Investors commit support for UK’s hard-tech expertise
UltraSoC today announces the completion of a £5m ($6.4m) funding round to drive continued deployment of its technology and realize its vision of embedding intelligent analytics capabilities into every chip. Atlante Tech leads a strong line up of new investors including Enso Ventures, Oxford Capital, and successful CEO and serial entrepreneur Guillaume d’Eyssautier, who join existing investors Octopus Ventures and South East Seed Fund (FSE Group).
“Hard tech is back in favor with the UK and global investment community, with recent funding for Ultrahaptics, Graphcore and SiFive (a fellow RISC-V proponent), plus successful exits at Movidius and Mobileye,” said Rupert Baines, UltraSoC CEO. “Our investors are excited by the potential of UltraSoC’s technology and are committed to supporting our aim of putting intelligent analytics into every chip.”
As part of the funding, Miles Kirby of Oxford, Kirill Mudryy of Enso and Alvise Bonivento of Atlante will join the UltraSoC board, alongside existing investor representative Luke Hakes (Octopus), board Chair Chris Gilbert and non-executive director Chris Wade.
UltraSoC’s semiconductor intellectual property (SIP) enables designers to easily and cost-effectively create complex SoCs (systems on chip) with built-in intelligence that continuously monitors and responds to real-world behavior. This allows SoCs to optimize power consumption and performance and deal with security threats or safety breaches.
Successful development of the company’s debug tools and increased awareness of the technology’s potential benefits has meant a series of significant commercial engagements, with more in the pipeline. Amongst others, HiSilicon (Huawei), Imagination Technologies, Movidius (now Intel), and Microsemi all use UltraSoC technology in their designs, delivering proven hardware-embedded benefits to their customers. To ensure these benefits are accessible to customers in all sectors across the globe, UltraSoC partners with leading names in the semiconductor industry including ARM, Baysand, Cadence/Tensilica, CEVA, Codasip, Lauterbach, MIPS and Teledyne LeCroy.
The significant line-up of new and existing investors in this funding round reflects the company’s growing commercial traction and technological progress. Likewise, the company’s potential is being realized as the need for safety, security and performance-tuning becomes critical. Embedded analytics allows the chip to monitor and optimize its own behavior at a hardware level; and provides insights that enable engineers to make improvements and fix problems. The same technology can detect evolving real-world threats and problems – for instance those caused by malicious attacks. These features benefit any electronic system, but are particularly attractive in the automotive and high-performance computing (HPC) sectors.
The investment in UltraSoC also reflects changes taking place in market areas where embedded analytics offers chip makers and their customers a distinct competitive advantage. Dr. Alvise Bonivento of lead investor Atlante Tech commented on this point: “UltraSoC has a great team, technology and substantial commercial traction. The time is right for UltraSoC’s embedded intelligence to make a significant difference to mass market and mission critical applications.”
UltraSoC chairman, Chris Gilbert, commented: “We are delighted to receive the backing of prominent industry figures and distinguished investors like Atlante, Enso and Oxford, as we take UltraSoC to the next level of success. It’s great to welcome these new investors on board, and we are delighted to retain the support of our existing backers Octopus Ventures and the FSE Group’s South East Seed Fund.”
Kirill Mudryy, Partner at Enso Ventures, added: “We at Enso Ventures are always looking to support companies that have innovative and truly disruptive technology. That is why we are delighted to add UltraSoC to our portfolio.”
UltraSoC was named one of the 100 most exciting companies in the UK in the 2016 Mishcon de Reya CityAM “Leap 100” list, and nominated by Gartner as one of its 2016 “Cool Vendors”. It was recognized as “Best New Company” in the 2015 ELEKTRA Awards.
UltraSoC’s flagship product line is a suite of semiconductor IP that allows chip designers to integrate an intelligent analytics infrastructure into the core hardware of their devices. By monitoring and analyzing the real-world behavior of entire systems via UltraSoC’s intelligent analytics embedded in the silicon, engineers can take action to reduce system power consumption, increase performance, protect against malicious intrusions, and ensure product safety. These capabilities address applications in a broad range of market sectors, from automotive and IoT products, to at-scale computing and communications infrastructure.
Silverpeak, the technology investment bank, acted as exclusive financial advisor to UltraSoC in the transaction.
About Atlante Tech
Atlante Tech is a new fund promoted by IMI Fondi Chiusi Sgr SpA dedicated to investing in high tech start-ups with high growth potential especially in electronics, embedded systems, big data, medical technologies, and cleantech. Atlante Tech relies on the experience of the other funds of the Atlante family (Atlante Ventures, Atlante Seed, Atlante Ventures Mezzogiorno) that are among the most active Italian VC investors both in terms of number of investments and in terms of exits and IPOs. Atlante Tech has recently reached its first closing at 30M € (subscribed by Intesa Sanpaolo group) and is currently raising other capital on the market with the goal of reaching 120M€.
About Enso Ventures
Enso Ventures is a venture capital firm that specializes in making selective investments in groundbreaking, high-technology and bio-tech companies. Enso Ventures provides the required capital along with leadership and industry expertise with a clear focus on technology acceleration and commercial development to promote faster growth. The focus is on disruptive technology platforms in high growth market segments, products addressing unmet global market needs with the potential to become market leaders. Enso Ventures has offices in London and New York.
About Octopus Ventures
Octopus Ventures is a London and New York based venture capital firm, focused on identifying unusually talented entrepreneurs. In recent years we have been fortunate to back the founding teams of over 60 companies, including Conversocial, graze.com, LoveFiLM, Property Partner, Secret Escapes, Sofar Sounds, Swiftkey, Swoon Editions, Uniplaces, tails.com, Zoopla Property Group and Zynstra.
We can invest from £250,000 to £25 million in a first round of funding and will look to follow in subsequent rounds. We are proud to be known as one of the most entrepreneur friendly investors in Europe and a significant part of our portfolio consists of referrals from teams we have already invested in or serial entrepreneurs who we have previously backed.
Octopus Ventures is part of the Octopus group. Octopus is a fast-growing UK fund management business with leading positions in several specialist sectors including property finance, healthcare, energy and smaller company investing. Founded in 2000, Octopus manages more than £6 billion of funds on behalf of 50,000 investors. www.octopusventures.com
About Oxford Capital
Oxford Capital has been making venture capital investments since 1999. Our London-based ventures team has more than 70 years of combined experience, gained at leading investors including Qualcomm, HG Capital, DN Capital, Draper Esprit and Arma Partners.
We invest in early-stage businesses and we want to back entrepreneurs who are trying to solve big problems in innovative ways. We aim to invest in sectors where the UK has the potential to lead the world. Current areas of interest include Software-as-a-Service, marketplaces, mobility, gaming, fintech, digital health, machine learning and artificial intelligence www.oxcp.com
About The South East Seed Fund
The South East Seed Fund is managed by The FSE Group, a regional funding organisation, backed by BIS and privately governed. With access to a breadth of public and private resources, FSE specialises in the identification, funding and development of ambitious businesses with high growth potential.
By providing a unique funding service to these companies across the South East, FSE helps them grow through direct investment. The South East Seed Fund has directly invested £5m in SE companies and has helped them raise a further £100m http://www.thefsegroup.com/south-east-seed-fund/