Cambridge Mechatronics secures over $40m to further develop smartphone imaging technology

Cambridge Mechatronics Limited (CML), a player in the design and control of Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) actuators, announced the completion of a funding round, amassing over $40 million to facilitate the swift expansion of its actuator and controller IC product ranges.

Atlantic Bridge spearheaded the funding round, with Intel Capital and Supernova serving as co-leads, and additional involvement from the Sony Innovation Fund.

Jörgen Lantto, Chairman of Cambridge Mechatronics writes:

"We are delighted to welcome such a prominent group of global investors to CML. Their expertise and experience together with the capital raised will enable us to accelerate our plans for growth. The fact that this funding round was oversubscribed is a testament to the innovation of our talented employees developing world-leading SMA technology, and the wide range of applications where CML’s SMA technology can deliver industry-leading performance.”

The advancement of smartphone technology is largely driven by camera enhancements, propelled by the rising popularity of social media and video-sharing platforms. Cambridge Mechatronics Limited (CML) is at the forefront of creating innovative solutions to enhance smartphone photography, focusing on Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) actuators and controller ICs. These actuators offer a superior force-to-mass ratio, enabling precise movements of camera parts for autofocus (AF) and optical image stabilisation (OIS) within a smaller, lighter framework. Unlike traditional voice coil motors, SMA actuators do not suffer from electromagnetic interference. CML's groundbreaking SMA Variable Aperture allows for continuous aperture adjustment in a significantly smaller package than current industry standards, with its patented Zero Hold Power technology maintaining component positions, such as the aperture, without consuming energy during image capture.

As a leader in SMA actuator design and control, Cambridge Mechatronics's technology is incorporated in over 70 million products worldwide, including top-rated smartphone cameras as evaluated by DXOMARK. With over 700 patents pending and granted, CML's expertise in SMA technology and dedicated semiconductor control is poised for expansion into healthcare, interactive entertainment, and more. The firm's innovations, such as SMA haptics for precise and localised feedback in smartphones and gaming controllers, and the potential for miniaturisation in drug delivery devices, highlight its broad applicability. The recent investment aims to support the growth of CML's skilled teams, accelerating the differentiation of its product offerings.

Osman Kent, Partner at Atlantic Bridge said: “We led this investment as we believe Cambridge Mechatronics has a unique and proven deep technology platform for SMA, which will usher new imaging paradigms for smartphones and beyond. Atlantic Bridge is excited to support Cambridge Mechatronics access new customers and markets and become the leader in camera control technology.”

Arun Chetty, Managing Director at Intel Capital said: “Intel Capital is delighted to support CML during the next chapter of their development. We believe CML’s proven technology has the potential to revolutionise other markets such as precision drug delivery devices and haptics.”

Regis Saleur, CEO and Managing Partner at Supernova Invest said: “Investment in CML marks an exciting milestone for Supernova Invest, as it is our first into a UK technology company. CML’s technology aligns very well with our existing portfolio in Deeptech and Photonics.”

Antonio Avitabile, Managing Director - EMEA at Sony Ventures Corporation said: “SMA actuator technology is transformational for the smartphone camera industry, where Sony is a market leader. CML’s extensive patent portfolio and proven commercial traction, well-position it as a leading innovator in this space. We look forward to supporting CML as they expand their product portfolio of SMA technology in the smartphone industry and beyond.”