University spin out raises $9m first round

Blazephotonics, a spin out from the University of Bath, will use the cash to build a custom made facility for its R&D and operational teams.

BlazePhotonics, a producer of photonic crystal fibre, has secured a $9m (E9.9m) first round of financing from Celtic House Investment Partners and Quester Capital Management.

The fibre producer is a spinout of the University of Bath and was set up to exploit the commercial possibilities offered by photonic crystal fiber.

Photonic crystal fibres are single-material all-silica optical fibers which are mainly used in the telecommunications industry. They are also used in manufacturing, medicine and metrology. Members of the university’s Optoelectronics Group led by Professor Philip Russell invented the fibre.

“Our fibres are going places,” Professor Russell said. “Their dramatic properties give them the potential to out-perform and replace conventional fibres in a variety of applications. I am delighted that we now have the backing to build BlazePhotonics as a successful company and to deliver products of real commercial value.”

The company will use the funding to create a custom built facility and grow its research and development and operational teams. The operation will remain close to Bath and will maintain close links with the University of Bath. The university will vest all of its existing and future intellectual property arising from research in photonic crystal fibres in BlazePhotonics. It will also be a significant shareholder in the company.

Alo D’Arcy, general partner at Celtic House, said: “The team has developed and continues to develop revolutionary next generation fibre technology which BlazePhotonics is now well placed to exploit. This investment reinforces Celtic House’s commitment to creating successful new companies out of the best university research groups and continues our focus in the optical communications field.”

Celtic House is a Canadian venture capital firm with offices in Canada, U.K., and U.S. The company has US$1 bn under management in over 50 companies.