Funder profile: Amadeus Capital Partners Limited
Amadeus, based in Cambridge and London, invests across the technology spectrum in industries including communications and networking hardware and software, media, e-commerce, computer hardware and software, plus the MedTech and CleanTech sectors.
Since launch in 1997, Amadeus has identified and nurtured the hi-tech companies of the future. With over £470m under management, it has active investments in around 40 companies at any time, across Europe and selectively in Israel. Cambridge entrepreneur, Dr Hermann Hauser co-founded Amadeus in 1997 with Anne Glover and Peter Wynn. In his long and successful history as an entrepreneur and VC, he has founded or co-founded companies in a range of tech sectors. These include Acorn Computers, Active Book Company, Virata, Net Products, NetChannel, and Cambridge Network Limited. He was a founder director of IQ (Bio), IXI Limited, Vocalis, SynGenix, Advanced Displays Limited, Electronic Share Information Limited and E*Trade UK.At Amadeus, Hauser has been a non-executive director of many investee companies including: CSR, which provides single chip wireless solutions supporting communications over short-range radio links and which achieved a successful IPO in 2005; Entropic Research Laboratory, a company that developed voice recognition software which became the voice recogniser in Microsoft Word when the company was sold to Microsoft in 1999; and Solexa, which developed ultra-high throughput DNA sequencing technology and was acquired by Illumina in 2007. He is also a non-executive director: of Plastic Logic, which has developed a process for producing flexible plastic transistors for use in computer displays; Icera, which is developing wireless soft modem platforms for mobile phones and wireless terminals; and XMOS, a company that is revolutionising re-configurable silicon chips.
Examples of Amadeus investments in the East of England
Cambridge Broadband Networks (Active) - www.cbnl.comCambridge Broadband Networks was formed in January 2000 by an experienced team with a strong record of successful innovation in broadband wireless design. Cambridge Broadband Networks has pioneered the development of carrier-class, point-to-multipoint broadband wireless access equipment. Cambridge Broadband Networks’s VectaStar product family provides telecoms operators with a highly flexible point-to-multipoint radio transmission platform, used for cellular backhaul, WiMAX/WiFi backhaul and business access. A carrier-class solution, it supports E1/T1, IP and ATM traffic and is available for multiple frequency bands: 3.5GHz, 10.5GHz and 23-28GHz. The company has gained customers across the globe and is seeing great potential in China, Malaysia and South Africa in particular. Amadeus led the first-stage investment round of $5 million including the Italian venture capital firm, Pino Ventures. Subsequently Amadeus helped the company establish a strategic and sales vision and co-invested in further financing rounds. In January 2007, together with Accel Partners, TVM and Latin Rim, Amadeus led a $22.5 million investment.
CSR (Exited) - www.csr.comOne of the original and most successful investments for Amadeus, CSR is a leading developer and provider of single chip wireless solutions designed to support data and voice communications over short range radio links. Its use of the 2.4GHz Bluetooth personal area networking standard allowed CSR’s solutions to be implemented through a range of ICs incorporating differentiated on-chip software. The company has adopted a fabless business model under which the manufacturing of its ICs – utilising industry standard bulk CMOS processes – and their assembly, packaging, testing and shipping are sub-contracted to third parties. This model, which is readily scalable, allows CSR to focus its efforts on the design, development, sales, marketing and support of its products and significantly reduce capital requirements. As the company has grown, it has built on its position as the leader in Bluetooth silicon. In 2004 CSR launched a range of true single-chip Wi-Fi devices, called UniFi, that deliver unparalleled size, power, performance and cost advantages to product designers. These are the first Wi-Fi solutions specifically targeted at mass-market mobile phones and other pocket-sized consumer products such as digital cameras and MP3 players. CSR was spun out of Cambridge Consultants in 1998, when Amadeus helped the founders create a company dedicated to single chip Bluetooth solutions. Since then, Amadeus has supported the company in each of the subsequent rounds of finance and through the IPO process. At the end of 2005, Amadeus exited CSR, selling its final stock holding in the open market.
