Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Qualtré Closes $10M Round

MARLBOROUGH, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Qualtré Inc., a leading provider of feature rich and high performance inertial sensors for cutting edge consumer and industrial applications, announced the closing of a $10M round of financing. The new funding will enable the company to launch multiple products targeting both high-volume consumer and industrial applications. These products are based on the company’s highly differentiated BAW gyroscope architecture, which underscores the versatility of the company’s core technology. The round consists of equity financing from Matrix Partners and Pilot House Ventures, as well as debt financing from Eastward Capital Partners.

“We are seeing tremendous interest from both top tier customers as well as strategic partners,” explained Edgar Masri, CEO of Qualtré. “We attribute this to the fact that people recognize the strengths of our fundamental technology, and they also believe that our differentiated BAW technology is much safer in terms of intellectual property rights and long-term supply assurance than the tuning fork gyros implemented by other companies. We believe that we have the only technology which can provide the performance scaling and environmental robustness needed for applications ranging from consumer to high-end IMU’s. We will use this funding round to develop products for key applications which can benefit from the combination of robustness, performance, and cost-optimization which our products will provide.”

MEMS gyroscopes are experiencing the same rapid growth rate that MEMS accelerometers experienced a few years ago, driven by growing adoption in products ranging from mobile handsets to gaming remotes to cameras to electronics stability control systems. Industry analysts estimate that the market for gyro sensors will grow to $1.5B in consumer electronics application alone by the year 2015.

“We are excited to see customers and partners accelerate their interest in Qualtré’s BAW technology,” said Stan Reiss, a General Partner with Matrix Partners. “We believe that by developing multiple products which use the same design building blocks, and at the same time address the needs of specific applications and markets, the company is delivering maximum value to its customers.”

About Qualtré, Inc.

Founded in 2008, Qualtré is a venture-backed company commercializing the next generation of solid-state silicon MEMS motion sensor solutions for cutting edge consumer and industrial applications by leveraging fundamentally differentiated technologies.

The company’s product development efforts build upon years of research conducted by its founder and Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Farrokh Ayazi, at Georgia Tech's renownedIntegrated MEMS Laboratory. The company is headquartered in Marlborough, Massachusetts. More information can be found at www.qualtre.com.

About Matrix Partners

Matrix Partners is a premier venture capital firm that has generated outstanding returns for over three decades. The firm has delivered several of the industry’s top performing funds of all time. Matrix Partners has offices in Waltham, MA; New York, NY; Palo Alto, CA; Mumbai, India; and Beijing and Shanghai, China. The firm has been fortunate to have invested in game-changing, industry-leading businesses such as Apple Computer, Sandisk, Veritas, Sycamore Networks, Phone.com, Starent Networks, JBoss and Xilinx.www.matrixpartners.com

About Pilot House Ventures

Pilot House Ventures is a Boston, Massachusetts-based venture capital firm that invests in promising early stage technology companies, including enterprise software, network infrastructure, internet, and communications companies. The company looks for outstanding entrepreneurs who are building companies with high growth potential that will be true partners throughout the lifecycle of the company. Pilot House Ventures' investment team leverages its deep operational, technical and industry experience to help entrepreneurs build successful companies. Pilot House operates with a team approach to help their portfolio companies be successful, with multiple members of the team involved in advising all portfolio companies on strategic decisions to drive growth. The Pilot House Ventures team also taps into its extensive networks to support its portfolio companies with resources for customer acquisition, business development, partnerships, marketing strategy, technology development and management and Board development. www.pilothouseventures.com

About Eastward Capital Partners

Eastward Capital Partners is a West Newton, Massachusetts based venture debt provider, which provides flexible equity sensitive solutions to companies in the Information Technology, Communications, Alternative Energy and Healthcare sectors. Having completed investments in over 100 companies in the previous 20 years, Eastward is among the most experienced providers of venture debt in the industry. www.eastwardcp.com

Monday, May 21, 2012

Silicon Labs Acquires Ember

AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Silicon Laboratories Inc. (Nasdaq: SLAB), a leader in high-performance, analog-intensive, mixed-signal ICs, today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Boston-based Ember Corporation for initial consideration of $72 million, subject to an adjustment for certain working capital amounts and potential earn-out consideration. Ember is a late-stage private company offering market-leading silicon, software and development tools for 2.4 GHz wireless mesh networking solutions being deployed in smart energy, connected home, security, lighting, and many other monitoring and control applications.

