A TECHNOLOGY start-up that uses beams of light to transmit data has been tipped as a flotation candidate, potentially worth “hundreds of millions of dollars”, as it looks set to smash its fundraising targets.
PureLiFi, which was spun out from Edinburgh University in 2012, has already secured about £1.5 million from investors including business angel syndicate Par Equity and Scottish Enterprise.
As revealed by Scotland on Sunday in December, the firm has embarked on a further fundraising round aimed at bringing in about £3m, but is now poised to raise more than twice that figure. Edinburgh-based finance boutique Quest Corporate has been appointed to arrange the funding.
Quest Corporate founder Marcus Noble said PureLiFi, co-founded by chief science officer Harald Haas, “is a phenomenal business” with strong prospects for an initial public offering (IPO).
While current wi-fi systems use radio waves to transmit internet data and other information, LiFi equipment uses beams of light.
Initially, users of the technology are expected to include lighting companies, which could incorporate the communications technology into their products.
Li-1st, the maiden product from PureLiFi, uses light-emitting diodes (LEDs), the tiny light-generating products that have been replacing traditional incandescent bulbs.
According to a report from research outfit Markets & Markets, the total value of sales in the LiFi and “visible light communication” industry is expected to be worth almost $9.3 billion (£5.8bn) by 2020.
“It’s really disruptive technology,” said Quest director Stuart Mitchell, who joined the firm in 2010 from the transactions team of big four accountant PwC. Noble added: “PureLiFi is one of the best companies I’ve seen in Scotland. They’re either going to sell it to Apple, Google or Samsung – somebody really big – or IPO it. It’ll be a hundreds of millions of dollars IPO.”
PureLiFi last year named Russel Griggs as its chairman. Griggs – who advises the Scottish Government on business regulation and who is a former chairman of the CBI’s national small business council – took over from Silicon Valley veteran David Kirk, who remains with the firm as an adviser.
Quest Corporate recently added former Deloitte audit assistant manager Andrew Hope to its team, which also includes Scott Carnegie, who has more than 25 years’ experience of advising small firms on fundraising and restructuring.
Noble, who set up the firm in 2001, said he hopes to bring in more senior hires in the near future “as we’re really beginning to motor now”.
He added: “We’ve never been half-baked about what we do, not for our clients and certainly not for ourselves.
“We’ll certainly look at bringing up to four people of the highest quality into this firm in the next year. We won’t get much bigger than that.”
Quest, which tends to work on fundraisings and restructurings in the £250,000 to £7m bracket, is on track to complete 12 deals this year. Noble told Scotland on Sunday that last month’s referendum had not led to a drop-off in activity.
He said: “Edinburgh is the epicentre and remains culturally a good place to do business. I’d love to open a Glasgow office but I can’t see it happening.”