Scintil Photonics Gets Investment Boost to Speed Expansion

Scintil Photonics Gets Investment Boost to Speed Expansion

Scintil Photonics, a spin-out from the CEA-Leti silicon photonics laboratory, announced it has extended its second round of funding with an additional €1.5 million, bringing the total round to €15 million. 

With this investment boost from Applied Ventures ITIC Innovation Fund, the Grenoble-based startup aims to expand global sourcing and accelerate its market deployment in the Americas and Asia-Pacific. Applied Ventures ITIC Innovation Fund is a fund jointly created by Applied Ventures, the VC arm of Applied Materials, and ITIC-Taiwan, the VC arm of the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI).

€19 million in 4 years

Scintil Photonics was founded in 2018 to develop and commercialize a technology for integrating lasers onto silicon ICs developed by CEA-Leti. Its proprietary technology enables seamless and extensive integration of active and passive optical components — lasers, modulators, photodetectors, and resonant filters — by combining Si and InP/III-V materials. 

At this year’s OFC, Scintil Photonics presented a 1,600-Gbit/s prototype IC. It integrates silicon modulators and germanium photodetectors supporting 56 GBaud PAM 4, with integrated III-V-optical amplifiers. This IC technology can deliver sustainable bit rates through parallelization and the increase of Baudrates at a competitive cost per gigabit per second, the startup claims.

The amount of the additional investment has not been disclosed, but a quick calculation provides the answer. In June, Scintil Photonics raised €13.5 million in funding and confirmed this week to EE Times Europe that the total amount of the second round of funding was €15 million. 

Why not clearly announce a financing of €1.5 million? It’s not clear, but with the investment from Applied Ventures ITIC Innovation Fund, Scintil Photonics is receiving funding from VCs outside Europe for the first time. 

The €13.5 million round of financing, announced in June, was led by Robert Bosch Venture Capital and included the participation of existing investors Supernova Invest, Innovacom, and Bpifrance. The money would serve to accelerate the industrialization and global commercialization of Scintil’s products.

“We will use the funds to take the technology to mass production by the second half of 2024 and extend our customer base,” Scintil Photonics CEO Sylvie Menezo then told EE Times Europe. “It was key to partner with leading-edge foundry and packaging partners right from the beginning.”

In 2019, Scintil Photonics raised €4 million. And prior to its establishment, the startup project, incubated at CEA-Leti, received initial funding as a winner of i-Lab 2018, a French government-sponsored innovation competition.

Scintil Photonics confirmed this week its intention to take the technology to mass production by the second half of 2024.

Global ambitions

“We plan to be a global player,” Pascal Langlois, co-founder and chairman of the board of Scintil Photonics, told EE Times Europe. 

Scintil Photonics expects Applied Ventures ITIC Innovation Fund to give it access to “the very robust industrial ecosystem” in the Americas and Asia-Pacific and to deploy products to customers in these regions.

“Those two markets are key for our growth ambition for data center products and HPC cloud computing – we already have key customers there and plan to expand. Europe is also important as we have key customers here as well,” said Langlois. 

When asked which Asian market the startup is particularly interested in, Langlois said, “Scintil is a global supplier of silicon photonic integrated circuits (PICs) and, as such, is aiming to sell products in Japan, PRC, Taiwan, and Korea. Taiwan constitutes a great basis for achieving this. This is on top of a very rich supply chain, and Scintil will take advantage of this while ramping up its business.” 

Langlois concluded, “We would like to add this is a great recognition of the unique value proposition of Scintil with its Augmented Silicon Photonics ICs featuring laser integration.”


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