Startups

Money Moves: Baltimore nanotech firm Pixelligent raised a sparkly new $38M

Plus, surgical robotics company Galen Robotics closed a Series A, and EliteGamingLIVE is fundraising.

Inside Pixelligent's manufacturing facility.

(Courtesy photo)

Money Moves is a column where we chart the funding raises of tech companies across the region. Have a tip? Email us at .


Pixelligent raised $38 million

Pixelligent, a nanotechnology firm that produces materials used in augmented reality displays and sensors, recently raised $38 million in IP-backed financing from a funding vehicle by MVolution Partners LLC. These funds brings the total raised this round of funding to $45 million, with the other $7 million coming from existing investors.

The company is known for the PixClearProcess, which synthesizes materials at the nano-level, as opposed to breaking down larger materials into nano-sized materials. It manufactures all of its materials in Baltimore and has 25 tons of capacity. Current CEO Craig Bandes took control of the company in 2009 as the chief restructuring officer appointed by a bankruptcy judge. In that time, Pixelligent raised $100 million to get to its current place in the market.

Bandes accredited the new funds raised to its PixClearProcess, nearly 90 patents, and “dozens”of trade secrets.

“The funding will help us support our customers as we bring numerous mass-production applications to market in 2023 and beyond,” he said in a statement.

An image of Pixelligent’s nanocrystals using a high-powered microscope. (Courtesy image)

IP-backed financing is a relatively new funding structure that Bandes has seen used only starting within the last 18 months or so, and by larger companies with significant knowhow and intellectual property. The loans process was facilitated by Aon, which had an expert team that valued Pixelligent’s IP portfolio and brought in MVolution Partners as the provider of funds, Bandes told Technical.ly.

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“Innovation is a critical ingredient for the growth economy, but intellectual property is its foundation,” said Lewis Lee, CEO of Aon’s Intellectual Property Solutions, in a statement. “Aon is working with IP-rich companies like Pixelligent to help leverage the value of their intangible assets.”

In September, Holabird Business Park-based Pixelligent also received a $1.9 million grant from the US Department of Energy to support commercialization of its lubricant nanotechnology.

“Thankfully, we raised enough that we don’t need to think about fundraising for the foreseeable future,” Bandes told Technical.ly.

Galen Robotics raised $15 million

Surgical robotics company Galen Robotics recently closed a Series A with an oversubscribed $15 million investment from Ambix Healthcare Partners.

Galen Robotics, headquartered at 1100 Wicomico, announced that the funds have already supported building the final robot prototype and its submission to the FDA. Funds will also be used for building sales, engineering, product development and consumer education (“surgical training programs”).

The company’s surgical robot model has received attention for its technological innovations as well as for its trademarked “digital surgery-as-a-service” business model, in which hospitals pay per use, and commit to using the device a minimum number of times. Galen Robotics claims to be the first surgical robotics company to launch this sort of pay-per-use model.

Prototype of Galen Robotics’ surgical robot. (Courtesy image)

According to President and CEO Brian Lichorowic, this model shifts the focus to medical need over getting one’s money’s worth from purchasing a machine and democratizes access to advanced technology for healthcare providers.

Earlier this year, Galen Robotics made headlines for securing Moderna cofounder Robert Langer on its board of directors. Langer, whom Lichorowic describes as a “legend,” has been involved in founding over 40 biotech companies and holds over 1,300 patents. Langer has praised Galen Robotics’s product, telling The Baltimore Sun: “I thought it was really cool and I think it could help a lot of people. They’re bringing robotic surgery into areas that could make a huge impact.”

Galen Robotics’ research began at John Hopkins University, although the company itself was based in Silicon Valley until 2019 when it was attracted back to Maryland with $9 million worth of incentives. Its HQ is now in Pigtown, a federal “Opportunity Zone” with tax incentives to encourage regional industry. Galen Robotics’ investors have received $2.1 million in rebates through Maryland’s Biotechnology Investment Incentive Tax Credit.

The company has opened a second close for Series A funding, with a goal to raise an additional $5 million.

EliteGamingLIVE is fundraising

According to a recent SEC filing, EliteGamingLIVE is fundraising for $2 million and has already raised $720,000 in the form of debt toward this goal from four investors.

EliteGamingLIVE, incorporated in Delaware in 2020 and headquartered in Baltimore, is an online learning platform that uses gaming and competition to improve K-12 STEM education. The founder, Kerwin Rent, has been working on the concept since at least 2011, according to his LinkedIn profile.

The company has previously raised $2.5 million via a variety of equity and debt packages. A spokesperson for the company did not immediately reply to Technical.ly’s request for comment.

Companies: Pixelligent
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