SmartKem raises “significant” Series A funding from high-profile investment syndicate

BASF, Octopus and others back flexible display tech start-up

A start-up that produces materials to be used in the next generation of flexible display screens has completed a “significant” round of Series A funding from a group of VC firms and Finance Wales.

Founded in 2008 by Steve Kelly, SmartKem supplies a range of organic, high-performance seminconductor materials which can be pressed onto polymer screens to create bendable and foldable TFT electronic screens for mobiles and wearable displays.

Its Tru-FLEX technology has risen to become one of the leading technologies in the nascent flexible display market, with a number of what it called “key partnerships” across Asia.

The Series A investment, the amount of which was undisclosed, comes from an investment syndicate of high-profile VC firms including BASF Venture Capital (the VC arm of the leading chemical company), Octopus Investments and the Entrepreneurs Fund, plus additional backing from SmartKem principal shareholder Finance Wales.

It builds on the £3m of funding Finance Wales has provided to date, and will be used to accelerate the Tru-FLEX technology towards full commercialisation.

Steve Kelly, founder and CEO of SmartKem, said: “With the current traction in the markets for new form factor mobile displays and wearable technology, the timing of the latest round of investment is ideal. We have a number of high value joint development agreements (JDA’s) that require support to ensure the commercialisation of our revolutionary semiconductors.

“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 commercialise tru-FLEX™ and to satisfy the growing market demand.”


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