Cathay Capital supports the Caillau-AdiWatt Group in the acquisition of a majority stake in B&K Solar

Cathay Capital

March 11, 2024
Europe

Paris, March XX, 2024 – A portfolio company of Cathay Capital since 2018, Caillau is a world leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of fastening and sealing systems for automotive and aerospace manufacturers industries. Following the acquisition of AdiWatt in 2021, which is entirely dedicated to photovoltaic energy, the announcement of this majority stake acquisition in B&K Solar allows the Group to intensify its growth and diversification strategy in the solar sector in Europe with the financial and operational support of the Cathay Capital teams.

The Caillau Group is a world leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of fastening and sealing systems for automotive and aerospace manufacturers industries. With a workforce of around 600, state-of-the-art production facilities in Romorantin (France), and subsidiaries in China, the USA and Brazil, the century-old Caillau Group has been developing high-tech and mission critical products for decades. The long-standing confidence of European automakers and automotive suppliers, combined with market penetration with new players, particularly from Asia, have enabled the Caillau Group to record strong growth over the last 15 years, reaching sales of c. 150 million euros in 2023.

B&K was founded in 2012 and specializes in versatile solutions for a wide array of roofing applications. Built on a foundation of proactive customer service, B&K provides safe, light and adaptable mounting systems produced in Gütersloh, Germany and Pęgów, Poland. These two entities employed more than 20 employees in 2023. Post-operation, Solar business unit consolidated sales exceed 50 million euros in 2023.

Commenting on the new collaboration, co-founders Patrick Behnke and Martin Kisiel said: “We are thrilled with this partnership. It’s a significant milestone for us and we are confident that we have found the right industry ally, with a strong industrial know-how, significant R&D capabilities, commercial and industrial network. Their expertise and products portfolio complements our innovative spirit and together we will reach new markets and generate significant synergies for both entities”.

For Stéphane Drivon, Chairman of the Group, “the acquisition of AdiWatt in 2021 marked an important step in Caillau’s growth and diversification strategy, as we gained a foothold in a forward-looking industry that leverages the Group’s industrial, technological and product know-how. While we are determined to remain a major player in the field of mobility, through our Automotive and Aerospace Business Units, this acquisition enabled the Group to create a complementary “Solar” Business Unit. Our ambition is to play a key role in the consolidation of European market in the field of high value-added fastening systems”.

We are proud to have supported the Caillau-AdiWatt Group and its management team since our investment in 2018. This century-old company has experienced remarkable internationalization and a strong growth dynamic in recent years, marked in particular by sustained development in Asia and a positioning on the photovoltaic market. This diversification dynamic, which began with the acquisition of AdiWatt in 2021, continues today with the majority stake acquisition in B&K Solar, opening up significant development prospects for Caillau in Europe, at a time when the decarbonization of energy production is at the heart of concerns,” said Jeremie Falzone at Cathay Capital.

About Caillau-AdiWatt

The Caillau Group is a world leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of fastening and sealing systems for automotive and aerospace manufacturers industries. With a workforce of around 600, state-of-the-art production facilities in Romorantin (France), and subsidiaries in China, the USA and Brazil, the century-old Caillau Group has been developing high-tech and mission critical products for decades.
For more information visit: www.caillau.com/

About B&K Solar

B&K was founded in 2012 and specializes in versatile solutions for a wide array of roofing applications. Built on a foundation of proactive customer service, B&K provides safe, light and adaptable mounting systems produced in Gütersloh, Germany and Pęgów, Poland.
For more information visit: www.bksolarezukunft.de/

About Cathay Capital

Cathay Capital Group is a global investment firm supporting companies at all stages throughout North America, Asia, Europe and Africa. By helping navigate the opportunities of globalization and sustainable transformation, Cathay is the partner of choice for companies aspiring to lead markets and make a positive impact. Its global platform connects people – from investors and entrepreneurs to management teams and leading corporations – across continents to share knowledge, the tools to scale, and achieve the extraordinary. Founded in 2007 with a strong entrepreneurial heritage, Cathay Capital now manages over $5B in assets, has completed over 260 buyouts, growth and venture capital investments with the global reach and local expertise from offices in Paris, Munich, Berlin, New York, San Francico, Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Singapore. For more information, please visit www.cathaycapital.com and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter @CathayCapital

