SmartKem Ltd. (St. Asaph, Wales), a developer of organic semiconductor materials for display applications founded in 2008, has raised $1.3 million in a Series A round of finance form a consortium comprising BASF Venture Capital, Octopus Investments And Entrepreneurs Fund, plus further investment from Finance Wales, the company’s principal shareholder.
The investement adds to £3 million (about $5 million) investment provided to date by Finance Wales and is to be used to develop further the scientific base of the SmartKem tru-flex materials range and bring the technology to the point of market readiness.
"Our overall vision is to become the leading provider of p-type organic semiconductor solutions as used in TFTs for electronic display applications," said Steve Kelly, CEO at SmartKem, on the company's website.
For six years SmartKem has been working on the preparation and synthesis of small molecule organic semiconductors, related functional polymers and their inclusion in solvent systems for wet processing techniques such as printing and coating. The Tru-Flex materials are intended to provide electronic display manufacturers with industry-grade thin-film transistor performance with physical flexibility for OLED displays in bendable and foldable mobile devices such as smartphones, tablet computers and wearable equipment.
The money will also be used to support current and future collaborative research partnerships which are part of the SmartKem's commercialization plan. SmartKem already has a number of joint-development agreements in place across Asia.
"The market now recognises that SmartKem’s Tru-Flex provides manufacturers with truly flexible TFTs with high physical and electrical stability coupled with best-in-class charge carrier mobility. Our low temperature semiconductor process allows unrivalled design freedom in choice of barrier layers and substrates for highly flexible transistor backplane manufacture," said Steve Kelly, CEO at SmartKem, in a statement.
This key ability to process at low temperature offers manufacturers the option of using printing processes such as ink-jet or roll-to-roll technology.
Kelly continued: "With the market for printed, flexible and organic electronics set to grow to around $77 billion by 2023, we are now well-positioned to fully commercialize Tru-Flex and satisfy growing market demand."
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