Realising Graphenes Potential

Paragraf closes £2.9m seed round to drive first ever large-scale production of graphene based technologies

Company’s unique proprietary method produces the first high quality graphene layers adapted to commercial end uses

1st May 2018

Paragraf, the graphene technology development company, a recent spin out from the University of Cambridge, has closed a £2.9 million seed round to support the development of its first major products. The round is led by Cambridge Enterprise, the commercialisation arm of the University of Cambridge, with the participation of Parkwalk Advisors, Amadeus Capital Partners, IQ Capital Partners and angel investors.

Paragraf focuses on the production of ‘two-dimensional’ materials, primarily graphene, and the development of electronic devices based on these materials. Harnessing the extremely high conductivity, superb strength, very low weight and ultimate flexibility of graphene, Paragraf’s technology is the first ever commercial-scale method validated to reproducibly deliver functionally active graphene with properties targeted to its final device-specific application, with both high quality and high throughput.

Using a proprietary, patent protected approach Paragraf has overcome the problems of poor uniformity, reproducibility, limited size and material contamination that have stymied all current graphene manufacturing techniques.

The company has already produced layers with electrical characteristics optimised for producing very sensitive detectors at commercial scale and improved efficiency contact layers for common technologies such as LEDs.

Paragraf’s devices will target markets including transistors, where graphene-based devices could deliver clock speeds several orders of magnitude faster than silicon-based devices; chemical and electrical sensors, where graphene could increase sensitivity by a factor of >1000; and novel energy generation devices tapping into kinetic and chemical green energy sources yet to be exploited by any other technology.

Prof. Sir Colin Humphreys, Chairman and Co-Founder of Paragraf, said: “Graphene has been called the new wonder material, because of its potential to transform a range of industries such as electronics, energy and healthcare. However, so far, its applications have been limited because good quality graphene is only available in small flakes. Our underlying research has the capability to transform production by providing good quality, large-area graphene on a commercial scale.”

Dr Simon Thomas, CEO and Co-Founder of Paragraf, said: “There’s no doubt that the electronic, mechanical and optical properties of two-dimensional materials such as graphene have the potential to significantly increase performance in a multitude of state of the art technologies. However, until materials like graphene can be delivered in commercially viable, device compatible, functionally targeted forms, the achievements demonstrated at lab scale will not be transferred to real-world products. At Paragraf we have developed the first production technique that allows true scaling of graphene based devices.”

Hermann Hauser, Co-Founder of Amadeus Capital Partners, remarked: “Graphene has demonstrated some remarkable achievements in the lab, showing great promise for many future electronic technologies. However, without a pathway to commercial viability, scaling from proof of concept to end user accessible products remains beyond the horizon. Paragraf’s novel approach to two-dimensional materials fabrication brings the possibility of mass market graphene based devices a step closer to reality.”

About Paragraf:  Paragraf is a spin-out from the high-profile 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 will develop atom-layer thick two-dimensional materials, starting with graphene.  Through its growing IP portfolio Paragraf will apply these to a range of advanced electronic, energy and medical devices to benefit society.

About Cambridge Enterprise: A wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Cambridge, Cambridge Enterprise Limited is responsible for the commercialisation of University intellectual property. It provides access to early stage capital through the Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds, University of Cambridge Enterprise Funds and Cambridge Enterprise Venture Partners, and offers business planning, mentoring and related programmes. Activities include management and licensing of intellectual property and patents, proof of concept funding and support for University staff and research groups wishing to provide expert advice or facilities to public and private sector organisations. For more information, please visit: www.enterprise.cam.ac.uk

 About Parkwalk: Parkwalk (www.parkwalkadvisors.com) invests in high growth, knowledge intensive companies seeking to develop and commercialise technology and innovation originating from UK universities, research intensive institutions and technology clusters.
Founded in 2009, Parkwalk is the largest EIS growth fund manager focused on university spin-outs, having raised over £125m to date and backed over 75 companies across its managed funds since inception. In February 2017 Parkwalk was acquired by IP Group plc, a FTSE 250 company with a market capitalisation of £1bn and the UK’s leading developer of intellectual property-based businesses. The Parkwalk investment vehicles include the evergreen Parkwalk Opportunities Fund, the University of Cambridge Enterprise Funds, the University of Oxford Innovation Funds and the University of Bristol Enterprise Funds.

About Amadeus Capital Partners: Amadeus Capital Partners is a global technology investor. Since 1997, the firm has backed more than 130 companies and raised over $1bn for investment.
With vast experience and a great network, Amadeus Capital’s 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 health and digital media. Early stage investments we’ve made include genomic research data collaboration platform Repositive, massively parallel simulation platform Improbable.io, Graphcore, innovators in intelligent microprocessors, and speech recognition company VocalIQ. To learn more visit https://amadeuscapital.com or follow us at @AmadeusCapital.

About IQ Capital: IQ Capital invests in ground-breaking technologies and ambitious founders, capable of dominating their respective markets. IQ Capital invests early into deep-tech companies with innovative IP, and helps drive growth for the long-term. The IQ Capital team has achieved significant exits including Autonomy (IPO), Imsense (Apple), Neul (Huawei), Phonetic Arts (Google), KVS (Veritas), Stillfront (IPO) and Sirigen (BD). IQ Capital has made 22 investments over the last three years and is actively investing throughout 2018. For more information, please visit http://www.iqcapital.vc