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Second acquisition in 2024: Mutares has signed an agreement for the transfer of Magirus from Iveco Group

Mutares
  • Well-known provider of vehicles, ladders and other products and related aftersales services in the firefighting and disaster control markets
  • New platform investment to strengthen the Goods & Services segment
  • Revenues over EUR 300 million

Munich, March 13, 2024 – Mutares SE & Co. KGaA (ISIN: DE000A2NB650) has signed an agreement for the transfer of Magirus from Iveco Group (EXM: IVG). The company will strengthen the Goods & Services segment as a new platform. Due to the required unbundling measures, the transaction is expected to be completed no later than January 2025.

Magirus is amongst the best-known and most technologically leading providers of firefighting technology worldwide. Founded in 1864 and headquartered in Ulm, Germany, the company generates over EUR 300 million in revenues and employs around 1,300 staff at its four sites in Germany, Italy, Austria and France. Magirus offers a comprehensive range of products in the firefighting and disaster control field, such as a complete range of vehicles, ladders, pumps and components & systems, including customer service and aftersales. The company has a global commercial presence serving over 70 countries, its main customers are municipalities and public administrations, airports and industrial companies.

With its strong brand, best-in-class innovation and advanced technology, the company has a unique competitive positioning as a leader in its field, drawing the way for future growth in a resilient and expanding market while optimizing its supply chain and seizing further market opportunities overseas.

Mark Friedrich, CFO of Mutares, comments on the transaction: “Magirus is a typical Mutares acquisition where the company stands for a reputed brand with high quality and represents a compelling value proposition. We therefore see huge potential in the business and are looking forward to further leveraging on its position in Europe and globally.”

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KKR Leads Financing For Clarience Technologies’ Acquisition Of Safe Fleet

KKR

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)– KKR, a leading global investment firm, today announced that it served as Lead Arranger, Administrative Agent, and investor on a debt financing for Clarience Technologies’ Acquisition of Safe Fleet. KKR invested in the transaction through its credit vehicles and accounts. KKR Capital Markets acted as Left Lead Arranger and Joint Bookrunner on the transaction.

Clarience Technologies is a global provider of visibility and safety technologies for transportation, including vehicle lighting, audible warning systems, telematics solutions and tire monitoring and inflation systems. With the Safe Fleet acquisition, Clarience Technologies adds a comprehensive set of complementary fleet safety solutions including video and evidence management, collision prevention, violation detection and trailer temperature control, as well as cargo storage systems, fire-fighting technologies, and other solutions. The acquisition opens cross-selling opportunities to common customer segments, accelerates technology innovation and ultimately enables Clarience Technologies to deliver better value to its customers.

KKR’s credit vehicles and accounts have been investors in both Safe Fleet and Clarience since 2018 and 2019, respectively.

“This transaction demonstrates how the scale and unique capabilities of our platform benefit the issuers with whom we work. Our long-standing investments in both companies allowed us to move quickly and with conviction to seamlessly deliver a scaled solution for Clarience Technologies and its sponsor, Genstar Capital,” said George Mueller, a Partner at KKR. “We look forward to supporting Clarience, Safe Fleet and Genstar teams as they capitalize on opportunities ahead.”

About KKR

KKR is a leading global investment firm that offers alternative asset management as well as capital markets and insurance solutions. KKR aims to generate attractive investment returns by following a patient and disciplined investment approach, employing world-class people, and supporting growth in its portfolio companies and communities. KKR sponsors investment funds that invest in private equity, credit and real assets and has strategic partners that manage hedge funds. KKR’s insurance subsidiaries offer retirement, life, and reinsurance products under the management of Global Atlantic Financial Group. References to KKR’s investments may include the activities of its sponsored funds and insurance subsidiaries. For additional information about KKR & Co. Inc. (NYSE: KKR), please visit KKR’s website at www.KKR.com For additional information about Global Atlantic Financial Group, please visit Global Atlantic Financial Group’s website at www.globalatlantic.com.

