Pragmatic secures new investment to fund manufacturing expansion in the UK

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Pragmatic Semiconductor, a leading manufacturer of flexible integrated circuits, has completed a first close of its Series D funding round, securing an investment of £162m ($206m).

The company is also planning a limited second close for key investors, of which £20m ($25m) additional investment is already allocated. M&G’s Catalyst and UK Infrastructure Bank co-led the funding round with participation from new investors including Northern Gritstone, Latitude and MVolution Partners, and existing investors such as British Patient Capital, Cambridge Innovation Capital and Prosperity7 Ventures.

Pragmatic said that the investment would help to accelerate its expansion plans in the UK to meet the growing demand for its technology from customers worldwide. This includes building its 3rd and 4th fabrication lines at its Pragmatic Park facility in Durham.

Over the next 5 years Pragmatic anticipates building at least 8 manufacturing lines in the UK, creating over 500 highly skilled jobs in the Northeast and Cambridge.

Each line is capable of producing billions of chips for applications across multiple sectors including consumer, industrial, healthcare and beyond. Of particular interest is providing item level intelligence to trillions of fast-moving consumer goods via smart packaging that will improve reuse and recycling, transforming waste management, and enabling a circular economy. Other use cases include wearables, sensors and flexible controllers.

The majority of the investment secured (over 70%) came from UK investors attracted by the opportunities for Pragmatic’s technology in new applications, as well as the potential of its flexible integrated circuits to replace mainstream silicon chips in a wide range of use cases. In addition, the significantly lower carbon footprint of Pragmatic’s semiconductor manufacturing compared to traditional silicon chip fabrication was cited by investors as a key factor.

Commenting on the funding, David Moore, Pragmatic’s CEO said: “This successful Series D round is a clear testament to the massive opportunity for our innovative technology to enable item-level intelligence in virtually any object on the planet. Our global customers value our ultra-thin and flexible form factor, our breakthrough low cost of customisation and rapid production cycles, as well as the lower environmental footprint compared to silicon. Scaling our manufacturing capacity on the UK's first ever 300mm wafer production lines at our site in Durham will enable us to deliver hundreds  of billions of chips to customers worldwide over the coming decade.”

He continued, “We also see demand from customers for our unique Fab-as-a Service deployment model. This is a modular semiconductor manufacturing approach that provides customers with access to an efficient, localised and secure supply of chips through a dedicated production facility wherever they need it.”

John Flint, CEO of UK Infrastructure Bank, said: “The Bank has an important role to play in unlocking finance to scale up domestic supply chains, like semiconductors, which are critical to the UK’s transition to net zero. Our investment in Pragmatic backs a British business to accelerate development of a first-of-a-kind technology which not only cuts the carbon emissions of semiconductor production, but which will drive growth in the local economy in the Northeast.”

“In a challenging investment environment, this capital raise is a fantastic recognition of the strength of the company and the value of its unique technology,” said Erik Langaker, Pragmatic’s Chairman. “With this funding, Pragmatic will be able to scale its foundry capacity to produce billions of chips to meet the demand from global, blue-chip organisations that are developing innovative new use cases only possible because of Pragmatic’s flexible integrated circuits.”