Temasek 'sees the light' in tech sector

(From left) Tech company pureLiFi's co-founder and chief technology officer Mostafa Afgani, co-founder and chief scientific officer Harald Haas, director of business strategy Nikola Serafimovski and chief operating officer Harald Burchardt.
(From left) Tech company pureLiFi's co-founder and chief technology officer Mostafa Afgani, co-founder and chief scientific officer Harald Haas, director of business strategy Nikola Serafimovski and chief operating officer Harald Burchardt. PHOTO: PURELIFI

It invests in Edinburgh company that uses light to deliver high-speed wireless Internet

Singapore investment company Temasek Holdings has invested in a firm that uses light to deliver high-speed wireless Internet.

Called pureLiFi, the company's technology uses the visible light spectrum instead of radio frequencies to deliver high-speed wireless data communication and Internet access, with the potential to be significantly faster than the current Wi-Fi technology.

Temasek led a Series B financing round in the company.

While both firms declined to reveal the size of the investment, pureLifi has raised more than US$10 million (S$13.5 million) to date, and chief operating officer Harald Burchardt said the latest funding round made up a "substantial portion" of this.

pureLiFi was formed in 2012 as a spin-off of the University of Edinburgh.

Li-Fi transmits data using LED lights, which flicker on and off within nanoseconds, imperceptible to the human eye.

The technology could potentially reach speeds of 1 Gbps in real-world use, which is 100 times faster than average Wi-Fi speeds.

Ultra-fast fibre optic cable does much the same thing in a different way - delivering an Internet connection using light travelling along a cable.

The company's latest round of funding will support the development and commercialisation of its proprietary Li-Fi technology that uses modulated LED light to provide wireless communications.

Since its last fundraising round in December 2014, the company has developed its LiFi-X product, the world's first mobile Li-Fi dongle, which represents a key step towards mass-market adoption.

pureLiFi said it has worked with companies such as Cisco and Lucibel to provide Li-Fi networks that offer greater security, safety and data densities than standard Wi-Fi.

"I am extremely proud that pureLiFi and our team have managed to deliver the technological and strategic basis for Li-Fi, and am truly excited about the strong partnership with Temasek and other strategic partners in our journey forward," said Mr Burchardt.

Temasek has been ramping up its investments in the rapidly growing technology sector.

Telecommunications, media and technology made up the bulk of its portfolio in the financial year to March 31, overtaking the financial services sector for the first time in a decade.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 16, 2016, with the headline 'Temasek 'sees the light' in tech sector'. Print Edition | Subscribe