This strategic acquisition brings Silicon Labs the technology and software expertise required to enable the low-power mesh sensor networks being deployed today in a wide range of residential, commercial and industrial applications. The demand for low-power, small-footprint wireless technology is accelerating as more and more IP-enabled end points are being connected to the “Internet of Things.” Expected to be the first 10 billion unit per year market, the Internet of Things is being realized to enable more convenient, energy-efficient and safer home and work environments.

The Ember portfolio complements Silicon Labs’ products and targets a growing market estimated to increase from $100 million in 2012 to $600 million by 2016. The combination of the companies’ products will bring together microcontroller (MCU), power and isolation technology, sensors, and both sub-GHz and 2.4 GHz wireless radios into a comprehensive portfolio of highly integrated networking solutions for embedded systems.

“Silicon Labs has consistently demonstrated a successful track record of integrating high-performance, low-power RF and mixed-signal ICs in CMOS and ramping them into high-volume markets,” said Tyson Tuttle, president and CEO of Silicon Laboratories. “This acquisition of a high-caliber team with proven wireless mesh networking know-how accelerates our ability to offer complete system solutions to our customers.”

Ember is a pioneer in the market for 802.15.4 ZigBee® solutions, developing mesh networking technology since the concept was first conceived. The design team represents some of the most experienced talent in embedded radios. The company’s products integrate high-performance, low-power 2.4 GHz wireless ICs with reliable and scalable networking software into a platform with unmatched performance and flexibility. With more than a decade of systems and software knowledge applied to the connected home, smart meters and building automation and more than 25 million units shipped, Ember has developed a leadership position in ZigBee-based systems and has established the benchmark for performance and usability.

“We believe our track record and technology leadership in ZigBee-based systems combined with Silicon Labs’ broad portfolio and focus on establishing a market-leading business in embedded wireless will enable our customers and the Internet of Things market to grow faster,” said Bob LeFort, chief executive officer of Ember. “The shared vision, compatible cultures and commitment to excellence augurs well for both the market as well as the Ember team.”

Silicon Labs expects that the addition of Ember’s high-performance system-on-chip (SoC) portfolio, advanced networking software expertise, and a proven design and applications team will contribute to the rapid expansion of its Broad-based business. Silicon Labs intends to apply the underlying technology platform and expertise to enable low-power mesh networking in not only home but also industrial and commercial applications. Further, both companies’ products leverage the same underlying development environment, which is expected to accelerate the combined roadmap and support rapid adoption among the existing customer base.

Ember is expected to contribute approximately $10-$12 million in revenue in the second half of 2012 and to be accretive on a non-GAAP basis in 2013. The boards of each company have approved the acquisition, which awaits the satisfaction of regulatory requirements and other customary closing conditions. In conjunction with this all-cash acquisition, Silicon Labs’ board of directors has authorized management to pursue a $200 million credit facility that could be used for stock repurchases and for other general corporate purposes.

About Ember
Ember Corporation (www.ember.com; twitter: @EmberCorp) develops wireless mesh networking technology – chips, software and tools - for Smart Energy, connected homes, and many other monitoring and control applications enabling greener living and work environments. The Boston-based company has approximately 60 employees worldwide including an IC design center in Cambridge, England.

About Silicon Laboratories Inc.

Silicon Laboratories is an industry leader in the innovation of high-performance, analog-intensive, mixed-signal ICs. Developed by a world-class engineering team with unsurpassed expertise in mixed-signal design, Silicon Labs’ diverse portfolio of patented semiconductor solutions offers customers significant advantages in performance, size and power consumption. For more information about Silicon Labs, please visit www.silabs.com.