Infrared Imaging Startup Stratio Raises $1M from K Cube Ventures

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Stratio Inc. announced on Oct. 15th that it had raised $1 million in funding from K Cube Ventures. Stratio is a technology startup that develops Shortwave Infrared (SWIR) imaging sensors. Headquartered in Menlo Park, California, and an office in Seoul, South Korea, Stratio was founded by a team of Stanford Electrical Engineering PhD graduates, headed by current CEO Jae Hyung Lee.

“Stratio’s robust R&D team gives it a unique competitive edge in a market that has high technological barriers to entry,” remarked Jun Kim, K Cube Partner who led the investment deal.

SWIR sensors are used for various purposes, including night-vision, quality inspection, and medical imaging. Making use of lightwaves similar to natural starlight, SWIR sensors enable seeing through materials such as water vapor and silicon, and capture details on objects that are otherwise invisible under natural light. For instance, it’s possible to detect subsurface bruises on apples, or conduct bloodless glucose monitoring. Usually, these sensors are made of Indium Gallium Arsenide (InGaAs), resulting in rather costly and bulky devices.

The teams at Stratio hope to make the technology available to greater masses. In place of InGaAs, Stratio uses Germanium-based material to build its SWIR sensors, a technology for which it currently holds patents. By using Germanium sensors that operate at lower power but render higher pixel resolutions, Stratio has managed to offer better quality infrared imaging at a mere fraction of typical costs.

Last May, the company received a $150K Small Business Innovative Research grant from the National Science Foundation, as well as $800K from the Korea Tech Incubaor Program for Startups, run by South Korea’s Small and Medium Business Administration.

Coming out of the latest investment round, Stratio hopes to commercialize its low-cost sensor technology beyond industrial use. So far, the company has on display a product called Beyonsense, a mini-array SWIR image sensor built as a mountable case for smartphones.

– Inspired by Platum

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