Icera (Active) - www.icerasemi.comFounded in 2002, Icera is a fabless semiconductor company that has developed a breakthrough baseband processor and advanced wireless modem technology. Icera’s software is designed to support both current and future wireless standards. Because these platform solutions offer high performance and unprecedented flexibility at low-power, they furnish handset and data card manufacturers with the ability to deliver differentiated cellular devices. Icera is based in the UK with offices in the US, France and Japan. Amadeus was attracted to the company because of its breakthrough technology and the experience of the executive team. Amadeus backed the team previously in E14, an investment that was successfully sold in a trade sale in 2000. Amadeus led the Series 'C' investment round in January 2006, which included existing investors Atlas Ventures, Benchmark Capital and Accel Partners. In January 2011, Icera secured a $12 million (£7.7m) debt facility from Silicon Valley Bank. The combined facility, consisting of a $4m three-year term loan and a two-year $8m working capital line of credit, is being used to accelerate growth in the smartphone market and extend Icera’s global capabilities.
ip.access (Active) - www.ipaccess.comAmadeus was attracted to ip.access because the company has developed an elegant and efficient solution to the problem of mobile in-building coverage. Consumers wish to make high-quality calls from their mobile phones in all locations, particularly at home and other indoor locations. The ip.access solutions leverage existing technology such as residential broadband connections to increase the quality of in-building mobile calls, while also allowing additional features such as mobile music downloading and video streaming. Based in Cambridge UK, ip.access aims to enable mobile network operators to provide improved residential 3G voice and data coverage. Amadeus led a follow-on round of financing of $10 million in ip.access, designed to support the launch of the 3G product, joining existing investors Intel Capital Corporation, Rothschild & Cie Gestion and Scottish Equity Partners. Most of ip.access’ customers use its 2G picocells (nanoGSM) but ip.access is now deploying newer 3G femtocell technology with Cisco/AT&T and other customers. It says there is massive potential worldwide for 3G femtocells and picocells; Dell’Oro recently forecast a $4 billion market by 2014. Massive growth in mobile phone usage in India prompted ip.access in 2010 to set up a dedicated R & D centre in Pune where it expects staff numbers to multiply at a rapid rate in the next 12 months.
Nujira (Active) - www.nujira.comNujira Ltd has developed market-leading power amplifier technology that solves key environmental and power efficiency problems faced by the wireless industry. Power amplifiers, found in every cell phone and cellular base station, are critical to the transmission of all wireless signals. WCDMA, WiMAX and DVBH technologies have heralded a new era of high spectrum efficiency communications but at the cost of low efficiency power amplifiers. The consequent increase in power consumption and heat is proving to be one of the most significant problems facing the wireless industry today both financially and environmentally. Nujira’s high power High Accuracy Tracking (HAT) Modulators enable infrastructure and handset OEMs to avoid this reduction in amplifier efficiency. Amadeus led the seed investment round in Cambridge-based Nujira and has participated in all subsequent rounds. In January 2011, Nujira raised an extra £5m and expanded its team and UK capacity in a bid to put its Coolteq Envelope Tracking technology into 800 million handsets worldwide by 2016. As part of its new roadmap, Nujira expanded its team to 66 to enable the company to support engagements with its handset partners and secured the additional funding from existing investors to support the accelerated growth plans. It has opened a design centre in Scotland to complement its existing Cambridge and Bath locations.
