Japan’s Kyulux raises $13.5 mln; Series A round led by Samsung Venture

Kyulux Inc, the Fukuoka, Japan, advanced-materials startup focused on OLED display and lighting technology known as thermally activated delayed fluorescence, raised $13.5 million (1.5 billion yen) of Series A financing. Samsung Venture Investment Corp led the round, with participation from OLED panel manufacturers including Samsung Display, LG Display, Japan Display and Joled. Also participating in the funding were Japanese VC funds and a Japan-government-affiliated venture fund. Kyulux also said that it acquired a patent portfolio from Kyushu University and that the school took equity participation in the financing.

Press Release

Kyulux, Inc. Announces $13.5 Million Series A Financing and Acquisition of Large OLED Patent Portfolio from Kyushu University

FUKUOKA, Japan, April 6, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Kyulux, Inc., an advanced materials startup that is commercializing the next generation of OLED display and lighting technology known as TADF (Thermally Activated Delayed Fluorescence), announced today that Samsung Venture Investment Corporation took the lead in a $13.5 million (¥1.5 Billion Japanese Yen) Series A round of venture funding.  Participating in the round were global OLED panel manufacturers including Samsung Display, LG Display, Japan Display and JOLED, top tier Japanese venture capital funds, and a Japanese Government affiliated venture fund. Kyushu University also announced the transfer of a large portfolio of TADF related patents and equity participation by the university in the financing.

Co-founder Professor Chihaya Adachi, the inventor of TADF technology said, “We are extremely pleased with the enormous response we have had from strategic partners and investors.  This funding will allow Kyulux to develop TADF technology into the new de facto standard for OLED displays and lighting. Because our technology has achieved high efficiency and deep blue emission as well as red and green without using rare metals such as iridium that are required for the previous generation of phosphorescent emission that I was also an inventor of, we will now have an alternative that is better for the environment, cheaper to produce, and absent the finite limits that the supply of iridium would allow.”

Dr. Christopher Savoie, a serial entrepreneur and CEO of Kyulux stated, “We are very glad to announce this significant funding milestone and the agreement on technology transfer with Kyushu University.  We have brought in some key global OLED leaders and world renowned investors who will give us a strong base to accelerate the market for this next generation of OLED technology.”

Junji Adachi, the visionary CTO of Kyulux who has led commercialization efforts for TADF for several years before co-founding Kyulux with Prof. Adachi stated, “We are confident in our development progress with novel TADF materials especially with support from our corporate partners. We will be introducing the next generation of emitting materials to the market very soon. We believe OLED displays with TADF will be the most prevalent interfaces for IoT in the future.”

Apple recently reported plans to begin using OLED display technology for its devices such as the iPhone starting in 2018.  This move by Apple will cause the global OLED market to increase dramatically. OLED market researchers estimate that the OLED market will reach more than $32B worldwide in 2020.