Scottish startup pureLiFi raises $18 million to bring its new wireless technology to mobile devices


pureLifi, a light communication company founded as a spin-out of the University of Edinburgh, has raised an $18 million Series B to provide LiFi technology to mass-market manufacturers  — and to eventually overtake current wireless communications systems. Investors include Temasek, an investment company from Singapore, and the Scottish Investment Bank. 

What is LiFi? It’s a technology, invented by pureLiFi itself, that uses light to power wireless communications, rather than radio frequencies, which are used for Wi-Fi and cellular networks. The company claims its LiFi alternative is fast, highly secure, and more reliable than the traditional systems. The market for LiFi technology is estimated to reach $75 billion in the next five years. In the meantime, the technology is being globally standardised under 802.11 (a set of wireless LAN standards and protocols), expected to be fully ratified by 2021.

The Scottish startup is leading the way. Early this year, it announced a change of focus from developing systems to manufacturing actual LiFi components that can be installed in devices. At Mobile World Congress in February, the company demonstrated how its new Gigabit LiFi integrates into a laptop; tablets and cell phones are possible as well. Since then, new collaborations with manufacturers (Getac), telecommunications companies (O2 Telefonica), and lighting companies (Zumtobel and Wipro) have kept the momentum going.

“Device manufacturers are looking for new ways to provide devices with faster, more reliable and secure connectivity. LiFi is the natural next step in the evolution of global wireless communications and pureLiFi is leading the way to provide this technology to the market,” explains pureLiFi CEO Alistair Banham. “Our investors believe in our team and our strategy to provide LiFi for every light and every device, and we have the products to support mobile device integration of LiFi.”

Co-found and CSO Professor Harald Haas is over the moon about the traction of LiFi technology, which he helped invent, and the new funding that will fuel its market takeover: “After more than a decade of persistent and systematic development of key technologies for wireless communications using light and the demonstration of the almost unlimited capabilities of LiFi for secure gigabit wireless connectivity for many use cases such as machine-to-machine communication, we are now at the precipice of a watershed moment for LiFi. I am absolutely delighted that we are now empowered to get the LiFi mass-market avalanche in motion!”

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