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E52: SMART Photonics first participant for Make Next Platform

Author Bart Brouwers
Date 12 December 2016

Eindhoven based SMART Photonics is the first company in the accelerator of the new Make Next Platform. SMART Photonics, which focuses on the development of integrated photonic chips, led by Richard Visser, Robert Feelders and Luc Augustin. Founder Richard Visser was one of the winners of a High Tech Peak Award. SMART Photonics was named one of Eindhoven’s ten “Startups-to-watch” by E52 in 2015.

SMART Photonics was admitted to the program after successfully passing a ‘challenge’ with TechnologieRating Foundation. Jury President René Claessen (ASML) on admitting SMART: “Our hands are itching to get started with SMART.” The company will receive 400 hours of relevant experts from the Make Next-partners ASML, Huisman, Technology Rating and Vanderlande, which can be used for the professionalization and scaling up its operations. SMART does not have to give up any equity interest.
 
Make Next Platform was established to help promising young companies in the manufacturing industry to become a major player in their markets, also internationally. The platform has introduced a “Virtual Accelerator” in which it works together with the participants in a setting of open innovation setting, and mutual trust. Make Next Platform wants the participants to help build a stronger manufacturing industry in the Netherlands, which is attractive to new talents.
According to Richard Visser, the partners in the Make Next Platform show that they understand the challenges of “Scale-up” companies with this initiative. “SMART is in a huge growth in which everyone has more or less had to split himself into three to get all the work done. Access to the help we can get through the Make Next Platform, is really going to help us. Think of strategic help and support in operational issues. So this for us is a real end-of-year-gift.”

SMART Photonics has the ambition to become the leading player for photonic chip companies in the field of Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs). PICs are chips that work with light. Photonics uses light instead of electron, like in the electronics. Due to the large speed and bandwidth of photonic components, this technology is ideally suited for large quantities of data to be sent and received with high speed. For the whole internet – data centers included – PICs will be playing a major role. In addition, photonic chips now also make their entry into new markets such as medical instrumentation, IT, mechanical engineering, automotive and aerospace industry. Photonics is considered worldwide as a key enabling technology.

SMART Photonics uses facilities at TU/e and High Tech Campus Eindhoven. Its first production plant is expected in late 2018. SMART is part of the ecosystem for photonics Photo Delta. The company expects sales of about 2 million euros for this year. It currently has 21 employees.