SoftBank and Leica invest $121 million in Light, smartphone coming by year’s end

Light has been ahead of the curve – it introduced a camera with 16 lenses back in 2015, before LG kicked off the multi-camera craze in the smartphone world with the G5 in 2016 (and most phones are still at 2). Now the company has scored a sizable $121 million Series D round lead by SoftBank’s Vision Fund (but Leica also participated).

A smartphone with Light’s technology is set to launch by the end of the year. It won’t go up to 16, but the smartphone tech supports up to a still-insane 9 cameras.

Concept of a Light-powered phone camera Automotive applications are also on the cards Automotive applications are also on the cards
Concept of a Light-powered phone camera • Automotive applications are also on the cards

With so many lenses aimed at the subject, Light can create an accurate 3D model of the world. So much so that its ambitions go beyond phones, the company wants to replace LIDAR tech in self-driving cars with its own camera-based system. And it will go beyond even that, the company wants to expand to robotics, aviation, drones, industrial processes and other fields.

“The Leica brand is founded on a long tradition of technology leadership, precision engineering, and craftsmanship. Since the birth of its first digital camera in 1996, Leica has embarked on a path of digital photography technology evolution. With the rapid development of the computational photography, partnering with the innovators at Light ensures Leica to extend its tradition of excellence into the computational photography era,” said Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, Leica Chairman of the Supervisory Board.