Samsung-backed Silicon Valley startup Kateeva (formerly TJet Technologies) said it has raised $88 million in a Series E round funded by Chinese investors BOE, Cybernaut Venture, GP Capital Shanghai, Redview Capital, and TCL Capital. They join existing investors Samsung Venture Investment Corp (SVIC), Sigma Partners, Spark Capital, Madrone Capital Partners, DBL Partners, New Science Ventures, and VEECO Instruments.
The company has raised $200 million since it was founded in 2008 and spun out of MIT. New board seats will be filled by an executive from BOE, Redview Capital, and TCL Capital respectively.
Kateeva disrupted the flat panel display industry when it launched a breakthrough equipment solution to mass-produce flexible Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs). Flexible OLED technology gives limitless stretch to new product design innovation by liberating panel manufacturers from the constraints of glass substrates. It enables ultra-thin, feather-light displays that are bendable, roll-able, and even fold-able.
Kateeva’s solution, known as the YIELDjet platform, leverages inkjet printing with novel innovations to perform critical steps in the OLED manufacturing process. YIELDjet tools are helping to accelerate the adoption of OLED technology, a trend that’s taking the global display industry to new heights.
The market for plastic and flexible OLED displays is expected to reach $2.1 billion in 2016, says IDTechEx. By 2020, it will surpass $18 billion.
Kateeva chairman and CEO Alain Harrus, PhD noted how OLED technology first transformed the viewing experience by giving spectacular color quality and brightness to rigid displays on mobile phones. “Now, it’s giving extraordinary new shape, lightness and thinness to those products and others that have yet to be invented,” he said. “Kateeva started enabling this ‘freedom from glass’ display innovation in 2008 when our founders began pioneering a superior mass-production equipment solution for OLEDs. Today, Kateeva tools are positioned in top OLED manufacturing fabs. Our investors were stalwart partners along the way. We’re grateful for their support, and we welcome our new investors.”
Flexible OLED is the first major application for Kateeva’s YIELDjet platform, according to president and co-founder Conor Madigan, PhD. “Next up is OLED TV,” he said. “Having mastered the technical challenges of mass-producing Thin Film Encapsulation (TFE) – the layer that gives thinness and flexibility to the OLED device, we’re now applying YIELDjet technology to help display manufacturers mass-produce the OLED RGB layer, which enables OLED TVs. The new funds will accelerate new product development, and support ongoing R&D.”
Kateeva makes breakthrough production equipment for manufacturers of advanced electronics technologies. The company has pioneered a precision deposition technology platform that uses innovative inkjet printing to deposit coatings on complex applications with blinding speed and superb accuracy. Technology leaders use Kateeva’s solution to enable cost-effective mass production of flexible and large-size OLED displays, among other cutting-edge products. The company is headquartered in Newark, California, and has field offices in Korea.