HiLight Semiconductor raises $6M Series B investment

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Start-up HiLight Semiconductor has completed its third round of venture capital funding, bringing total investment in the company to $20 million.

The latest funding follows seed investment by Oyster Capital in 2013 and Series A funding led by Atlantic Bridge Capital in May 2015. The Series B funding is again led by Atlantic Bridge, with follow-on investments by Oyster Capital and executive chairman Gary Steele.

The latest round, totalling $6.1 million, also had participation from a new strategic – and unnamed – investor.

HiLight plan to use the funds to expand its integrated circuit (IC) design, support and evaluation teams, its laboratory facilities in Southampton, and create a new laboratory alongside its design offices in Bristol, UK.

Brian Long, managing partner at Atlantic Bridge and director of the board at HiLight said: “The markets addressed by HiLight – internet access, computer networking, data centres and cellular infrastructure – clearly all still have very substantial growth ahead of them. HiLight’s products combining innovative, patented technology, on proven low-cost platforms looks set to continue to grow very strongly both in terms of market share, and revenues”.

HiLight is a fabless chip company founded in 2012, and specialising in deep sub-micron CMOS design for high-speed optical networking applications. The company designs and supplies high-performance physical layer ICs for coding and encoding data that is transmitted and received by optical components – parts that are traditionally built using analogue and mixed-signal integrated circuits.

Last year the start-up was awarded a $2 million grant from the European Commission to further develop its ultra-low-power CMOS technology for 100G communications (see HiLight awarded $2M to develop ultra-low-power PHY ICs).

“We’re very grateful for the further support shown by our lead investors, and of course also welcome our new investors,” said Gary Steele, HiLight executive chairman. “We believe they have been encouraged by our three-times year-on-year sales growth this year, and our proven ability to overcome the inherent technical challenges in using low-cost digital CMOS technologies in very high-speed analogue and mixed-signal products.”

The start-up already has products shipping, claiming to have sold 30 million chips at the time of the announcement. HiLight plans to release several new 10 and 100G products in 2017, which will demonstrate its expertise in terms of sensitivity, power consumption and integration, and will appeal to a wide range of customers in North America, Greater China and Japan, Steele added.

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