About Clarience Technologies:

Clarience Technologies is the global leader of visibility and safety technologies for transportation. Born from a collection of premium brands each with a long track record of innovation, its solutions include vehicle lighting, camera and vision systems, telematics and safety solutions that protect our world and our livelihoods by keeping people, assets and businesses safe, secure and productive. Its team of companies includes Truck-Lite, DAVCO, Road Ready, RIGID, Lumitec, ECCO, Code 3, Fleetilla, LED Autolamps, Pressure Systems International and Safe Fleet. For more information, visit www.clariencetechnologies.com.

KKR
Julia Kosygina
+1 212-750-8300
Media@kkr.com

Source: KKR

 

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Oakley Capital agrees investment in Steer Automotive Group, the UK’s leading B2B automotive services platform

Oakley

Oakley Capital, the leading pan-European private equity investor, announces it has reached a conditional agreement to invest in Steer Automotive Group, the UK’s largest and fastest-growing independent collision repair group.

Founded in 2018 by serial entrepreneur Richard Steer, Steer Automotive has expanded through 18 acquisitions, establishing a network of over 100 repair centres. The group facilitates repairs through its core passenger car and prestige repair centres, luxury brand centres and commercial vehicle locations.

Represents

5%

of UK repair market

Sunday Times listed as

36th

fastest-growing business in the UK

A top

100

job creator in the country

Representing approximately 5% of the UK repair market, Steer employs over 2,300 people and repairs more than 115,000 vehicles a year.

Steer Website Photo 2

In 2023, Steer Automotive Group was ranked 36th in The Sunday Times’s list of 100 fastest-growing businesses in the UK, separately being recognised by The Independent as one of the top 100 job creators in the country and was awarded ‘ESG Excellence Accreditation’ for its sustainability strategy.

 

Steer is a key partner for the UK’s leading vehicle insurers, accident management companies and OEM dealerships, holding 43 manufacturer accreditations, including recommendation and approval for major brands such as Porsche, Rolls Royce, Bentley, McLaren, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, JLR, Tesla, Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen Group, Stellantis and Ford.

Founder, Richard Steer, and the current management team will continue to lead the business and are reinvesting alongside Oakley. As part of the transaction, Oakley will acquire the shares held by Keyhaven Capital Partners and Chiltern Capital.

Chiltern Capital and Keyhaven Capital originally invested in the business in 2021. During their three-year investment period, Steer moved from a top 20 regional B2B collision repair business to a UK-leading position. Steer has invested significantly in its operational infrastructure and management team which has vastly improved its operational efficiency, while also introducing data & analytics tools to enhance KPI monitoring as well as rolling out a programme of ESG initiatives. The Company also launched the Steer Academy to diversify recruitment channels and to train and upskill the next generation of vehicle technicians.

 

Oakley’s Investment

Partnering with Oakley will facilitate Steer Group’s next stage of growth within the fragmented collision repair market, further strengthening its investment in its facilities, development and training through the Steer Academy programme, and EV repair capability to meet the demands of newer, more technologically advanced vehicles.

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Hg closes sale of MeinAuto Group divisions to the Renault Group

HG Capital
  • Hg confirms sale of ‘MeinAuto’ and ‘Mobility Concept’ divisions to Mobilize Lease & Co, a subsidiary of Mobilize Financial Services, part of the Renault Group. 

  • Following the sale Hg remains invested in Athletic Sport Sponsoring, a leading flat-rate car subscription provider in Germany. 

  • Chaichana Sinthuaree named as CEO for Athletic Sport Sponsoring, having joined at the start of 2024, to lead the new standalone business. 

Cologne, Germany. 2 January 2024. Hg, a leading investor in European and transatlantic software and services businesses, today confirms it has closed the sale of the ‘MeinAuto’ and ‘Mobility Concept’ divisions of MeinAuto Group, to Mobilize Lease & Co, a subsidiary of Mobilize Financial Services, which is part of the Renault Group.

MeinAuto Group was formed as a leading online retailer for new cars in Germany, transforming traditional vehicle retailing from an offline service to an integrated digital delivery model. The business was established in 2018 following Hg’s initial investment in MeinAuto.de, a leading B2C online platform for car purchases.

Following the sale of the Mobility Concept and MeinAuto.de businesses, which represent €1 billion in fleet assets, a fleet of 50,000 vehicles and 250 employees, Hg will remain invested in Athletic Sport Sponsoring, a leading flat-rate car subscription provider in Germany and previous division of MeinAuto Group, which will be built out as a standalone business.

