Ultrafast laser deals among VC activity in April

May 3, 2024
April VC activity was a bit quieter, but two ultrafast laser deals stood out.

Following an active March, photonics venture activity in April appears to have been much more subdued, with a couple of ultrafast laser deals being the most notable. At the beginning of the month, ViaLase, a clinical-stage company utilizing femtosecond laser technology for treating glaucoma, announced that the company had raised a $40 million Series C financing. Although the lead investor was not disclosed, the round included existing investors Venture Investors Health Fund, Arboretum Ventures, and Falcon Vision, an ophthalmology investment platform supported by KKR. Later in the month, Italian startup Lithium Lasers announced a €2 million seed round led by Primo Ventures and 360 Capital. The company is developing ultrashort-pulse lasers primarily aimed at industrial materials processing.

Although this column focuses primarily on the companies receiving venture funding since most venture firms themselves invest broadly in terms of technology, it is worth noting that there are a few venture firms whose investment thesis is centered on photonics. One of those firms, Netherlands-based PhotonVentures, announced in April that it had added €15 million to its current fund, bringing the total in the fund to €75 million. The firm is focused on investments in integrated semiconductor photonics.

About the Author

Eric Hall

Eric Hall is a managing partner of Entrada Ventures, a seed-stage fund investing in innovative technologies. He has worked alongside multiple Nobel Prize winners in building successful startups across various photonics technologies, including Aurrion (silicon photonics), Soraa (GaN LEDs), Kaai (GaN lasers), and Agility Communications (InP photonics), leading to multiple acquisitions. Subsequently, Hall led several transactions as an investment banker at Golding Partners before moving into early-stage investing. He earned his Bachelor of Science in engineering physics at UC Berkeley, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Columbia Business School, and a PhD in materials at UC Santa Barbara.

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