Innovative OEMs – Engine of the economy
SMART Photonics, first eOEM entering the Virtual Accelerator of the Make Next Platform
On November 4th 2016 SMART Photonics (SMART) in Eindhoven successfully passed the Challenge of the Make Next Platform (MNP) and was consequently admitted to the Virtual Accelerator of the MNP. The company’s Management Board consists of Richard Visser (founder and CEO), Robert Feelders (CFO) and Luc Augustin (CTO).
In the First Opinion, a brief assessment report prepared for the MNP, Stichting TechnologyRating states that SMART’s business case is very ambitious and challenging but nevertheless realistic. “The success of SMART will strengthen the innovation capability of the Dutch manufacturing industry and the attractiveness of the Netherlands for human talent.”
Jury Chairman, René Claessen (ASML), formulated the decision as follows: “The Jury has decided unanimously to admit SMART Photonics as member of the Make Next Platform. We are very enthusiastic and positive about SMART; we cannot wait to support SMART in its growth path.”
Admission to the MNP underscores the confidence in the business case of SMART and its management. The company will receive 400 hours from relevant experts at the MNP partners (ASML, Huisman, STR and Vanderlande) to professionalize and scaling up its business. SMART does not have to give up an equity interest in exchange.
CEO Richard Visser on the importance of the MNP for SMART: ‘The partners of the Make Next Platform show with this initiative that they really understand the challenges of “scale-up” companies which are too big for the napkin, too small for the tablecloth. “SMART is in the midst of a growth spurt in which everyone has to do the work for three. Access to the assistance offered by the Make Next Platform, is really going to help us. On strategic and operational issues this help will be very valuable; a real end-of-year-gift.’
The objective of SMART (2012; www.smartphotonics.nl) is to become the world’s leading pure-play foundry for Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs) with Indium Phosphide (InP) semiconductors. This position is similar to that of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) in the field of integrated electronic chips (integrated circuits or ICs) based on silicon (Si).
PICs are photonic chips that operate with light. Photonics is complementary to electronics but it uses light instead of electrons. Due to the large speed / bandwidth of photonic components, such as lasers, modulators, detectors and filters, this technology is eminently suitable to send and receive large amounts of data with high speed. PICs can combine many photonic functions on a small surface area, similar to IC’s. This allows large amounts of information to be processed much faster at significantly lower power consumption than electronic chips. InP PICs will play a major role for the Internet infrastructure, from data centers to the systems that connect data centers and users. In addition, photonic chips are already being used in new markets such as medical instrumentation, IT, mechanical engineering, and the automotive and aerospace industry. Photonics is rightly considered worldwide as a key enabling technology.
SMART has exclusive access to the unique generic InP photonic integration technology of the TU/e. In addition, it uses the advanced research and production facilities of the former Philips Photonics Lab, the research clean room of Nanolab@TU/e, and it owns a 3-inch pilot production facility at the High Tech Campus Eindhoven. It plans to open a 4-inch production plant at the end of 2018.
SMART is one of the important pillars of the emerging ecosystem for photonics. The company currently has 50 clients and expects to book revenues of 2 M€ in 2016. The headcount is currently 26 people.
The Make Next Platform (MNP; www.makenextplatform.nl) provides the future generation of emerging Original Equipment Manufacturers (eOEMs) with a unique opportunity to gain unique access to the networks, knowledge and expertise of its founders: the leading Dutch manufacturing companies ASML, Huisman and Vanderlande and Stichting TechnologyRating. MNP has introduced a Virtual Accelerator for these eOEMs in which they are working together in an open innovation setting, in an atmosphere of mutual trust and integrity with these companies. Together with these eOEMs, the MNP wants to contribute to an innovative, strong and growing manufacturing industry in the Netherlands, that has a great attraction for talent.
In the Virtual Accelerator SMART may draw on the human resource talent and the networks of the founders of the MNP. For that purpose ASML, Huisman, STR and Vanderlande make available 400 high-power man hours per year for eacht eOEM. STR will periodically evaluate the company’s progress and will help SMART to further strengthen its business case. The less information asymmetry, the better suppliers, customers and investors are able to make an informed judgement about SMART.
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