Bordeaux, France – This year's Invest in Photonics conference succeeded in attracting more participants from a wider base of European and North American photonics communities according to the organizers. Energy efficiency, personalized healthcare and “green” products are seen as major drivers for photonics industry growth, say industry insiders at the conference.
Invest in Photonics is a two-day international partnering convention that brings together experts in photonics and leading investors from Europe and beyond to meet with emerging photonics companies seeking financial support.
In a statement Bernard Couillaud, chairman of the Invest in Photonics 2010 said, “We are very pleased with the results of the second edition of Invest in Photonics. Participation exceeded the last event, several factors are stimulating industry growth, and the 12 selected photonics projects presented were of high quality and well received.”
On the financial side Couillard said " ... we see that investors are cautiously optimistic. In 2010, there are signs of a gradual increase in investment levels and exit transactions. While we are not out of the woods yet, we are clearly in better shape than in 2008.”
Invest in Photonics 2010 attracted 125 participants, which was slightly higher than the previous event in 2008. The organizers said that C-level directors (CEOs, CFOs, CSOs, and so forth) made up the majority (64%) of the visitors, with 42% of attendees coming from the US, Canada and European countries outside France.
The 12 companies selected for the special funding session were seeking potential financing in the range of EUR 30 million ($40 million). They presented projects covering a wide range of market segments. These included optical transport, medical equipment, and intelligent lighting, an area where the total market for LEDs (including handheld devices, and vehicular etc.), for example, is $5.9 billion in 2009. Event organizers awarded the prize for the “Best of the Convention” to LED Linear, a maker of scalable interior and exterior lighting systems using LED technology, based in Germany, for the originality of its product concept and fit with the market.
Presentations from 11 of the world's specialists in photonics, as well as the 5-member panel of investors, all confirmed the international nature of the industry, and that it offers strong growth potential. According to Michael Lebby, president and CEO of the Optoelectronics Industry Development Association (OIDA, Washington, DC) photonics will grow from $356 billion in 2008 to $493 billion by 2020,
Above all, the presentations showed that photonics is an enabling technology that is multi-disciplinary and hence it is extremely pervasive, spanning as it does energy and the environment, life sciences and healthcare, defense and security, materials and basic research. “Photonics enables many things and is a part of our lifestyle,” Lebby said in his presentation entitled Green Photonics: Will it Change Our Lives Over the Next Decade? "Photonics will be integrated – just like ICs 50 years ago - and drive new product designs. Photonics is green and will enable new technologies and products that will also be green,” he said.
According to Couillaud, the financial community is becoming more educated about photonics, its diversity and applications that go far beyond telecom, as well as its growth potential in a diverse range of markets. “Similar to other industries, investment in photonics investment shrank in 2009. But it is coming back, gradually, although the pace is uncertain. Our goals for the next Invest in Photonics will be to grow the number of industrial company participants and make the photonics industry more understandable to non-specialists and consumers,” Couillaud explained.