FlexEnable raises $11-$25M to take flexible displays and active optics to mass production
FlexEnable (Cambridge, UK), a leader in the development and industrialisation of flexible organic electronics, has raised $11M Series B financing. Coretronic, a major Taiwanese LCD backlight module manufacturer, has made a strategic investment alongside significant European family offices. The initial $11M investment includes options for a further $14m and is expected to finance FlexEnable through to mass production ramp up of flexible displays and liquid crystal optical modules at Asian display manufacturing partners. The funds will also be used to scale up the company’s organic materials production capacity to meet the growing needs of display manufacturing partners entering volume production.
FlexEnable’s award-winning organic electronics platform comprises a complete set of manufacturing processes and FlexiOM organic semiconductor materials that, together, unlock the manufacture of glass-free, flexible organic LCD displays (OLCD) and liquid crystal optical films (LC Optics) in existing display fabs. This breakthrough allows almost any surface to display information or steer, modulate and focus light. Ultra-thin, light, flexible and even 3D conformable, OLCD and LC Optics have a US$100Bn addressable market that includes notebooks and tablets, smart home devices, AR/VR headsets, automotive, monitors and TVs.
Chuck Milligan, CEO of FlexEnable, said: “Having industry heavyweight Coretronic on board as an investor and partner is further validation of both FlexEnable’s business model and our technology leadership in the materials and processes which enable volume production of unique flexible optical modules and displays. As a principal player in the LCD supply chain, Coretronic’s deep industry expertise will be a great benefit to us as we now move from production setup to mass production. We are very excited to have strong new investors on board, and very grateful for the on-going support from Rusnano and Novares, who have been instrumental in enabling us to develop our technology and great commercial projects over the past years.”
FlexEnable’s business model uses existing and underutilised display production capacity to manufacture flexible displays and LC optics using its FlexiOM organic semiconductor materials and manufacturing process IP, via technology transfer, licensing, and contract manufacturing arrangements with Asian flat-panel display (FPD) production lines. The company already has four active technology transfer programmes underway with several leading display manufacturers in Asia, with first volume production ramp starting in the second half of 2022.
“Our consumer electronics partners and customers continue to demand increased functionality in their products coupled with improved form factors. The FlexEnable technology can enable new functionalities in lighter, thinner and even curved devices, and we look forward to working with the FlexEnable team to bring these new products into volume production,” commented Sarah Lin, president of Coretronic.
“The next 12 months are very exciting with the first of a series of manufacturing partnerships entering volume production, bringing recurring revenues and rapid revenue scale-up. In addition to manufacturing partnerships, we have significant commercial programmes with several of the world’s biggest OEM/brands in consumer electronics, where our technology is needed to bring game-changing functionality to the surfaces of future products,” added Milligan.
Caption: An OLCD display from FlexEnable (photo: FlexEnable)