage companies that provide improved innovative technology solutions in the areas of enterprise SaaS, vertical B2B SaaS and financial services / fintech. Contour has a long and successful investment experience, having invested in over 100 companies through numerous market cycles.

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