Athletic Sport Sponsoring will be led by new CEO, Chaichana Sinthuaree, who joins the business from Eckes-Granini where he was CMO, prior to which he was CEO of Ogilvy, the global advertising business. Chaichana will lead the team, with support from Hg, to drive value creation levers in branding, sales and technology, further building on the business’ consistent fleet growth, which has almost doubled during Hg’s ownership.

Rudolf Rizzoli, CEO of MeinAuto Group, said: “We would like to thank Hg for the five years together. Without this partnership it would not have been possible to build up MeinAuto as a leading online platform for digital new car sales in Germany. With trust in our entrepreneurship and our understanding of the sector, Hg always supported us to make this exciting development possible.”

Justin Von Simson, Managing Partner at Hg, said: “It has been a great journey and partnership with Rudolf, Marc and the whole MeinAuto team. Together we created a new B2C online auto leasing offering through combining Mobility Concept’s leasing capabilities and MeinAuto.de’s online car sales platform. Mobilize as part of the Renault Group will be a great home to continue this journey in Europe with one of the leading car OEMs. We look forward to working with Chaichana as part of the new Athletic Sport Sponsoring team, as we look to build this division into a thriving business in its own right.”   

The terms of the transaction have not been disclosed. For more information about the sale, please find an announcement by Mobilize Lease&Co earlier this year: https://www.mobilize-fs.com/en/news/mobilize-leaseco-subsidiary-mobilize-financial-services-announces-acquisition-german-company  

For further information please contact: 

Hg
Tom Eckersley
E-Mail: tom.eckersley@hgcapital.com 

About Hg 

Hg supports the building of sector-leading enterprises that supply businesses with critical software applications or workflow services, delivering a more automated workplace for their customers. 

This industry is characterised by digitization trends that are in early stages of adoption and are set to transform the workplace for professionals over decades to come. Hg’s support combines deep end-market knowledge with world class operational resources, together providing compelling support to entrepreneurial leaders looking to scale their business – businesses that are well invested, enduring and serve their customers well. 

With a vast European network and strong presence across North America, Hg’s 400 employees and $65bn in funds under management support a portfolio of more than 50 businesses, worth over $135 billion aggregate enterprise value, with over 100,000 employees, consistently growing revenues at more than 20% annually. Additional information is available at www.hgcapital.com.  

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POLLEN STREET ANNOUNCES £150 MILLION STRUCTURED CREDIT FACILITY WITH ALL-INCLUSIVE ELECTRIC VEHICLE LEASING PROVIDER OCTOPUS ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Pollenstreet

Octopus Electric Vehicles, part of the Octopus Energy Group, has agreed a deal for £150 million of funding from Pollen Street as it continues to offer the best value package for drivers making the switch to an electric car.   

The deal takes Octopus’ total EV funding raised to more than £650 million in just two years. Collectively, these cars will save more than 32,000 tonnes of CO2 per year while on the road  – the equivalent of removing more than 11,500 fossil fuel cars.

The funds will primarily finance Octopus’ flagship EV salary sacrifice offer, which was launched in 2021. Like cycle-to-work but for cars, Octopus’s salary sacrifice helps drivers save 30-40% every month on a brand new electric car. Octopus offers an easy all-in-one service, providing the brand new car, charger and discounted energy tariff.

In the last two years, Octopus has helped more than 3,000 companies launch an electric car employee benefit scheme, with clients including McLaren, Nando’s and Zoopla.

Octopus Electric Vehicles has increased its headcount tenfold since May 2021, creating more than 225 new green jobs across offices in London, Weybridge, Brighton and Manchester. Octopus recently took its expertise to America with the launch of Octopus Electric Vehicles in the US.

Fiona Howarth, CEO of Octopus Electric Vehicles, commented: “Drivers are increasingly seeing the benefits of switching out old gas guzzlers for electric cars. They are great to drive, better for the planet and can save over £1,000 a year in fuel. With demand soaring, we need manufacturers to continue to increase volumes. ”

“With this demand, the UK is ever more attractive for EV charging investment and a destination for new electric car brands. With an amazing heritage in automotive here in the UK, we’re proud to be able to create new jobs in today’s upgraded, greener car market. And as Pollen Street’s commitment shows, leadership from the finance sector can make a real difference.”

