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Southampton spin-out boosts regional economy with a major investment for next generation hollow-core fibre optic cable solutions

Published: 30 September 2020
Scientists in the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton develop hollow-core fibre technology

Fibre optic cable solutions spin-out, Lumenisity® Limited, has closed a major funding round from a consortium of investors to further commercialise world-leading research and build a new manufacturing and testing facility.

The Romsey UK based business, which was established from Southampton's Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) in 2017, has secured a £5 million investment from BGF, the UK and Ireland's most active investor, and £2.5 million from Parkwalk, the most active investor in UK university spinouts alongside significant further funding from the company's existing industrial strategic investors.

Long recognised as the next stage of advancement in fibre optic cable technology, hollow-core fibres guide light in an air-filled core formed by a configuration of microscopic capillaries and offer many advantages over conventional fibres which have a solid glass core.

Key challenges have been both the design and manufacturing processes. In particular, for making fibres and to develop the cable and processes for seamless in-field installation in existing and green field networks.

Lumenisity has maintained a strong collaboration with experts at the ORC to overcome these challenges and create cables suitable for deployment in meaningful lengths for data centres and telecommunication networks.

David Parker, Lumenisity Chairman, says: "We are thrilled to have received this investment. With strong track records in backing pioneering technology companies and a patient capital approach, we've found the perfect investors to partner with. We are excited to drive innovation and build the necessary infrastructure for a new digital age.

"The manufacturing and testing facility which we are building in the UK with this investment is set to drive growth for our business and the industry as a whole."

With more emphasis on the digital economy, autonomy and virtual working than ever, customers are searching for low latency, high capacity solutions, which Lumenisity's breakthrough innovative cabling solutions are able to offer.

Datacentres, a key market for the business, will be able to extend their network over a broader area with increased speed and capacity, driving network efficiency and enabling access to affordable real estate and utilities.

The spin-out's academic founders include Professor David Richardson, Professor Francesco Poletti and Professor Marco Petrovich, who have over 1,500 publications and 50 years' fibre optics experience between them.

Professor Richardson, Deputy Director of the ORC, says: "The ORC has contributed significantly to the remarkable growth of the photonics industry over many years and fosters a strong culture of innovation which has resulted in a raft of successful spin-out companies including Lumenisity. I would like to congratulate the team on closing this major funding round that will accelerate the development of ground-breaking fibre optic technology and provide a valuable stimulus to the local economy."

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