Groningen-based high-tech company QDI Systems will receive more than €5 million to further scale up its pioneering quantum dot technology for both the medical sector and new markets. The funding round was led by NOM, alongside earlier investors Carduso Capital, RUG Ventures and the renowned Northern European venture capital fund Maki.vc. In addition to the private investment, the startup will also receive an innovation loan from the Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RVO), thanks in part to the support of Enablemi, their partner in subsidy and innovation advice.
QDI Systems was founded in 2019 by CEO Artem Shulga. The company developed a sensor technology based on state-of-the-art nanomaterial: quantum dots. This material super-efficiently converts photons into electronic signals and has been widely used in imaging and sensor technology for a few years now.
The startup is the first company in the world to apply quantum dots to X-ray devices. When quantum dots are used for X-ray examinations, they can deliver higher image quality at much lower radiation doses. The technology could therefore have a huge impact on procedures such as mammography screening and diagnostics.
Deep technical knowledge with commercial vision
In the Series A funding round, QDI Systems raised a total of €3 million from investors such as the NOM, Carduso Capital, RUG Ventures and the Finnish deep tech fund Maki.vc.
"QDI Systems shows tremendous potential to revolutionize medical imaging through the innovative use of quantum dot technology. The team has a unique scientific background, deep technical knowledge and extensive commercial experience, providing a strong foundation for success," said Ytsen van der Meer, Investment Manager at NOM.
"QDI Systems' pioneering application of quantum dot technology is setting new standards in medical imaging. We are excited to continue to support Artem Shulga and his team in becoming the leading company in the industry," said Paavo Räisänen, Partner at Maki.vc.
Innovation credit as an engine for ambitions and funding
From the Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RVO), the startup received an innovation credit of €1.97 million. This is a special credit intended for the development of innovative projects with substantial technical risks and excellent market prospects.
This scheme is highly competitive and is awarded on average once a year to a company in the Northern Netherlands. In addition, the granting of this credit was a condition for €3 million in private investment.
In addition to applications in X-rays, QDI Systems is also developing technology using short-wave infrared (SWIR). The use of SWIR opens up significant new potential markets for the company, including industrial applications such as image sensors for sorting applications and consumer applications such as facial recognition for cell phones.
"We are working with image sensor and semiconductor companies, which typically focus on image sensors beyond X-rays. With the short-wave infrared market poised for significant growth due to adoption in the consumer market, this application opens up an important market opportunity for us," Shulga said.
Recently, QDI Systems together with the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM) also developed the first quantum dot-based CMOS image sensor for X-ray. A groundbreaking innovation with potential in numerous applications for healthcare, machine vision and more. "Our collaboration with QDI Systems has been excellent," said Nadim Maamari, Group Leader Edge, AI and Vision Systems at CSEM. "This innovation offers a lot of potential and really excites our joint customers."
As of July 2023, QDI Systems has a new laboratory, paving the way for a significant increase in production and commercial scale-up. The company will use the funding to further scale up quantum dot technology for the medical sector and new markets.
"With the support of this investment, we have plans to double our team in the coming years, both commercially and in terms of production and R&D. We are working to become the leading technology provider for various applications of X-ray. We look forward to working on existing and new applications of our quantum dot technology around the world," Shulga said.
About QDI Systems
QDI Systems is a pioneering deep-tech company developing imaging devices for medical applications using advanced nanomaterial quantum dots. The company was founded in 2019 as a spin-off from the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials at the University of Groningen by physicist Dr. Artem Shulga. The QDI Systems team consists of seven experts, most of whom have doctorates in chemistry or nanoscience.