Matthew Potter, Partner at Pollen Street Capital, said: “We are excited to partner with Octopus Electric Vehicles to support the expansion of their salary sacrifice scheme. Octopus are an innovative business which has gone from strength to strength and we are delighted to support their next phase of growth.”

Pollen Street is an alternative asset manager with an established platform across private equity and private credit. Pollen Street’s credit strategy is dedicated to senior secured, asset backed investments with a strong track record in providing financing that delivers positive impact, particularly in energy transition. In the last 18 months the firm has completed four transactions that fund the expansion of electric vehicle fleets encouraging the switch to greener transport.

Octopus Electric Vehicles was launched with a simple mission; to make it easy for drivers to switch to clean, electric transport. The business sits within the wider Octopus Energy Group, which is expanding rapidly having received over $1bn in funding over the last two years, giving it a valuation of $5bn.

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Woven Capital, Nvidia back Foretellix’s autonomous vehicle validation tech

83North logo

Foretellix

Startups working on driverless cars fully may no longer attract the kind of nine-figure acquisition or funding offers that were prevalent just a few years ago. But there are still pockets within the broader automated vehicle technology sector that have captured the interest and investment of strategic investors.

“We’re looking for solutions that can integrate into our own tool stack,” Betty Bryant, a principal at Woven Capital, Toyota’s growth fund, told TechCrunch. “So a company that can provide a menu of options or just provide a specific piece of the stack, instead of a full stack company,” which Bryant says is “not really an attractive model or solution for OEMs anymore.”

One such company Woven has strategically invested in is Foretellix, an Israeli startup that gives other companies the tools to verify  autonomous vehicle technology at any level. This capability, says Bryant, is essential for safety validation so that companies can actually commercialize and scale everything from Level 2 advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) to Level 4 autonomous technology.

(According to the Society of Automobile Engineers, Level 2 systems automate two primary functions — maintaining speed and distance on a highway and keeping the vehicle in lane — and still have a human driver in the loop at all times. Level 4 systems mean the vehicle can handle all aspects of driving in certain conditions without human intervention.)

Woven Capital, alongside Nvidia and Artofin VC, participated in the first closing of Foretellix’s $43 million Series C, which was led by 83North.

Ziv Binyamini, CEO at Foretellix, said the company will use the funds to continue to invest in the deep technology needed to verify autonomy while hiring sales teams to help the company expand across more geographies. Foretellix already has around 150 employees spread across Israel, California, Detroit, Germany, Sweden, China and Japan.

“We need to beef it up because demand is growing significantly,” Binyamini told TechCrunch.

At a high level, Foretellix’s offerings can be boiled down to two core technologies: Scenario generation and big data analytics.

Every company building autonomous vehicle technology tests their systems in simulation against various scenarios geared toward finding edge cases. Foretellix’s technology automatically generates “an unlimited number of variations of scenarios” that companies can use, according to Binyamini.

“We also complement that core technology with libraries of what we call content,” he said. “Libraries of scenarios, libraries of KPIs. So if you’re developing ADAS, we have libraries for all the dysfunctions like automatic emergency braking, for example. For each such dysfunction, we also have a library of all the relevant scenarios and associated KPIs or metrics.”

Once a company tests a system, either virtually against generated scenarios or physically on real roads, they then have to analyze the results, which is the second core technology Foretellix offers.

Some of Foretellix’s biggest customers are Daimler Trucks and Volvo Group, both of which are building autonomous trucks. The company also works closely with Nvidia by integrating into its Drive SIM platform, Nvidia’s end-to-end simulation platform. Last September, Nvidia said Drive SIM got a new suite of AI tools to help test and develop self-driving vehicles.

“Nvidia is an infrastructure provider for the whole economy, from the hardware to the software to the simulator to a full software stack,” said Binyamini. “Our solution is complementary to their offering because in the end, to build a full-blown autonomous system, you need to validate it. It’s one of the biggest, probably the biggest remaining challenge, to get autonomy to commercial, scalable deployment.”

