BORN2GROW Seedfonds and High-Tech Gründerfonds on board as investors
Karlsruhe/Heilbronn/Bonn, 5 February 2018. Karlsruhe-based LightnTec GmbH, a developer and manufacturer of digital light and its illumination on thin film for innovative indoor and outdoor advertising spaces as well as digital lighting systems, has successfully completed an additional financing round. A seven-figure investment sum was raised and the investors include the seed fund BORN2GROW – a subsidiary of ZFHN Zukunftsfonds Heilbronn (ZFHN) – and High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF).
LightnTec has developed a patent-protected technique for digital light with animated content to be played back on ultra-thin thermoplastics over a large area – much like an oversized television. Ultra-thin plastic films are coated from roll to roll with a matrix of tracks and fitted with LEDs, ensuring digital light is possible in nearly every required size. The technology used provides a brightness of up to 5,000 candela per square metre. This method ensures that blow-up banners can easily and inexpensively be converted to large LED walls and are thus easy to see during the daytime, for instance. The film can be tailored to any shape, including circular and triangular shapes.
90% lighter than conventional LED technology
The product’s advantage over conventional technologies is in its ultralight weight (90% lighter than conventional LED/LCD displays). Elaborate substructures that safeguard the static are thus rendered unnecessary thanks to a significantly simplified – and therefore more cost-efficient – installation of the digitally illuminated areas. Another one of LightnTec’s unique selling points is in its easy control and driver electronics, which can be directly applied to thermoplastic material. The entire process for manufacturing light-emitting plastic foils is currently conducted in the Karlsruhe region.
“LightnTec’s technical approach of controlling LEDs on ultra-thin foils using standardised media data impressed us right away. Through LightnTec’s innovation, completely undiscovered market potential for video screens and digitally playable surfaces – both indoor and outdoor – is being tapped into. The technology’s countless advantages, such as reduced weight, much bigger screens and significantly reduced costs, are attracting numerous customers,” explains Thomas R. Villinger, CEO of ZFHN.
“LightnTec has an experienced management team that unites important competencies from the fields of development, technology, innovation, sales and production. In addition to its innovative technical approach, we therefore also see the optimal conditions for sustainable expansion,” says Klaus Lehmann, Senior Investment Manager at HGTF.
Order books already brimming
LightnTec has already acquired a significant backlog of orders and the LED-Wallpaper Solutions product range is on the verge of completing CE and safety certifications. As a result of the continued development of light control, image resolution and intensity, a sharp rise in demand can be expected in the fields of video screens, digitally playable advertising banners and digital lighting systems for ceilings, walls, floors and cladding. LightnTec founder Florian Kall has over 30 years of experience in light advertising and a large network of partners and distributors to ensure successful European sales.
Additional members of the management team are Lutz Nehrhoff von Holderberg (CSO), who has 25 years of experience – including as head of R&D at BARCO for the Karlsruhe and India locations – Manuel Hübner, (technology and innovation, digital signage and embedded systems) and Peter Wöschler (project management, technical and commercial processing, and application development). “The financing provided by ZFHN and HTGF ensures we have sufficient capital to quickly implement our ambitious growth goals. As the team that founded the company, we are firmly convinced that the future belongs to light and the innovative control of light on ultra-thin films,” says Florian Kall. “Light, information technology and audio/video are increasingly converging. LightnTec’s light technology is a precursor of this convergence,” he adds.
LightnTec is the leading innovator in Europe for light and its control on ultra-thin films. LightnTec’s digital illuminating surfaces are ultra thin, malleable, flat, large in scale, applicable both indoors and outdoors, and digital – any size, any shape, any place, ultra thin, ultra lightweight.
The light and display screen film can achieve luminance values of up to 5,000 candela per square metre. Its very low fire load also means it offers advantages in terms of fire protection. The technology also offers wide-ranging application potential in the fields of audio/video, digitally controllable and illuminating surfaces on ceilings, walls, roof linings, cladding and façades. LightnTec was founded in Karlsruhe in February 2016 to develop LED wallpapers.
About zfhn Zukunftsfonds Heilbronn
Since it was founded in 2005, zfhn Zukunftsfonds Heilbronn has been one of the largest venture capital funds in Germany. It assists primarily young, innovative technology firms that are established in the Heilbronn region or are ready to settle there in the short to medium term. Zukunftsfonds is privately financed and holds hundreds of millions of euros in owner’s equity. It supports companies with capital, know-how and contacts in the Heilbronn economic region. Its objective is the continued growth of Heilbronn as a successful technology site. This will also include the setup and expansion of clusters (medtech, biotech, cleantech) on a local level.
Since its foundation in 2013, Heilbronn-based BORN2GROW GmbH & Co. KG has supported innovative tech companies in the seed-funding and start-up phase. The seed fund assists young companies by guiding them from proof-of-concept stage to market launch. This early-stage financing enables rapidly growing tech-oriented start-up companies to develop their ideas and concepts. BORN2GROW, a subsidiary of zfhn Zukunftsfonds Heilbronn, works together with other venture capital funds and business angels, making quick and transparent financing decisions.
About High-Tech Gründerfonds
High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) is a powerful engine that drives the success of high-tech start-ups. With EUR 886 million in total investment volume across three funds (EUR 272 million – HTGF I; EUR 304 million – HTGF II; and a targeted volume of EUR 310 million HTGF III) and an international network of partners, HTGF has already financed almost 500 start-ups. Armed with expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and passion, the experienced team of investment managers and start-up experts guide top companies on their journey from launch to success. HTGF focuses on high-potential start-ups active in the sectors of software, media, internet, hardware, energy and automation, life sciences (medical technology, diagnostics, biotechnology) and chemicals. Investors in this public-private partnership include the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the KfW Banking Group and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft e.V. as well as a number of well-known companies including ALTANA, BASF, B.Braun, Robert Bosch, BÜFA, CEWE, Deutsche Post DHL, Dräger, Drillisch AG, EVONIK, EWE AG, Haniel, Hettich, Knauf, Körber, LANXESS, media + more venture Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG, PHOENIX CONTACT, Postbank, QIAGEN, RWE Generation SE, SAP, Schufa, Schwarz Gruppe, STIHL, Thüga, Vector Informatik and WACKER.