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Our investment in Phlux

7 Dec 2022 By Amy Nommeots-Nomm

Investment thesis

  • Infrared sensors detect infrared light and turn it into an electrical signal to measure characteristics of the surrounding environment.
  • Over 200 million are sold around the world every year. The current market size is around $700 million and growing.
  • The principal application for infrared sensors is currently optical fibreoptic networks, but the key driver of growth, with a 19.5% CAGR, is light detection and ranging (LiDar) navigation.
  • LiDar is a remote sensing method that uses pulsed laser light to measure distances. Use cases include oceanography, agriculture, 3D terrain modelling for construction, and archaeology.
  • Uninhibited, the market is predicted to reach $3bn by 2031. However key barriers stand in the way of the technology’s full potential being realised. These include limitations on range, conditions of use, and cost.
  • Phlux’s industry-leading, patented technology solves these issues and more, offering both to improve performance in existing use cases, and meet the market needs of emerging applications, such as autonomous vehicles.

Who are the pioneers

Co-founders Ben White, Jo Shien Ng and Chee Hing Tan bring outstanding levels of expertise to the company, with a shared academic background at the University of Sheffield.

Ben White, Phlux’s CEO, completed his PhD in 2016, researching novel semiconductor materials for next-generation photodetectors, and was awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellowship in 2020.

COO Jo Shien Ng is Professor of Semiconductor Devices at the University of Sheffield, where she specialises in light sensors optimised for measuring the very weakest light signals. She also has close ties to industry, having successfully led a number of commercial research and development projects.

Chee Hing Tan has spent 24 years at the University of Sheffield, where he holds the position of Head of Department for Electronic and Electrical Engineering. Over the course of his career, Chee Hing has built a reputation as a world-leading researcher in the detector field, pioneering numerous novel semiconductor materials for infrared detection.

The co-founders are supported by Chair, David Crisp. David is a highly experienced operator and entrepreneur. He founded Eden Group, a mobile telecommunications company which he led to a successful exit, and has most recently been CEO of radar developers, Aveillant Ltd, which was acquired by Thales.

Why us

At Octopus Ventures we’re proud to back the people and businesses shaping tomorrow. Phlux’s innovation stands to reshape not just the current market, but to open the door on a host of new possibilities, particularly in the field of autonomous vehicles.

Our People and Talent team will be on-hand as they grow, supporting Ben, Chee Hing, Jo Shien and the team as they bring their future shaping technology to market. A huge congratulations to the Phlux community!

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