I’ve been reflecting recently on 2020 and the incredible progress we have achieved at VueReal in a very short amount of time. Despite the challenges associated with the economic environment and keeping our team safe, which is and will continue to be our first priority, we have accelerated our development progress and achieved significant technical milestones through a strong focus on development execution, leveraging non-dilutive resources and an overall commitment to excellence in everything we do.
I’m proud of what we’ve achieved over our short history with minimal capex and opex investment (less than 10 times that of our closest competitors) and wanted to share some of these amazing results with our closest business partners.
From the beginning, VueReal has been focused on resolving the key technical challenges facing mass adoption and manufacturability of MicroLED displays. We realized early that time spent on developing one-time demonstration units was not time well spent for a start-up with limited resources and thus we have been quietly executing on solving the technical limitations around yield, throughput, cost and performance.
Our development motto at VueReal has been “fail fast and fail cheap”. In early days, it helped us to narrow our focus on a solution that is scalable to high volume production and can meet the requirements of all applications but eliminate other solutions (laser, fluidic, and pick and place). And now, it is helping us to overcome technical challenges one by one quickly and in a cost effective manner.
VueReal’s continued focus on lean and fast track development has allowed us to build a broad portfolio of Intellectual Property with over 135 patents/applications that covers the entire gamut of issues facing manufacturability of MicroLED and solves the limitations discussed above. All this with a fraction of the capital raised to date of $15M USD, compared to our closest competitors who have each raised significantly more funding than VueReal (>10x) and have been working on MicroLED technologies significantly longer. Despite that, our competitors continue to struggle with poor yield, throughput, and production scalability to 10s of millions of units per year.
Our strategy is now paying off. With the key technical hurdles resolved and our core mass transfer platform developed, VueReal is able to produce display demonstration units entirely in-house at a fraction of the TIME and COST. Our high PPI MicroDisplay shown at last year’s SID tradeshow garnered high praise from industry analysts as the “highest quality at the show” and took us only one month to fabricate due to our high accuracy alignment technology. This summer we prepared a new display architecture that allows full colour display with sub 10um LED and no need for bonding, which was again produced entirely in-house, from backplane to post-processing. We are currently evaluating printing units that will take about six minutes to produce a 40mmx30mm display with industry leading yield, only made possible due to VueReal’s fully inspected cartridge solutions. This is a game-changer.
We used the same strategy on establishing our own facility. As we were expanding our technology development, it was obvious that limited access to a shared facility was not going to be enough. As a result, we investigated the feasibility of building our own advanced nano centers which successfully opened in September 2019. From design to operation, we accounted for two main factors: controlling expenses in the development phase and expanding operational capability during the production phase. It is well known that a poorly planned cleanroom could bury your company in unexpected expenditures. Our unique approach to the facility actually helped us to keep our cost in the same range as what we paid to the shared facility but with a significantly shorter development cycle and increased flexibility. Although it’s main purpose is research and development it has the capability to scale to low volume production to satisfy our early market needs. More importantly, the facility assured our survival during the six month COVID-19 lockdown when all other labs were unavailable.
Leveraged non-dilutive resources
Many have questioned whether it’s possible to build a top display technology development company in Canada. We believe it’s one of the best places to be founded! VueReal has taken full advantage of access to top notch engineering talent from the University of Waterloo, leveraged early development using many local advanced laboratories and equipment, and carried out advance R&D through collaborative research with different academic teams, but most importantly the funding support from the Canadian government for technology development has been second to none. We certainly would not be where we are today without the support of these government resources including Cleantech investment from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) and the Industrial Research Program (IRAP).
Commitment to excellence
We are excited about what the next few months hold for VueReal now that our development cycle has decreased exponentially, technical hurdles are resolved and our pilot facility is fully operational. We have gained significant customer and partner traction over the last few months as the industry is quickly realizing VueReal has solved the current limitations that other MicroLED companies have been struggling with. We remain committed to excellence in our development and production processes, constantly challenging our team to do extraordinary things - and they always come through!
VueReal MicroPixel & New Display architecture (40% reduction in OpEx/ CapEx)
We plan to release over the coming weeks technology spotlights highlighting how VueReal compares against our competitors in the areas of Compatibility, Performance, Throughput and Yield. These will be deep dives explaining how VueReal’s technology is the only solution for mass adoption of MicroLED across all applications. Specifically we will highlight how VueReal’s MicroSolid Printing solution compares against current pick and place technologies (electrostatic, electromagnetic, adhesive & elastomer), laser transfer as well as fluid based transfer. If you’re interested in these technology spotlights please reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will also be releasing several technical marketing videos showcasing our solutions in an easy to understand format.
Given our technology and customer growth, there is not a better time than now to kick off VueReal’s next round of funding to accelerate our development and marketing. For further information please reach out to Dave Miller.