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Company Case Studies

Vector Photonics

Semiconductor laser technology
Semiconductor laser technology

Richard Taylor
CTO and Co-founder,
QTEC Cohort 4 - 2020-2021


Vector Photonics has proven its revolutionary and proprietary PCSEL technology in both an R&D laboratory environment and in commercial fabs. The company is now transferring key design and process knowledge into an industrial environment for high-volume manufacture. Vector Photonics operates a ‘Fabless’ production model, outsourcing fabrication to semiconductor foundry partners. This is a high-volume, fully scalable approach enabling rapid expansion by utilising existing photonics equipment and capacity.

The Company has unrivalled technical capability and commercial experience. Vector Photonics is a spin-out company from the University of Glasgow and is based in Glasgow, one of the world’s Optical and Photonics centres of excellence.

Why I invested in
Vector Photonics


"We really liked what we saw in Vector’s technology, IP, the potential market(s) and the team, so the investment case came together very well. Richard’s ability to transition from the lab to managing multiple commercial technical programmes and engage with major industry players was key. Tapping into QTEC’s understanding of how well he had handled the founding of the company was enormously helpful. "

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"At QTEC, I developed the tenacity to make things happen and to convince other people to come on the journey with me.”

The Founder's Journey

Richard's IET award-winning PhD on photonic crystal lasers at Sheffield University resulted in his first patent. A one-year post-doc at Sheffield led to a second patent and a move to the University of Japan, Tokyo. At the end of the two- year contract, Richard moved to Glasgow to work on on lasers for quantum clocks. By co-incidence, his PhD supervisor had also moved to Glasgow but in another department.

Whilst their patents transferred to Glasgow University for commercialisation, Richard was funded by ICURe and he spoke to nearly 100 companies in three months. “That’s when things really changed. Having spent my life in a lab, I hadn’t realised all the potential applications.” He started thinking about commercialisation. Post Doc to Innovators paid for Richard to attend Herman Hauser’s IECT one-week intensive business training where he met Jane Garrett (QTEC). He joined the QTEC programme as part-time in 2019 and as a full Fellow in 2020. At the same time, Neil Martin, a highly experienced Semiconductor CEO, came on board.

In March 2020, Richard and Neil flew to Bristol for a series of scheduled investor meetings. “COVID lockdown started the day after our first meeting. We flew back to Glasgow and began working from home.” The team focused on the business plan and on grant applications. “We won a £280k IUK grant, with the directors providing the match funding. Towards the end of 2020 events really accelerated.” The company recruited its first employee and further grant applications were successful. “We won £2.8m in grants and £1.65m from investors. We could have raised more from investors, but we decided that was enough.” The company moved to a new office with labs, has 9 full-time and 5 part-time staff and some big-name customers wanting to see the company’s first prototypes.

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