Bright future as LiFi start-up is valued at £14m

Harald Haas says LiFi can change the way we use the mobile internetHarald Haas says LiFi can change the way we use the mobile internet
Harald Haas says LiFi can change the way we use the mobile internet
A TECHNOLOGY start-up that uses beams of light to transmit data has been valued at more than £14 million after completing its latest round of fund­raising.

PureLiFi, which was spun out from Edinburgh University in 2012, raised £1.5m from a group of investors led by angel network London & Scottish Investment Partners.

The funding round, managed by finance boutique Quest Corporate, also brought in support from the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) and Old College Capital, the University of Edinburgh’s investment arm. PureLifi is in talks with venture capital backers.

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Harald Haas, the firm’s ­co-founder and chief science officer, is credited with coining the term “LiFi”. Current wi-fi systems use radio waves to transmit data, but LiFi equipment uses light. Initially, users are expected to include lighting companies, which could incorporate the communications technology into their products.

Haas said: “LiFi is increasingly viewed as a transform­ative technology that can change the way we use the mobile internet as part of future 5G cellular networks and at the same time be an enabler of the emerging ‘internet of things’.”

According to a report from US 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.

As well as PureLiFi, major players in the development of the technology include US start-up Bytelight, Oledcomm of France and Japanese firms Nakagawa Laboratories and Outstanding Technology.

Marcus Noble, director of Edinburgh-based Quest Corporate, recently tipped PureLiFi for an initial public offering, potentially worth “hundreds of millions of dollars”.

The company has seen strong demand for its Li-Flame network product, which turns off-the-shelf light fixtures into wireless data access points.

SIB head Kerry Sharp said: “Having supported PureLifi through seed investment we are pleased to further support them as they enter this exciting stage in their development.”


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