SPI develops and manufactures lasers using optical fibres the width of a human hair, but their beams can be powerful enough to cut through steel. They have a variety of applications in industry from materials processing to the manufacture of artery springs called stents. SPI’s parent company is registered in America but it was founded in 1999 as a spin-out from Professor David Payne’s optical-fibre research group at Southampton University. It raised more than £30m in venture-capital funding to develop optical filters for use in telecoms, but after a severe downturn in the telecoms industry, a new chief executive, David Parker, was installed in 2002. He refocused the company on laser development.
With the first lasers being sold in the latter half of last year, sales have risen 128% a year from £195,000 in 2001 to £1m in 2003, when the company made a substantial loss.
This profile reflects the company at time of publication and does not reflect any changes that may have subsequently occurred. Fast Track and its sponsors do not endorse, guarantee or recommend investment in any of the companies.