Plastic Logic (Active) - www.plasticlogic.comPlastic Logic was spun out of Cambridge University’s Cavendish Laboratory and triggered an entirely new technology segment – plastic electronics, or plastronics. While it failed to get its pioneering QUE E-Reader into the marketplace in 2010, it is well advanced with new generation products and is gearing up globally with new staff and capability at its Cambridge and global operations. In 2011, Plastic Logic secured $700 million (£437.2m) investment from The Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies (RUSNANO). Over time this and allied funding will push the company’s latest haul past the billion dollar mark. The investment project includes building the world’s largest volume production factory for Plastic Logic’s next-generation plastic displays in Zelenograd – Russia’s Silicon Valley – and aims to establish a commercial plastic electronics industry in Russia. Plastic Logic’s lead investor, Oak Investment Partners, a multi-stage venture capital firm, is investing an additional $50 million as part of the project investment plan. In addition to the equity investments, RUSNANO will provide partial guarantees for debt financing in the amount of $100 million. Over the next few years, additional equity and debt will be raised totalling approximately $400 million. Amadeus helped build Plastic Logic around the founders, Professor Richard Friend and Dr Henning Sirringhaus, recruiting the senior management team and helping the company find the right production and product strategies. Amadeus also helped assemble a strong syndicate of investors and a sympathetic network of shareholder companies with relevant experience in the industry, including BASF, Seiko-Epson, Dow Chemical and CDT. Even before RUSNANO’s arrival on the scene, Plastic Logic had received four rounds of funding totalling over $200m. Amadeus participated in each round of financing and was joined by Oak Investment Partners, Tudor Investment Corp, and Intel Capital, among others.
SEVEN (Active) - www.seven.comFounded in 2000, SEVEN Networks, Inc is headquartered in Redwood City, California and has operations in Cambridge UK. It is a leading global provider of push e-mail software for mobile devices. SEVEN operates as a carrier-centric provider and produces software that enables wireless operators and internet service providers to offer their subscribers secure, low-cost and real-time access to business and personal e-mail applications on a wide variety of wireless handheld devices, ranging from phones to PDAs. SEVEN’s operator customers worldwide are able to offer their subscribers additional productivity applications such as calendars, contact databases, corporate directories and documents in real time on the wireless device of their choice. SEVEN aims to drive the mass-market adoption of wireless data services. Amadeus became an investor in SEVEN Networks through the merger of its portfolio company Smartner Information Systems and SEVEN. Amadeus had participated in several rounds of financing for Smartner and its predecessor company, Commtag, and has continued to do so.
Solarflare (Active) - www.solarflare.com
Solarflare Communications is the leading provider of 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) server adapters and chips. The company is headquartered in Irvine, California with an important development centre in Cambridge, UK. Solarflare’s mission is to be the leading provider of Ethernet enabling products by focusing on cost-effective, high-performance, standards-based Ethernet interconnects for data centres and enterprise networking. Solarflare has developed a set of products including 10GBASE-T chips which enable simple, inexpensive 10 Gigabit interconnects that leverage the installed base of copper twisted pair cabling and high-performance 1 Gigabit /10 Gigabit standards-based Ethernet controller technology that increases server system performance with no need either to change existing applications or to deploy new protocols. In 2011, between 60 and 70 per cent of its revenues will come from its significantly upgraded network adapter cards, a technology step-change that owes much to the company’s Cambridge R & D team. And an IPO – possibly a double whammy on London and Wall Street – is on the not-too-distant horizon. The company’s teams in Cambridge and California look set to grow further as the company keeps pace with unprecedented market demand for its new-gen products. Amadeus became an investor in Solarflare Communications through the merger of its portfolio company Level 5 Networks and Solarflare Communications in April 2006. Amadeus participated in several rounds of financing along with Oak Investment Partners, Foundation Capital, Accel Partners, Anthem Venture Partners, IDG Ventures Europe, and Miramar Venture Partners.
Veebeam (Active) - www.veebeam.comBased in Cambridge, Veebeam specialises in wireless video streaming. The company was formed by the merger of Staccato Communications and Artimi in 2008. Veebeam makes a wireless USB system for streaming from the PC to the TV. It trialled the technology in Cambridge prior to shipping product. Veebeam said the exciting product was “set to revolutionise the way we access and use internet video and movies.” The company raised $6 million Series B funding in October. The funding round was led by Amadeus Capital Partners, Intel Capital and Oak Investment Partners and included existing investors Bay Partners, Formative Ventures, Khosla Ventures and Vision Capital. The company was formed by the merger of Staccato Communications and Artimi in 2008. The company said the product took almost a year of development and Veebeam had deliberately kept a low profile, quietly ramping up to around 40 staff across its three centres of operation in California, Cambridge and Bangalore.