California tech giant Oracle has splashed undisclosed millions on a second Cambridge company, snapping up Grapeshot in a deal that brings a windfall to a host of investors in the UK technology cluster.
Extends Mobile Broadband Leadership With UMTS Pico and Femto Cell Pioneer
CHELMSFORD, MA AND CAMBRIDGE, UK– May 2, 2007 – Airvana, Inc. a leading provider of network infrastructure products used by wireless carriers to provide mobile broadband services, today announced it has acquired 3Way Networks, a provider of home base stations and industry-tailored solutions for UMTS markets. Terms of the deal are undisclosed.
The acquisition furthers Airvana’s strategy to address UMTS radio access networks and to deliver fixed-mobile convergence and in-building mobile broadband solutions for both UMTS and CDMA2000 markets. 3Way Networks’ pico and femto cell solutions will complement Airvana’s Universal Access Gateway (UAG), a high-capacity network element through which we expect to provide secure access to core network services for UMTS, CDMA2000, Wi-Fi and other Internet Protocol (IP)-based wireless devices.
“This is a logical step in both companies’ evolution,” said Simon Albury, managing director of 3Way Networks. “We believe the acquisition validates our technology, and provides 3Way Networks with considerable resources and market reach.”
3Way Networks’ technology can enable mobile operators to offer UMTS voice, video and data cost-effectively into the home. The company also offers products that provide UMTS connectivity for military and transportation markets. Both 3Way Networks and Airvana have embraced a ‘flat’ architecture that combines multiple functions of a radio access network into the base station for simpler deployment, greater reliability and lower cost.
“Consumers increasingly want to make their mobile phone their primary phone”, said Sanjeev Verma, founder and vice president of business development of Airvana. “With this acquisition and our existing UAG product, Airvana anticipates providing such a solution for UMTS subscribers.”
About 3Way Networks
3Way Networks was founded in 2004 to develop a range of 3G wireless infrastructure solutions for military, aviation, maritime and mobile operator markets. The company has been shipping UMTS infrastructure products to a variety of customers since 2005 based around its innovative Integrated Network on a Card IN-c technology. 3Way is a headquartered in Cambridge, United Kingdom.
Airvana is a leading provider of network infrastructure products used by wireless carriers to provide mobile broadband services. Airvana’s software and hardware products enable wireless networks to deliver broadband-quality multimedia services to mobile phones, laptop computers and other mobile devices. These services include Internet access, e-mail, music downloads, video, IP-TV, gaming, push-to-talk and voice-over-IP. Airvana’s solutions enable new services and deliver carrier-grade mobility, scalability and reliability with relatively low operating and capital costs.
Worldwide, Airvana’s mobile broadband systems are deployed on six continents in 16 major networks by industry-leading service providers who demand high standards of carrier-class performance. Airvana has OEM agreements with Alcatel-Lucent, Nortel Networks, and QUALCOMM.
Airvana is headquartered in Chelmsford, MA, USA. For more information, please visit the company's Web site at http://www.airvana.com
British Gas have acquired AlertMe to create the UK’s leading connected homes provider. This exciting move brings together British Gas’ ability to innovate for customers with AlertMe’s next generation Internet of Things technology and expertise. The acquisition has created a highly experienced and fully integrated team which will now accelerate the development of new connected home services in the UK and worldwide.
Software security house Vasco has acquired UK-based Cronto for a maximum EUR17 million in cash.
Cronto was founded in 2005 as a University of Cambridge spin-out and supplies secure visual transaction authentication and signature solutions for online banking applications. The CrontoSign solution (also known as photoTAN) has been chosen to secure transactions at Commerzbank and Raiffeisen Switzerland.
Netherlands-based Vasco says it will add the patented CrontoSign products to its offerings for the global banking market and work towards full integration with its Digipass product line.
Vasco says it intends to tap in to Cronto's close ties with Cambridge University and access to expertise in advanced statistical data analysis and machine learning algorithms.
"The acquisition of Cronto is a strong example of asco investing in its future growth," states T. Kendall Hunt, Vasco's chairman and CEO. "Through our make-or-buy strategy for new technologies, we will keep scanning the market for suitable companies to join Vasco."
VASCO acquired all of the stock of Cronto in exchange for an initial cash consideration of Euro 15 million and contingent cash consideration in the form of an earn-out of up to a maximum of Euro 2 million.
The PwC UK Retail, Consumer and Leisure Corporate Finance team is pleased to announce the completion of Project Mussel, the sale of a minority equity stake in Lintbells Limited ("Lintbells") to Inflexion Private Equity ("Inflexion").
Lintbells was established in 2006 by John Howie and John Davies and has rapidly grown into the UK’s leading nutritional supplements for pets business by targeting a growing market of pet owners with innovative products that have scientific validation and deliver visible health benefits.
The pets sector is an area of significant growth and investment due to its large addressable market, resilient consumer spending patterns and continuation of the trend of “humanisation of pets”.
PwC acted as lead financial advisor to Lintbells and this transaction follows on a number of successful deals led by PwC in the UK pet sector, including the sale of MPM Petfood to ECI Partners and Armitage Pet Care to Rutland Partners.
