University Investment Fund gives LiFi Spin‐out a Brighter Future


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Old College Capital (OCC), the venture investment arm of the University of Edinburgh, has recently participated in the investment round for University spin‐out company, pureLiFi Ltd.

OCC invested £250,000 in pureLiFi as part of a £1.5 million co‐investment with London & Scottish Investment Partners and the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) in a deal, managed by Edinburgh‐based corporate finance firm Quest Corporate.

Andrea Young, Old College Capital’s Fund Manager, said:

“Old College Capital is committed to supporting exciting spin‐out and start‐up companies like pureLiFi, which are emerging from the University of Edinburgh, to support their growth and development into global market leaders in partnership with other investors.”

pureLiFi is developing wireless communication products based on visible light communication technology, or ‘LiFi’, that was developed by Professor Harald Haas, Chair of Mobile Communications at the University of Edinburgh. The new investment will be used to support the development and roll‐out of the company’s product roadmap and growing the marketing and sales function.

LiFi refers to high‐speed, bidirectional, networked and mobile wireless communications using light. LiFi uses the visible light and infrared spectra, which are plentiful, free and unlicensed. The visible light bandwidth is more than 10,000 larger than all the bandwidth that is currently used by wireless communication systems. This is one of the objectives set out by the 5G Infrastructure Public Private Partnership, 5G‐PPP, for next generation 5G cellular systems.

Professor Haas, pureLiFi’s Chief Scientific Officer, has first coined and demonstrated ‘LiFi’ on stage at TED Global in July 2011. He and his colleagues have since been pioneering LiFi chip and networking technologies and have demonstrated data rates of 15 Gbps. He said:

“LiFi technology will in future enable faster, more reliable internet connections, even when the demand for data usage has outgrown the available supply from existing technologies such as LTE and Wi‐Fi. It will not replace these technologies, but will work seamlessly alongside them, and will be part of future 5G technologies.”

Further development of LiFi continues within the University of Edinburgh’s LiFi R&D Centre, which seeks to accelerate the development of LiFi, through creating a pipeline for innovative ideas, technologies, products and partnerships, into a major global industry estimated to be worth £5 billion ($8.5 billion) by 2018.

Grant Wheeler, Head of Company Formation at Edinburgh Research and Innovation, the University’s commercialisation arm, said:

“pureLiFi is widely recognised as one of the world’s most exciting new spin‐out companies and the University is delighted that the company is now translating the results of the world‐class research undertaken by Professor Haas and his research group into real and high‐value products and solutions. Our ongoing work with pureLiFi, both in supporting the company’s growth and in further developing the LiFi technology, represents an excellent example of genuinely impactful knowledge transfer. And Old College Capital’s substantial investment makes clear the University’s commitment to knowledge transfer as an engine for growth of the Scottish economy.”