In a similar vein, Bryant said Woven by Toyota (formerly Woven Planet) is partnering with Foretellix because the startup’s solution complements Woven’s technology in-house. The mobility technology subsidiary is working on both ADAS and L4 technology, according to Bryant.

“Foretellix has found an interesting niche area in the simulation space,” said Bryant. “Foretellix is not a simulation company, but it’s supporting simulation work. And I find that other players might be trying to work on building robust verification technology, but no one has quite the focus and depth of technology that Foretellix does.”

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Carwash Clean In 60 Meters joins Torqx Capital Partners’ carwash initiative

Torqx Capital

Torqx Capital Partners (“Torqx”) and Oscar Dackus have come to an agreement concerning the acquisition of Clean In 60 Meters by Torqx. Clean In 60 Meters is a premium car wash located in Heerlen and is known for its high quality wash process, exceptional customer experience and enthusiastic team of employees. Clean In 60 Meters is an important stepping stone to further build the leading Benelux network of premium carwashes. Following the acquisition, Torqx will further invest in its facilities by implementing an upgrade plan for which Clean In 60 Meters was recently granted a permit. The upgrade will further increase its capacity and expand washing capabilities, allowing customers to count on an even faster and more comprehensive service.

Oscar, the founder of Clean In 60 Meters, is very pleased with the acquisition by Torqx and sees strong potential for Clean in 60 Meters as a core member of the Carwash Group. “I founded Clean In 60 Meters 13 years ago and I am very proud of what we have achieved with the team. Now that the time has come for me to take a step back, I am happy that I can hand over my business to a group of young, enthusiastic and highly professional people who share with me the same passion for carwash. The acquisition also ensures a bright future for my employees and the company itself, as part of a strong group of premium car washes that has the relevant capabilities as well as the required capital and willingness to invest further in this company and its people.”

Hein Castelijns, Managing Director of the Carwash Group, is looking forward to further developing the carwash together with the current team: “We are very pleased with our expansion towards the southern region of The Netherlands. Oscar has built a wonderful company with a great reputation, characterised by a high-quality washing process, a strong team and premium customer experience. This makes Clean In 60 Meters a very valuable and fitting addition to the rest of the group. Furthermore, I am greatly enthused about the renovation plans that will allow us to improve the customer experience even further and, at the same time make the washing process more sustainable.”

With the acquisition of Clean In 60 Meters, Torqx continues to build on its goal of developing a leading network of premium carwash locations in the Benelux region. David van Hasselt, Partner at Torqx sees the acquisition as an important step: “The acquisition of Clean In 60 Meters enables us to further expand our network of premium carwash locations and brings us closer to achieving network coverage throughout the Benelux region. It also means that we have once again gained the trust of a respected and successful carwash entrepreneur like Oscar, which is a strong confirmation that we are on the right track.”

About Clean In 60 Meters
Carwash Clean In 60 Meters is widely recognised in the carwash industry as a high-quality carwash in Limburg with a strong and recognisable brand. Oscar started the carwash in 2009, due to its high-end machinery and excellent maintenance, Clean In 60 Meters is known for its high-quality washing process. In addition, an energetic and customer-oriented way of working of the employees ensures that Clean In 60 Meters offers every customer an excellent and premium wash experience. For more information, please visit: www.carwashcleanin60meters.nl 

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Opsys Tech tops up latest venture effort with additional $36.5M

83North logo

Israeli developer of automotive lidar eyes production ramp after closing $51.5M series C round.

 

Opsys Tech, one of several startups developing automotive lidar technology out of Israel, says it has raised an additional $36.5 million in its latest venture funding round.

 

The additional cash, which brought total series C funding to $51.5 million, will be used to ramp production of commercial devices built around its solid-state platform.

Last year the company agreed deals with major auto part suppliers including China’s Hasco and SL Corporation in South Korea.

A recent update to the Hasco collaboration is expected to see the Chinese firm manufacture the Opsys lidar units domestically, with mass production slated to start in 2024.

VCSEL array
Taking part in Opsys’ latest round of financing round were the likes of 83North, Osage University Partners, Translink Capital, and Saban Ventures.

“The series C financing will support the ramp of commercial automotive production quantities of Opsys Tech’s lidar sensor solutions,” announced the Israeli startup.

