Actlight CEO Considers Selling the Company

Image Sensors World        Go to the original article... publishes an interview with Serguei Okhonin, Actlight CEO and co-founder. Few quotes:

Q: So how does an IP company such as ActLight actually work?

A: We started with an idea and developed it up to the point where we could file patents. The goal, of course, is to license the technology to big semiconductor companies that integrate it into their offering, which they can eventually sell to the big consumer brands we all know. What we do is research and refine our technology to the point that we can provide potential customers with prototypes that should, ideally, convince them of the merits of our sensor. When we achieve this, our job is done. We then basically just provide support.

Q: Let me guess: Convincing big semiconductor companies isn’t that easy.

A: Our potential customers are global market leaders, they have tens of thousands of employees and decades of experience in their field. Now imagine that a small startup from Lausanne comes up to them and says: Look guys, our detector performs better than what you have developed. The first thing they tell you is: That’s impossible. It takes many meetings and a lot of time to convince them otherwise. And then, they do a very thorough due diligence. They will spend more than a year to ascertain the merits of new technology, it is a long process. But once they have done that, and decide to move forward, these companies move very quickly. They have the manpower, the infrastructure, the sales organization, the relationships with their customers… they can bring a product to the mass market at a speed that no startup can match.

Q: Where do you stand in the process you just described?

A: For an IP company like ActLight, the most important achievement is what I call the industrial proof of technology, which means, that a mass-market product incorporates the technology we have developed. We have achieved this milestone now. We licensed our technology to a semiconductor company, the number 1 worldwide, which is building a heart-rate monitor for hearable devices. Thanks to our invention, power consumption is drastically reduced and a high level of miniaturization is achieved. Working samples are already at end customers and, in 2022, mass production starts.

Q: With a use case that will hit the market soon and others that sound promising, ActLight must have appeared on the radar of tech companies by now.

A: After 10 years, we need to think about the future of the company, and there are basically two options. Do we want to grow and pursue more projects, or do we want to sell the company? Recently, we have started to get approached by potential buyers. Of course, such approaches out of the blue need to be examined very well, but it doesn’t surprise me that this happens now.

Q: Because of the traction or what you called industrial proof of technology?

A: Not only that, the M&A activity in the semiconductor industry is incredibly intense at the moment. The sector is red hot. Hardware stocks have reached new highs, and the shortage of semiconductors is talked about a lot. There is an urgency to invest that I haven’t seen in the past 3 decades, it’s insane.

TheBusinessTime publishes an article about Actlight in-ear vital signs monitoring solution.

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