Tech firm VueReal plans to hire dozens of employees by the end of 2023 in an expansion fuelled by US$14.4 million raised in its latest funding round.
The Waterloo company specializes in microprinting technology for micro and nano devices, such as true-to-life micro-LED displays used in sectors ranging from automotive and aerospace to medical, industrial, consumer electronics and augmented reality.
The new funding will allow VueReal to expand its production capacity and capabilities as it creates custom displays for a growing customer base and continues to commercialize its unique microprinting platform.
“That’s kind of the backbone of the company,” chief executive officer Reza Chaji said of VueReal’s printing technology, which does away with many of the challenges and costs associated with the traditional production of micro-LED displays.
Led by Cycle Capital, the latest funding round also included TDK Ventures, glass manufacturer Vitro, Economic Development Canada and BDC Capital’s Cleantech Practice.
“VueReal’s transfer technology platform is a key enabler for the adoption of next-generation micro-LED displays,” Cycle Capital founder and managing partner Andrée-Lise Méthot said in a release.
“It is powering a new wave of displays for everyday consumer products that offer better performance while reducing their energy consumption profile.”
Superior performance and low energy consumption make micro-LEDs the “holy grail of the display industry,” TDK Ventures investment director Tina Tosukhowong said.
“However, its challenging assembly process has been the main limiting factor for many years. VueReal’s microprinting solution is a real game changer and we are very excited to back the team to take the micro-LED industry to the next level.”
VueReal raised US$15 million in a previous funding round, and received an $8.5-million grant from Sustainable Development Technology Canada in 2018 toward the creation of an advanced nanotechnology centre at its Phillip Street facility.
Existing investors include Samsung Ventures, LG Electronics and Veeco Instruments.
VueReal was founded in 2016, and Chaji notes there have been companies working in the micro-LED market for much longer.
“But the feedback we are getting from the industry … everybody that evaluates our solution, they say this is the best result they have ever seen,” he said. “It’s very reassuring to hear that from those companies.”
Presently, VueReal has 27 employees, but Chaji expects that number to grow to about 100 people by the end of 2023. That type of growth will likely require some additional space as well.
The nanotechnology program at the University of Waterloo has proven to be a good source of talent. “The majority of our team, actually, are somehow linked to the University of Waterloo. We’ve been very lucky.”
While the pandemic disrupted regular programs and seminars that introduced students to VueReal’s work, Chaji is hoping to rebuild those connections, especially in light of the planned hiring ahead.
“I have one of the best teams ever,” he said. “Even with the COVID situation, they stick together, they made it happen.”News Source: The Record