Industry News

BASF Invests EUR1 Million in Smartkem, an Ink Supplier to Strengthen its Position in Market

Published on 2014-08-14. Author : SpecialChem

LUDWIGSHAFEN, Germany -- BASF Venture Capital has invested €1 million in the technology company SmartKem, based in St. Asaph, Wales. The total investment of the financing round was €3 million. Further investors with equal terms were Octopus Investments and Entrepreneurs Fund.

SmartKem is one of the leaders in research and development of high performance organic semiconductor inks. These inks are used in printed thin film transistors (TFTs), which drive unbreakable and fully flexible electronics, for example leading-edge flexible OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) displays.

“The future belongs to flexible displays. First flexible smartphones are already in the market. Customers will benefit from a lot of useful lightweight, fully flexible and rollable electronics products based on organic TFTs. Our investment in SmartKem and our extensive Joint Development Program will take us a great step forward in bringing this future-oriented technology faster to the market,” said Dirk Nachtigal, Managing Director, BASF Venture Capital.

Steve Kelly, CEO of SmartKem, added: “Groundbreaking advances in material technology will drive the future of printed and flexible electronics. We are happy to join forces in research and development with BASF to progress smart chemistry for the new generation of flexible displays and circuits, which will address future market needs.”

Thin film transistors are part of the driver electronics in today’s displays. They have the function to switch pixels on and off. Established display technologies based on inorganic TFT materials (e.g. silicon or metal oxide systems) are processed on glass at high temperatures. When it comes to true flexibility, conventional TFT systems reach their boundaries. Organic thin film transistors are inherently much more flexible and can be processed on plastic films, since they are printable at low temperatures. Furthermore, printing TFTs has the potential to make the whole production process much more efficient, including possible cost reductions.

About SmartKem

SmartKem is one of the leading suppliers of high performance organic semiconductor inks for the manufacture of printed TFTs. SmartKem’s inks can be processed on flexible and lightweight plastic substrates to enable rugged and truly flexible electronics. The drawback of commercial TFTs is the need for high annealing temperatures during the production process to reach full performance. This works on glass but not effectively on plastic. SmartKem’s core offering responds to the demand for unbreakable and flexible electronics that can be produced efficiently. SmartKem has an unrivalled pipeline of new inks that are under evaluation by various industry-known partners. The business model is focused on delivering expertise in molecular design, synthesis, application engineering and technology transfer to customers.

About BASF Venture Capital

BASF Venture Capital GmbH was established in 2001 as a wholly owned subsidiary of BASF New Business GmbH, Ludwigshafen, Germany, with the aim of exploring new growth potentials based on investment in startup companies and funds.

About BASF

BASF is one of the world’s leading chemical companies. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas. It combines economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. Through science and innovation, it enables its customers in nearly every industry to meet the current and future needs of society. Its products and solutions contribute to conserving resources, ensuring nutrition and improving quality of life. It has summed up this contribution in our corporate purpose: It creates chemistry for a sustainable future. BASF had sales of about €74 billion in 2013 and over 112,000 employees as of the end of the year. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (AN).

Source: BASF

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