Blickfeld has developed and demonstrated a unique light detection and ranging (LiDAR) technology that is solely based on commercial off-the-shelf and silicon components. It can be manufactured in low-cost mass fabrication and meets high automotive performance requirements. Now, we are thrilled to announce a $4.25 million seed financing round led by Fluxunit – OSRAM Ventures, High-Tech Gründerfonds, Tengelmann Ventures and Unternehmertum Venture Capital Partners.
Autonomous systems, such as self-driving cars, robots, and drones, need to ‘see’ and ‘understand’ the world around them to safely navigate and operate. Blickfeld develops LiDAR systems by using a proprietary technology that creates high-definition, three-dimensional geometric maps. In the automotive industry, LiDAR is considered one of the decisive technologies towards autonomous driving.
Our focus is on bringing high-performance automotive LiDAR systems to the mass market. By using commercial off-the-shelf and silicon components, we have developed and demonstrated a unique technology that can be produced in low-cost mass fabrication and meets the technical performance specifications required by car OEMs. This is achieved by employing a patent-pending scanner technology which merges the best of both silicon microfabrication and already established LiDAR concepts. This advanced approach closes the gap between today’s high-cost systems and the automotive mass-market needs, and thus enables safe and affordable autonomous transportation.
Blickfeld is backed by a strong consortium: Fluxunit is the corporate venture capital arm of OSRAM, an internationally leading lighting company. On the technology side, it brings deep technical expertise on the component level (e.g for lasers or for state-of-the-art optical sensors) to the table. On the market side, Blickfeld will benefit from the access to in-depth market knowledge and to top-tier automotive customers. Furthermore, Fluxunit is able to offer strong know-how in the areas of industrialization, electronics development, quality management and intellectual property.
High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) is Europe’s most active seed-stage investor with over 450 investments. HTGF provides funding for technology-driven startups and helps them to successfully enter the market. Startups benefit from HTGF’s investment experience and expertise as well as from the access the extensive network of corporations, other investors, industry experts and managers.
Tengelmann Ventures (TEV) is one of Germany’s largest venture capital funds and has invested in over 50 companies over the past five years, many of which have become global players and market leaders in their particular segment. TEV has made a couple of investments in the automotive space and is among others an investor in Uber.
Unternehmertum Venture Capital Partners continues to position itself as a leading venture capital investor in the field of mobility after having already made investments in companies such as Europe’s leading bus company Flixbus, car-sharing solution aggregator Carjump (sold to Peugeot Renault/Groupe PSA) and connected-mobility provider Vimcar. Moreover, UVC Partners has a close connection to the recently launched Munich-based Digital Hub Mobility, a cooperation between the German government and industry players such as Audi, BMW, Daimler, IBM, Infineon and Facebook that is managed by UnternehmerTUM, Germany’s leading innovation and startup center.
Together, the investor consortium is able to support the team with connections to industry partners such as automotive OEMs and suppliers as well as with technical expertise on the component level and in the industrialization of the technology. Moreover, it is able to provide substantial follow-on investment in later rounds. “We are convinced that Blickfeld and its innovative ray-guidance technique can be an important enabler for bringing LiDAR to the vehicle mass market,” notes Dr. Ulrich Eisele, Managing Director of Fluxunit – OSRAM Ventures.
“We are thrilled to have concluded our seed financing round with such experienced partners. We are very much looking forward to the joint journey. The funds will be used to speed up our development and to enter first trials with automotive OEMs. We are planning to provide first systems to our OEM partners in early 2018. Our team will be expanded: We are especially looking for talent to join our Munich-based team,” Florian Petit, founder of Blickfeld, explains.