SA sensor startup LightWare LiDAR raises $1.5m funding round


South African company LightWare LiDAR, which supplies microLiDAR sensor technology to leading global companies, has raised a ZAR25 million (US$1.5 million) funding round to accelerate its growth.

Founded in 2012, LightWare “gives eyes to machines”, designing and manufacturing the world’s smallest and lightest precision LiDAR systems for use in drones, robots, autonomous vehicles, smart cities and other applications.

The company delivers leading-edge LiDAR technology to global clients including the largest internet, logistics and drone companies in the world. LiDAR is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure distance to objects. 

With its international reputation already established, LightWare is now targeting further growth after securing the US$1.5 million in funding, which comes from Sanari Capital, a private equity investment firm focused on high growth and international opportunities, backed by leading institutional investor 27four.

James Portman, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of LightWare, said every company with aspirations reaches a point where it’s time to seek investment.

“This time has come for LightWare. We’re pleased that Sanari Capital has come on board as partners in our ever-growing venture. LightWare is poised for massive international expansion, and our partnership with Sanari will fuel this aggressive growth, enabling us to rapidly bring a series of innovative products to a global audience,” he said.

Samantha Pokroy, CEO at Sanari Capital, said LightWare had already achieved international success in a niche and growing market, and attracted large multinational companies as customers. 

“Now with industrious marketing and the ability to supply customers with on-the-ground presence in international markets, we expect the company’s growth to accelerate dramatically,” she said.


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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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