Lenovo invests in trackpad startup Sensel

Sensel’s journey has been an interesting one to watch from afar. The firm crossed our radar several years back, courtesy of its Morph device, a colorful and clever piece of hardware that uses different silicone skins to transform a trackpad into various input devices. Ultimately, however, the startup learned the same lesson as countless before it: Consumer hardware is wildly difficult.

Ultimately, the company pivoted to selling its underlying technology to OEMs. Turns out the Morph was quite a good proof of concept for its underlying multitouch, haptic trackpad. It also turns out that a number of laptop manufacturers have been more than happy to license it.

Today Sensel announced an $18.8 million Series B. Led by Global Lighting Technologies Inc., the round follows a $28 million Series A and brings the Bay Area–based company’s funding up to $57 million since its 2013 founding. Notably, Lenovo also got in on the act this round. The company has been one of Sensel’s biggest hardware partners to date.

“Sensel’s goal of shipping high volume yet cost-effective haptic touchpads will be realized with our strategic module partner, GLT,” the company’s chief product and strategy officer Harsha Rao said in a release. “With any cutting-edge technology, rapidly scaling manufacturing is the holy grail. This partnership is critical to Sensel’s next phase, as it brings sophisticated automation, scale, and manufacturability to our innovative solutions.”

The company says the funding will go toward further scaling its tech and R&D for future products.