University of Manchester-originated IP attracts largest European semiconductor funding round

Intellectual property acquired from the University of Manchester has attracted the largest ever European semiconductor venture funding round.

A £7.5 million Series D investment from Northern Gritstone is part of the new funding for Pragmatic, a manufacturer of flexible Integrated Circuit (IC) semiconductors.

Pragmatic’s £162 million Series D round is co-led by M&G Catalyst and UK Infrastructure Bank and includes existing investors Prosperity7 Ventures (the diversified investments fund under Aramco Ventures), British Patient Capital and Cambridge Innovation Capital.

Northern Gritstone CEO, Duncan Johnson, says that Pragmatic’s “strong impact agenda and desire to create high-value jobs in the region aligns with Northern Gritstone’s ‘profit with purpose’ mission and desire to create a thriving innovation community.”

Northern Gritstone - Innovation Factory

Northern Gritstone pledge to create ‘profit with purpose’ in their investments, delivering attractive returns to shareholders as well as helping catalyse the Northern tech ecosystem.

Pragmatic’s total secured capital stands at £182 million. Founded by Scott White and Richard Price in 2010, Pragmatic acquired IP from the University of Manchester upon its creation and has established its manufacturing plant at Pragmatic Park in Durham.

The company has developed a patented process for ICs manufactured from metal oxide rather than traditional silicon. It uses thin-film semiconductors to create flexible ICs that are thinner than human hair, enabling new applications not possible with silicon chips.

CGI illustration of flexible semiconductors

Flexible semiconductors

The global semiconductor industry is expected to grow to $1,380 billion by 2029, according to Fortune Business Insights, as the use of semiconductors in everyday appliances increases.

Key bnefits of Pragmatic's flexible semiconductors

Prof Luke Georghiou, Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at The University of Manchester, said:

“It is exciting to see research begun at the University of Manchester evolving into a high-value business which has secured impressive investment. Pragmatic represents some of the brightest technology from across the North of England and we wish it every success.”

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