SoftBank’s Vision Fund Leads $121m Funding in Camera Firm Light

Photo from Light's Facebook page.

Advanced computational imaging firm Light has secured $121 million in Series D funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund and backed by consumer camera giant Leica Cambera AG.

The latest funding round brings Light’s total amount raised from investors to date to $186 million. The SoftBank Vision Fund investment will be made in tranches, subject to certain conditions.

Light’s groundbreaking imaging platform enables machines to see like humans do, using sophisticated algorithms to combine images from multiple camera modules into a single high-quality image and enabling highly-accurate 3D depth extraction.

The company said the new funding will allow it expand the reach of its imaging platform beyond consumer photography and into security, robotic, automotive, aerial and industrial imaging applications.

Later this year, the first mobile phone incorporating Light’s technology will be available to consumers around the world. It will shatter the expectations of mobile photography.

“Light’s technology is a revelation, showing that several small, basic camera modules, combined with highly powerful software, can produce images that rival those produced by cameras costing and weighing orders of magnitude more,” said Dave Grannan, Light CEO and Co-founder.

Grannan added that the support of SoftBank Vision Fund as a strategic investor means “this technology will see more of the world sooner than we could have ever imagined”.

Light’s foundational technologies, including its Lux Capacitor camera control chip and its Polar Fusion Engine for multi-image processing, are licensed for use in applications like smartphones, security, automotive, robotics, drones, and more.

“Light’s highly accurate depth mapping can be used to create rich and complex environments for a wide-range of applications including augmented reality,” the company said in a statement.

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Akshay Naheta, Partner, SoftBank Investment Advisers, describes Light as a world leader in computational imaging.

“By replacing mechanical complexity with digital sophistication, they have been able to drastically reduce the size, weight, and cost of traditional cameras. This has paved the way for a whole new era of intelligent imaging applications,” Naheta said.