Cambridge Mechatronics raises $40M for smartphone imaging tech

Cambridge Mechatronics has raised $40 million for its actuators and controller integrated circuits which are used in smartphone imaging.

Cambridge Mechatronics (CML) has shipped its Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) technology in over 70 million products, including some of the world’s top-ranking smartphone cameras. With over 700 patents pending and granted, the company plans to expand beyond smartphone imaging into healthcare, interactive entertainment, and other applications.

The rise of social media and video sharing means that smartphone camera performance is vitally important to smartphone brands and their customers. The SMA technology generates a high force in a very compact form factor which means it can deliver world leading optical image stabilisation (OIS) for motion free photos and videos.

The funding round was oversubscribed and led by Atlantic Bridge, with co-leads from Intel Capital and Supernova, and additional participation from Sony Innovation Fund.

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Part of the team at Cambridge Mechatronics.

Cambridge Mechatronics focuses on disruptive solutions to enhance smartphone imaging, utilizing SMA actuators and controller ICs. SMA actuators provide a high force-to-mass ratio, enabling precise movements for features like autofocus and optical image stabilization in a more compact design. Notably, SMA is free of electromagnetic interference, offering a significant advantage over incumbent voice coil motor technology, the company said.

Jörgen Lantto, chairman of Cambridge Mechatronics, said in a statement, “We are delighted to welcome such a prominent group of global investors to CML. Their expertise and experience together with the capital raised will enable us to accelerate our plans for growth. The fact that this funding round was oversubscribed is a testament to the innovation of our talented employees developing world-leading SMA technology, and the wide range of applications where CML’s SMA technology can deliver industry-leading performance.”

The company’s newly developed SMA Variable Aperture provides continuous aperture control in a form factor smaller than the industry standard. The patented Zero Hold Power technology ensures that components, such as the aperture, remain in place during image capture without consuming any power.

Osman Kent, partner at Atlantic Bridge, said in a statement, “We led this investment as we believe Cambridge Mechatronics has a unique and proven deep technology platform for SMA, which will usher new imaging paradigms for smartphones and beyond. Atlantic Bridge is excited to support Cambridge Mechatronics access new customers and markets and become the leader in camera control technology.”

Regis Saleur, CEO at Supernova Invest, highlighted CML’s alignment with their existing portfolio in Deeptech and Photonics. Antonio Avitabile, managing director for EMEA at Sony Ventures, acknowledged the transformational impact of CML’s SMA actuator technology in the smartphone industry and beyond.

The investment will propel Cambridge Mechatronics to further differentiate its product platforms, fostering growth in talented teams and expanding its reach into new markets.

Arun Chetty, managing director at Intel Capital, said in a statement, “Intel Capital is delighted to support CML during the next chapter of their development. We believe CML’s proven technology has the potential to revolutionise other markets such as precision drug delivery devices and haptics.”

The company has 142 people and is based in Cambridge, England. Prior to the current round, Cambridge Mechatronics raised $80 million.

The company has a long history as an audio business which was searching for a better actuator tech. The pivot to focus on SMA and smartphone cameras happened around 2010.

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