They are part of CD and DVD players, are used in numerous medical applications and serve as laser pointers for presentations: Lasers have multiple uses today - in communication, science, industry, entertainment electronics and of course also increasingly in young, growing sectors such as biomedicine or photovoltaics. What was considered the latest laser technology a few years ago may already be obsolete and inefficient today. Many lasers consume too much energy and are harmful to the environment. But not the products manufactured by KLASTECH GmbH from Dortmund, which has dedicated itself to the development, production and marketing of ultra modern, environmentally friendly laser technology.
With the use of KLASTECH lasers, it is even possible to entirely replace gas lasers that require more space in spite of their lower output, have a shorter lifespan, are hazardous to the environment and require elaborate disposal.
A patent lawyer advised the inventor and founder of KLASTECH to patent the results of his research in the sector of so-called diode-pumped solid state lasers (used in numerous industries today) and to commercialise his invention with the help of a start-up company. In order to launch and realise the development of various laser types and the market introduction of the products, the founders sought contact with venture capital investors.
Capital for more technicians and engineers
Initial contact with the venture capital firm Triangle was established when KLASTECH participated in the Science4Life business plan contest directly after it was established. Triangle became aware of the innovation and market potential of KLASTECH, mainly through its investments in the field of non-invasive LASIK technologies and the experience in the photonic industry gained by the investment managers. Triangle invested EUR 2 million in December after a detailed analysis of the company in September 2006. Among other things, the funds were to be used to hire development and production staff in order to bring high-quality products to market more quickly.
Why did Triangle choose to invest in the Dortmund company? KLASTECH has a unique selling proposition compared to other laser manufacturers. Similar to conventional lasers, KLASTECH also uses a diode to stimulate a crystal and generate light. The advantage is that no polluting gases have to be used. Compared to conventional lasers, KLASTECH lasers are much more efficient and stable when the laser frequency changes, which improves reliability. A modified laser structure also significantly reduces the cost of production and materials.
After Triangle, the state of Nordrhein-Westfalen also started supporting KLASTECH technology
After the investment by Triangle, the state of Nordrhein-Westfalen approved a subsidy in December 2006 for the development of the UV laser in cooperation with the Gelsenkirchen University of Applied Sciences. Five lasers of various capacities have already been developed since then. The German company Bruker Optik, which uses the lasers in the field of metrology, was the company’s first customer in autumn 2007. KLASTECH now has customers around the globe and works with 10 distributors all over the world.
In addition to developing the lasers to the point of series-production readiness, production facilities with sufficient capacity for up to 800 lasers have also been set up over the last few years. After the initial market success, Triangle employed an experienced sales specialist and managing director in the laser industry in 2008 in order to drive the commercial development of the company and realise its market potential. New sales partnerships have been established in Europe, Asia and the USA since then, and the structures and processes within the company have been professionalized in order to position KLASTECH as a technology leader around the world.