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Bristol-based chip designer Zero Point Motion raises £2.58m

Zero Point Motion Founder

Zero Point Motion, a startup designing semiconductor technology for precise motion tracking and navigation, has raised £2.58m in a seed round led by Foresight Williams.

The early-stage startup will use the additional capital to develop its motion-sensing chip tech that will initially target the drone and robotics market.

Zero Point Motion will also allocate funds towards a new lab in Bristol and recruitment to speed up R&D of its photonic inertial sensor chips.

Additional investment came from Verve Ventures and u-blox.

Bristol-based Zero Point Motion is a fabless silicon chip company, which means it designs but does not manufacture semiconductors.

It uses optical sensing techniques from cavity optomechanics, allowing its chips to be more sensitive and reducing positioning error.

The technology is suited for technologies such as drones, as it can provide longer tracking without GPS and improved stability in mobile devices.

“With proven capability to detect motion smaller than the size of a single electron, cavity optomechanical sensing has already had extraordinary benefits for fundamental physics research,” said Zero Point Motion CEO and founder Dr Ying Lia Li.

Ying founded Zero Point Motion in 2020. It is yet to commercialise its technology but aims to sell its products to module manufactures, who will then integrate Zero Point Motion’s sensors into positioning and navigation modules.

“Now, we are harnessing this power to improve the inertial sensing devices we’ve come to rely on, bringing untold new potential to drones, VR/AR, indoor navigation and imaging stabilisation,” Ying added.

Ying has also been named as one of 38 female entrepreneurs to win a £50,000 grant from government-backed Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation award. The award was announced on Tuesday to coincide with International Women’s Day.

“Innovate UK will work alongside these winners to ensure they have the resources and support required to turn their innovative ideas and aspirations into a reality, while encouraging a new generation of women to come forward and pursue their ambitions,” said Emily Nott, head of equality, diversity and inclusion at Innovate UK.

Zero Point Motion previously won a UCLQ Quantum Science and Technology Institute grant and pre-seed investment from u-blox to apply for patents and plan its commercial strategy.

Ying conducted the academic research for her company in London but decided to move back to her hometown of Bristol to establish the company, where it will generate around 10 jobs.