United Angels VC and Superangel lead the €425K pre-seed investment round to LightCode Photonics

EstVCA members United Angels VC and Superangel lead the €425K pre-seed investment round to LightCode Photonics.

Photo: LightCode Photonics founder CEO Heli Valtna (on the left) with a part of her team

Founded in 2020, LightCode Photonics is a Tartu-based tech startup developing breakthrough technology for mobility. Its aim is to change the way a robot looks at the world by building a compact LiDAR-class 3D camera that will transform the autonomous mobility sector, particularly autonomous cars powered by satellite navigation.

The startup states that the global autonomous vehicle market was valued at €44+ billion in 2019 and is projected to reach €455+ billion by 2026. The market is catered to by different sensor technologies, dominated by 3D laser scanning technology LiDAR, for providing the highest accuracy of situational awareness to date. The LiDAR market is expected to reach €2.2 billion by 2025, growing with a 19% CAGR between 2020 and 2025.

While leading the development of state-of-the-art 3D imaging technology, LiDAR has its downsides for a big portion of the autonomous vehicle market. The complexity of the technology and design makes it too large, fragile, and expensive for smaller service robots, like delivery, city maintenance, and firefighting robots. This hinders the wider availability of service robots for everyday environments to increase the general quality of life.

That’s where LightCode Photonic promises to help, with its high-performance 3D imaging technology within the price range of a stereo camera. According to LightCode’s founder and CEO Heli Valtna (Ph.D.), there is plenty of potential in existing low-resolution LiDAR detectors to build into high-performance compact solid-state 3D imaging cameras. The company uses fundamentally different principles for acquiring images, inspired by quantum-light shaping technologies combined with the software-defined operation. The solution allows upgrading the performance of inexpensive hardware components for accurate real-time 3D mapping, making the solution highly scalable for roughly 90% of autonomous vehicle developers.

With the new investment on board, CEO and founder Valtna is working with a PhD-level team and a tight circle of advisors, including technologist, ex-Skyper, and Bolt’s first investor Toomas Bergmann, to develop a compact prototype of its patent-pending software-defined 3D camera. The technology is set to be validated with a hand-picked list of early adopters, including Cleveron and Milrem Robotics, in summer 2021.

  • Read more on the investment HERE

Further info:

Riivo Anton
Founding Partner
United Angels VC

Marko Oolo
Investment Manager

Front page image: Alexander Popov/Unsplash

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