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25 May, 2011 - 11:30 By Tony Quested

Neul to raise several millions

James-Collier

A Cambridge company with the potential to join ARM and Autonomy in the global technology pantheon is set to kickstart a new spurt of growth through a multi-million pound fundraising, probably in June.

A group of heavyweight VCs and angel investors, many of them from Cambridge, intend to back the funding round for Neul, whose core team built Cambridge Silicon Radio into a world-class business.

James Collier and his team are being tipped to take Neul into the stratosphere – passing CSR on the way. The company – launched last year – aims to unify the currently fragmented world of Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications. Its target markets are myriad and collectively worth several billions.

A large group of local and not so local angels plus Martlet – the new funding vehicle launched by Marshall of Cambridge in conjunction with Cambridge angel Peter Cowley, who is its Investment Director – intend to join an investment round with two VCs; one local and one from London.

Collier wrote more and more software onto smaller and smaller chips for CSR, prompting local tech entrepreneur and VC Hermann Hauser to call him “a five-star wizard” in an exclusive interview with Business Weekly.

Neul – pronounced 'new-ul' and derived from the Gaelic word for 'Cloud' – is building what it calls “a reliable, full coverage global network around a new, open M2M communications standard.

“We will enable completely new kinds of devices, services and business models. We are creating 'the Internet of Everything'.

“Our long-range wireless network has been specifically designed to be 'data only'. This will allow the Neul network to support the anticipated explosive growth of M2M to reach more than 50 billion connections by 2020.”

The Neul network will operate in the newly available, licence-free 'White Space spectrum' made available to utilise the unused spectrum within the TV bands. This digital dividend – occurring worldwide – was highlighted by Business Weekly in its ‘5050 Vision’ book on the Cambridge tech cluster, last November.

In the US the transition to White Space is complete and the process is well underway in the UK, with other territories following in the near future. Neul says its portfolio of proprietary and patented Intellectual Property, hardware platforms, software protocol stacks and physical network infrastructure will be used to roll out a network of base stations and services.

The company is recruiting heavily at present, chiefly analogue designers, software developers, digital designers and DSP algorithm developers. It is also looking for new or recent engineering, maths or physics graduates who can demonstrate a very high level of ability and enthusiasm and who want to develop their skills in mathematical modelling, digital design, DSP algorithm development or embedded software. For vacancy details go to www.neul.com

• Photograph shows James Collier

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