PHIX is ready for the next phase of growth through additional investments and expansion of facilities
Photonic chip technology is increasingly recognized as a crucial breakthrough for the future of chips. Enschede-based PHIX announced today that it has raised €3 million in new capital from Oost NL and Innovation Industries. PHIX builds modules and components for photonic chips. For the long term PHIX has also obtained € 20 million from the National Growth Fund. In addition, PHIX is moving into a new building to enable further industrialization and scale-up of photonic chips.
The growth of integrated photonics
Photonic chips, which transmit information with light particles, make it possible to create devices that are significantly faster and more energy efficient than electronic chips. They play an important role in increasing speed and reducing energy consumption in the data communications and telecommunications industries and open the door to a huge range of new applications. Such as in quantum computing, on-site medical diagnostics, autonomous driving cars, food safety and many more.
Since starting operations in 2018, PHIX Photonics Assembly has been building functional modules based on customers’ PICs (Photonic Integrated Circuits). This includes the very precise alignment and bonding of chips with other components, such as optical fibers, other chips and electronics. This process is called packaging. In a few years, PHIX has emerged as one of the global market leaders in the integrated photonics ecosystem. As the demand for van PICs increases, PHIX is preparing for the next growth phase to support its customers and the further industrialization of PIC-based technologies in Europe.
New investment round
To continue its rapid growth trajectory, PHIX has raised a new investment of 3 million euros. This is split into 1.5 million euros in equity and 1.5 million euros in loans for new equipment. “Only existing shareholders are participating. This shows that they have confidence in the growth and results of PHIX. With the investment we are able to further develop our automated packaging and increase our capacity,” says Albert Hasper, CEO of PHIX.
“PHIX plays a key role in accelerating the adoption of integrated photonics,” says Nard Sintenie, Partner at Innovation Industries. “With our latest investment, PHIX is ready for the next phase of growth.”
“PHIX is a key player in the Dutch photonics ecosystem,” says Gijs Luesken, investment manager Tech at Oost NL. “Around the University of Twente, several companies are working on future generations of chips, PHIX plays an important role in this. As investors from the very beginning, we are proud that we as Oost NL can contribute to this.” Oost NL is investing in this investment round from Participatiefonds Oost NL. Previously, as fund manager of Innovatiefonds Twente, Oost NL invested in the development of PHIX.
Watch the video here > PHIX: boost for photonics in Twente
National Growth Fund
In addition to the investment, PHIX has secured €20 million from the National Growth Fund through PhotonDelta. The photonics program includes a total investment of €1.1 billion to build 200 start-ups, scale up manufacturing, create new applications for photonic chips, and develop infrastructure and talent. Within this program, PHIX plays a key role by being responsible for industrializing photonic chip assembly to support the broader Dutch ecosystem. The €20 million grant PHIX receives in the program is part of a larger growth plan of €40 million over the next 5 to 6 years, mainly to be invested in scaling up production.
“One of the pillars of the National Growth Fund is to further industrialize the supply chain of photonic chips,” said Ewit Roos, CEO at PhotonDelta. “PHIX has the people and technology needed to efficiently integrate various photonic and electronic technologies. PhotonDelta is therefore committed to continuing to support PHIX and their growth ambitions.”
Move to new location
To support the further industrialization and scaling up of its activities, PHIX will move to new premises in the Enschede Kennispark at the end of 2022. The 1800 m2 building on the Hengelosestraat will be renovated to include at least 600 m2 of production facilities and 600 m2 of supporting work spaces, with ample room for expansion. The production facilities will house up to ISO 5 cleanrooms to ensure an optimal working environment for the different phases of photonics assembly.
Hasper said, “The completion of the recent investment round and our decision to move to the new production facilities demonstrate our ambitions to grow our business and enable our customers around the world to further expand their operations. In addition, with the support of the National Growth Fund, we are able to further scale up and professionalize our manufacturing capabilities in the Netherlands for high-volume production of integrated photonic chips.”