Wednesday, November 18, 2009

picoChip attracts $20 Million investment to accelerate growth

Bath, UK - November 18th, 2009: - picoChip today announced that it has completed a $20 million funding round. Already the dominant supplier for femtocell silicon, supporting all the major HSPA carrier deployments, this additional investment will help picoChip extend its leadership and grasp the growing market opportunity in the femtocell sector.
“This investment comes as the market is taking off for picoChip: it is testament to what we have already achieved, and our investors’ belief in our future,” said picoChip’s CEO Nigel Toon. “picoChip was the pioneer in femtocell technology and we are delighted to see our customers and partners deploying in volume in the rapidly developing global femtocell market. Our customers are already benefiting from picoChip’s substantial head-start, field-proven robust products and unparalleled experience in this market. This investment strengthens our balance sheet and fully funds us through to IPO.”

picoChip’s investors include financial investors, Atlas Venture, Highland Capital Partners, Pond Venture Partners, Scottish Equity Partners, and Rothschild plus strategic investors AT&T, Intel and Samsung. This fresh injection of capital from top tier VCs and institutional investors comes at a time when technology VC investment has decreased markedly, with backers choosing their investments carefully and only the strongest companies able to secure finance.
Dan Rosen, Principal at Highland Capital Partners, commented, “At Highland, we invest in companies that can establish leadership in explosive, high-growth markets. We are very excited about picoChip’s prospects in the Femtocell market. The company continues to win market share with proven best-in-class technology.”

ABI Research forecasts the total available femtocell market in 2010 will reach 2.3 million units, rising to 40 million units in 2014. In 2009 six major network operators have launched femtocell services that cover the USA, Europe and Asia.

Having been the first to market with a femtocell solution in 2005, picoChip is clearly the leading technology supplier for carrier’s HSPA rollouts, with seventeen customers using the field-proven picoXcell™ product. The company today also announced its strategy for an end-to-end femtocell reference solution that will lower barriers to entry, minimize cost and accelerate time-to-market for femtocells.

picoChip’s strong financial position, fast ramping revenues and proven technology leadership have won it the respect of customers and the financial community. In the last year picoChip was a top ranked company in Deloitte’s prestigious FAST 50, a widely acknowledged bellweather for the industry; and has been named one of the ‘Top Ten Private Companies’ to watch by the Financial Times. The additional endorsement of this investment allows the company to consolidate its leadership in next-generation wireless and assist in the next phase in the company’s growth.

picoChip CEO Nigel Toon will be speaking at the Barclays Capital 2009 Technology Private Company Conference in San Francisco on December 7th.

picoChip is bucking the trend with this latest investment that comes at a time when venture investors are extremely cautious. In its August 2009 State of the Semiconductor Industry report*, the Global Semiconductor Association (GSA) highlighted venture capital funding at a historic low. The report quotes figures from J.P. Morgan, presented to the GSA: ‘In the first half of 2009, funding in the semiconductor industry…totaled $569 million, compared to $1.1 billion for the same period a year before – a 48% decline in investments.’ Similarly, Thomson Reuters reported that the first three quarters of 2009 marked the weakest nine month period for new venture capital investments in 15 years.

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