UK-based graphene electronics technology company Paragraf announces today the addition of £3.4m to its series A round, with Draper Esprit joining as significant investor, bringing the total to £16.2m. The round was led by Parkwalk and included investment from IQ Capital, Amadeus Capital Partners, Cambridge Enterprise, the commercialisation arm of the University of Cambridge and Partners Investment Company, as well as several angel investors. The additional funding will enable Paragraf to significantly accelerate the delivery of its first graphene-based electronics products to market, transitioning the company into a commercial, revenue-generating entity.
As graphene appears to be reaching its tipping point in many low-cost applications such as road surfacing, paint and clothing where its improved wear resistance properties are offering benefits, the widely speculated, high-performance electronics applications have remained tantalisingly out of reach. Paragraf’s patent-protected break-through approach to graphene synthesis has enabled the company to develop some of the first graphene electronics devices using standard mass production scale approaches.
Paragraf has achieved very early delivery to market of its first product, a super-high sensitivity magnetic field detector with order of magnitude performance enhancements over existing sensors. The technology also provides operational capabilities over temperature, field and power ranges that no other device can currently achieve. On the back of this success the company has made a strategic decision to take on additional financing, enabling the business to super charge its development roadmap.
Dr Simon Thomas, CEO and Co-founder of Paragraf, said: “By accepting additional investment Paragraf is demonstrating its drive and commitment to rapidly productising its game changing graphene technologies, accelerating the timeframe in which these devices can be developed and, importantly, delivered to market.”
David Cummings, Partner at Draper Esprit, said “Graphene is known to be a material with huge potential, but Paragraf’s approach takes this into the realm of the commercially possible. We’re delighted to be able to support this dynamic company in accelerating the delivery of its first graphene-based electronics products and are looking forward to working closely with them as they continue to develop their technology.”
About Paragraf: Paragraf is a spin-out from the Centre for Gallium Nitride group of Professor Sir Colin Humphreys in the Department of Materials Science at the University of Cambridge. Building on significant know-how and IP, Paragraf has developed atom-layer-thick two-dimensional materials, with a focus on graphene. Through its growing IP portfolio, Paragraf is applying these materials to a range of advanced electronic, energy and medical devices to benefit society.
About Parkwalk: Parkwalk is the largest growth EIS fund manager, backing world-changing technologies emerging from the UK’s leading universities and research institutions. With £250m of assets under management, it has invested in over 100 companies across its flagship Parkwalk Opportunities EIS Fund as well as the award-winning enterprise and innovation funds Parkwalk manages for the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and Bristol.
Parkwalk invests in businesses creating solutions to real-world challenges, with IP-protected innovations, across a range of sectors including life sciences, AI, quantum computing, advanced materials, genomics, cleantech, future of mobility, medtech and big data.
About IQ Capital: IQ Capital is a venture capital firm, based between Cambridge and London, that invests in ‘deep-tech’ across sectors including machine learning, AI, robotics, and advanced engineering and materials, and data-focused propositions based on disruptive algorithms. All of the firm’s portfolio companies are capable of dominating their respective markets on a global scale. Initial investments range from £300k to £5m, with capacity for follow-on investment up to £30m.
The IQ Capital team has achieved over 20 exits to date, to companies including Oracle, Google, Apple, Huawei, and Facebook, and several IPOs. IQ Capital has led 28 investments over the last three years. The firm is currently investing at seed and Series A stage from its third venture fund.
About Amadeus Capital Partners: Amadeus Capital Partners is a global technology investor. Since 1997, the firm has raised over $1bn for investment and used it to back more than 130 companies. With vast experience and a great network, Amadeus’ team of investors and entrepreneurs share a passion for the transformative power of technology. We invest in consumer services, financial technology, artificial intelligence, cyber security, medical technology, digital healthcare and digital media.
Early stage investments we’ve made include rare disease treatment discovery platform Healx, massively parallel simulation platform Improbable; Graphcore, innovators in intelligent microprocessors, and speech recognition company VocalIQ (acquired by Apple).
About Cambridge Enterprise: Part of the University of Cambridge, Cambridge Enterprise supports academics, researchers, staff and students in achieving knowledge transfer and research impact. We do this by helping innovators, experts and entrepreneurs use commercial avenues to develop their ideas and expertise for the benefit of society, the economy, themselves and the University.
Liaising with organisations both locally and globally, we offer expert advice and support in commercialisation and social enterprise, including help with academic consultancy services, the protection, development and licensing of ideas, new company and social enterprise creation, and seed funding.
About Draper Esprit: Draper Esprit is one of the most active venture capital firms in Europe, developing and investing in disruptive, high growth technology companies. We believe the best entrepreneurs in Europe are capable of building the global businesses of the future. We fuel their growth with long- term capital, access to international networks and decades of experience building businesses. Currently, Draper Esprit is a shareholder in a diverse portfolio of companies including Trustpilot, UiPath, Transferwise, and Graphcore. For more information please visit www.draperesprit.com.
About Partners Investment Company: Partners Investment Company (“PIC”) is an investment management firm founded by Cato Stonex, Mark Evans and Magnus Spence-Jones in 2017. All three worked together at THS Partners, where Cato and Mark were senior partners, managing capital from a variety of institutional clients with peak AUM of circa. $20bn.
PIC focusses on concentrated, fundamental investments, primarily in European small and medium sized companies. The team has extensive experience of identifying and investing in early stage, high growth trends and sectors, including tech and biotech.