The firm claims to have developed a lidar sensor that is uniquely capable of high performance and reliability coupled with low cost that is able to meet all user requirements and requires no moving parts.

Opsys also claims a detection range of 300 meters at 10 per cent object reflectivity with its sensors, which are based around an array of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) operating at 850-980 nm and single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) detectors.

Gertel, the former CEO of major VCSEL manufacturer Finisar (now part of the giant Coherent photonics company), co-founded the startup and is now its executive chairman.

Commenting on the latest funding round, he said: “We are gratified by the validation of our unique technology and our demonstrated commercialization progress.

“Customer feedback on the best-in-class overall performance of our sensor has been incredible and our customer engagement levels have never been higher.

“Based on customer feedback, we believe we have developed the only lidar sensor available on the market that can meet all customer requirements at all times to enable a complete automotive lidar solution.”

Mass production in Asia
Gertel believes that the solid-state sensor is capable of meeting all automotive reliability requirements and performance specifications required for every level of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomy, adding:

“With the closing of this financing round, we can complete the full production ramp of our True Solid-State Scanning lidar product line, and we are looking forward to supplying our customers with production quantities of our lidar sensors.”

Opsys is also exhibiting at this week’s CES 2023 in Las Vegas – now a key event for automotive lidar companies – and used the occasion to announce the update to its agreement with Hasco.

Company CEO Rafi Harel, who was the general manager of Finisar Israel for several years, said of that deal:

“This major milestone…marks our entrance into the market for mass production quantities of automotive lidar systems in Asia.

“The use of Opsys lidar technology will increase the safety of vehicles on the road while enabling the evolution of autonomous functionality at all levels, including L5.”

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Vow and ETEL team up for recycling of end-of-life tyres

Vow ASA announced December 20 that it has teamed up with European Tyre Enterprise Ltd. (ETEL), to deploy Vow’s advanced technology in a complete solution to convert end-of-life tyres to valuable raw material and renewable energy. ETEL has identified a potential demand for more than 300 tyre recycling plants in Europe, North America and Japan.

Murfitts Industries (Murfitts), which is a subsidiary of ETEL and the largest collector and processor of end-of-life tyres in the UK and ETIA, a subsidiary of Vow, have been working together for several years. The parties have developed a full industrial process, in which end-of-life tyres are valorised into a premium recovered carbon black.

ETEL is an international tyre and automotive service, maintenance, and repair group. It is a subsidiary of Itochu, one of Japan’s largest trading companies.

“Together with Murfitts, ETEL and Itochu, we are forming a unique British-French-Japanese-Norwegian partnership. We see a huge opportunity for Vow technology and our combined competence and capacity in a rapidly emerging market. We have agreed to come together to offer a truly sustainable method for handling end-of-life tyres and at the same time decarbonise the tyre industry,” said Henrik Badin, CEO of Vow ASA.

Every year 30 million tonnes of end-of-life tyres are generated globally. As of today, around 30 percent of the tyre composition is virgin carbon black, an important component in tyre manufacturing. Virgin carbon black is produced by cracking fossil oil, a process which generate a large quantity of CO2. Today, all major tyre manufacturers are looking to replace part of the virgin carbon black with recovered carbon black in tyre production.

Pyrolytic oil and syngas, the two other products that are generated in the tyre recovery process are valorised into low carbon fuel or synthetic naphta to generate new low carbon molecules.

“The tyre industry is facing a significant environmental challenge on a global scale, and a great opportunity driven by circular economy incentives. We aim at deploying our solution firstly in Europe, North America, and Japan. Combined these regions represent a market of 8.6 million tons of end-of-life tyre or more than 300 industrial tyre recycling plants,” said Mark Murfitt of Murfitts.

The partnership between Vow and ETEL is defined and agreed in a memorandum of understanding (MoU). The MoU is a continuation of more than two years of successful cooperation and joint operation of a first plant installed at Murfitts’ Lakenheath facility in the UK facility.

According to the MoU the parties will develop a modularised and scalable industrial solution and value chain to turn end-of-life tyres into recovered carbon black and clean energy. Vow will deliver its Biogreen reactor technology to the projects and to the companies that build, own, and operate the plants. ETEL has already identified the first three locations. Applications for building permits for these three sites are well underway.

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