Safran invests in Cailabs, French disruptive startup dedicated to light shaping technologies
Safran today announces equity investment in Cailabs, through Safran Corporate Ventures, its corporate venture subsidiary dedicated to investments in innovative technology companies.
A spinoff from the Kastler Brossel Laboratory, providing innovative photonics solutions to harness the full potential of optical fibers
Founded in 2013, Cailabs is a spinoff from the Kastler Brossel Laboratory (a joint research unit between the Ecole Normale Supérieure, Pierre et Marie Curie University and French national scientific research agency CNRS), specialized in quantum physics and optics. Cailabs has developed a patented disruptive technology, called Multi Plane Light Conversion, based on the manipulation of light,. The company designs and sells photonic products, including components, modules and subassemblies for the telecommunications and industrial laser markets. Cailabs has already developed two main applications: spatial multiplexing for telecommunication networks (very-high-speed long-range networks, and short-range multimode fiber networks), and for high-power industrial lasers, used for welding, cutting, surface treatment and additive manufacturing.
Potential benefits for new fiber-optic wiring on tomorrow’s airplanes
Data transmission requirements on aircraft are increasing steadily, because of connectivity demand from passengers, increased data exchange between onboard computers (health monitoring) and upcoming requirements for flight safety and security. Fiber-optic networks are starting to be deployed on the latest-generation aircrafts (Airbus A380 and A350, Boeing 787), but face specific challenges compared to traditional terrestrial optical fibers because of the fragility of conventional optical fibers, and aviation certification requirements.
“The growing need for data transmissions means an increase in the complexity, cost and weight of aircraft wiring systems,” explains Alain Sauret, Chief Executive Officer of Safran Electrical & Power, the world leader in aircraft wiring. “The development of very-high-speed capabilities is the inevitable solution to optimize aircraft onboard networks. Safran Electrical & Power is working with Cailabs on optical fibers based development projects withfor next generation wiring systems, with several potential business cases under consideration.”
5 million euros Series A financing, after 3.5 million seed investment
After seed investment of 3.5 million euros from early stage funds such as Innovacom and Starquest, along with business angels, Safran led a new round of financing of 5 million euros, subscribed by Safran Corporate Ventures and existing shareholders. This round enables the company to bolster its industrial and commercial development, and support international expansion.
“Cailabs forecasts a very strong growth from now to 2020 because of its very innovative solutions to critical industrial problems, validated by several proofs of concept in different sectors,” said Eric Dalbiès, Safran Executive Vice President for Strategy and M&A, and Chairman of Safran Corporate Ventures. “In addition to the company’s priority on telecommunications sector, Cailabs has sterling opportunities in several of Safran’s core business activities, especially aircraft wiring and industrial lasers applications. The stake acquired by Safran Corporate Ventures will help accelerate developments in those areas.”
Along with this transaction, Grégoire Aladjidi, Head of Safran Corporate Ventures, will join the Cailabs Board of Directors.
Safran is an international high-technology group and tier-1 supplier of systems and equipment in the Aerospace and Defense markets. Operating worldwide, Safran has nearly 58,000 employees and generated sales of 15.8 billion euros in 2016. Working alone or in partnership, Safran holds world or European leadership positions in its core markets. Safran undertakes Research & Development programs to meet fast-changing market requirements, with total R&D expenditures of 1.7 billion euros in 2016. Safran is listed on the Euronext Paris stock exchange, and its share is part of the CAC 40 and Euro Stoxx 50 indices.