Light, maker of the computational imaging camera that is shaking up the world (be it ever so slowly) called the Light L16, has just announced they've received $121 million additional financing from Softbank and camera maker Leica.
If you recall, I've been a big fan of the Light L16 since it was announced. I even met with them in their HQ in San Francisco last fall.
The technology is astounding, tho they're still working out bugs and improving their algorithms for taking 10 photos taken simultaneously from 10 different camera modules and merging them into one very large 52mb image.
There are a large number of uses for this technology and Light will be licensing the tech as well as continuing to make their own camera.
Light has also announced that initial investor Foxconn will be releasing a smartphone based on Light tech later this year.
Alternative To Lidar? Startup Light Raises $121M From SoftBank, Leica To Expand To Self-Driving Cars
In February, Dave Grannan, cofounder and CEO of imaging startup Light, flew to Tokyo to meet SoftBank's Masayoshi Son for the first time since beginning conversations with the Japanese billionaire's venture-capital arm. After two more meetings, in Tokyo and Silicon Valley, Son agreed to lead a massive $121 million investment in Light, through his SoftBank Vision Fund. Leica Camera also joined the deal.
A big reason that Light was able to attract so much funding is the promise of robots, drones and, especially, self-driving cars. Light uses complex algorithms to combine images from multiple camera modules into a single, high-quality image with depth. Son, who has made big bets on Uber, Asia's Grab and GM's self-driving unit Cruise, quickly saw Light's application in autonomous vehicles as a potential replacement to Lidar, Grannan said. Light's technology is lighter and cheaper than Lidar, which helps self-driving cars see where they are going, but would need to be adapted to the automotive space
“By our second meeting in Tokyo, he said, ‘Where I believe this has the most value is in autonomous driving,'” Grannan said. “We were like, ‘Oh, wow.' Applying it to automotive hadn't been a thought of ours. Entrepreneurs tend to be focused in their domain space. We do cameras and smartphones, and we were thinking maybe security.”
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(cover photo credit: snap from Forbes)