The PwC team was led by John Lane, Amit Aggarwal and Oliver Connolly, with oversight and guidance provided by Neil Sutton. Olivia Lonsdale and Charlotte Astleford provided support and deal management assistance.
We are excited to partner with Inflexion as we look to accelerate the expansion of Lintbells in multiple areas. I would like to also thank PwC for their support and hard work on achieving this important milestone on our journey. Throughout the process, PwC’s team consistently delivered sound advice and demonstrated their knowledge of the sector. It was clear that they really understood our business and growth objectives. Finally, not only were they focused on ensuring that we found the right partner, they were also fun to work with.
John Howie CEO of Lintbells
Monica Healthcare becomes part of GE Healthcare
Monitoring expectant mothers and their babies before and during childbirth is a vital and at times a complicated task. GE Healthcare is investing in innovations to make it easier. Today, GE Healthcare announced that it is expanding its Maternal-Infant Care business with the acquisition of Monica Healthcare, a monitoring technology company based in the United Kingdom. This acquisition (price not disclosed) enhances GE Healthcare’s mobile and digital offerings by providing clinicians and patients around the world with more innovative solutions for labor, delivery, and home care.
Monica Healthcare is a 12-year-old private company dedicated to improving the birth experience and enhancing obstetric care through wearable wireless fetal monitoring devices. Monica Healthcare’s advanced fetal monitors already empower midwives, labor and delivery nurses, and expectant women at approximately 1,000 sites across Europe, Asia and North America – with more than 100,000 patients impacted just last year.
“At GE Healthcare, we are committed to improving the health care experience across care areas, including childbirth,” says Tammy Noll, General Manager of GE Healthcare’s Maternal-Infant Care division. “Through this acquisition, we will combine the incredible expertise and mobile-digital innovation from the Monica team with GE Healthcare’s longstanding industry leadership and customer focus – all with the goal of bettering maternal and infant care for patients worldwide.”
Since 2015, GE Healthcare has been Monica’s North American distribution partner for the Novii™ Wireless Patch System – a singlepatient use patch that effectively monitors maternal heart rate, fetal heart rate, and uterine activity, even on many of the most difficult to monitor patients. The Novii patch communicates through Bluetooth wirelessly to the fetal monitor, providing patients with greater mobility in labor. To learn more about the Novii patch, watch the video here.
“Joining GE Healthcare provides a fantastic opportunity to bring together Monica’s digital offerings with GE Healthcare’s global infrastructure to provide even stronger capabilities and solutions to customers around the world,” said Carl Barratt, CEO of Monica Healthcare.
GE Healthcare Maternal Infant Care offers neuro-developmental and family-centered solutions across maternal/fetal monitors, infant warmers, infant resuscitation systems, phototherapy, incubators and combination beds – helping to send moms and babies home healthy. GE Healthcare is also the global industry leader for prenatal ultrasound, with more than 230 million expectant mothers using GE Healthcare ultrasound every year.
HealthTech firm Oval Medical Technologies has been acquired by global pharmaceutical device manufacturer SMC Ltd.
Founded in Cambridge in 2009, Oval is a medical technology company that designs and produces auto-injectors to enhance medical safety and help those who have a fear of needles.
Its acquisition by US-based SMC comes two years after it raised £1.1m via the SyndicateRoom platform in 2014.
This is the first exit of a Syndicate Room-funded company, and will see 40 SyndicateRoom investors enjoy a return.
Barbara Lead, CEO at Oval Medical Technologies, said: “As part of SMC, Oval will be well placed to provide customers with devices that meet their needs and those of their patients.
“The combination of Oval’s design and development capability and SMC’s capabilities in global manufacturing, will ensure a high level of reliability in product performance and a fast route to market,” she added.
One of Oval’s products is an Epinephrine auto-injector – a small device for treating patients for anaphylactic shock. Another is the Sumatriptan, which is being developed to treat patients with migraines and cluster headaches.
Chetan Patel, president and founder at SMC Ltd, said he was “excited” about his firm’s acquisition of Oval Medical Technologies.
“In addition to autoinjectors, the Oval team brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the design, development and manufacturing of inhalation products,” he added.
Neul sold to Huawei for $25 million
Chinese technology heavyweight Huawei has bought Cambridge UK based IoT business Neul for $25 million.
Huawei recently told Business Secretary Vince Cable that it was investing £1.3 billion in the UK but at the time declined to say whether this would be at its current Ipswich facility or in expansion into Cambridge.
The Neul deal would appear to have answered part of the question.
CEO Stan Boland was brought in to maximise value for VC investors, one of whom told me they thought it was a good deal but another source close to the business said they thought Neul been sold too cheaply given its potential.
Neul positioned itself at the heart of the whole Internet of Things acceleration process and this has undoubtedly been the attraction for Huawei, which is a world-leading ICT provider.
I understand that the Cambridge company was seeking a major strategic investor – without success – and one source told me the alternative to not raising funds could even have been going into administration. The urgency of the situation seems to have accelerated the Huawei deal.
Boland was not available to comment.
Another undercurrent has been a difference between co-founder James Collier and Boland over the direction the company should take. It began targeting deals involving the new TV white space spectrum but has morphed into a pure IoT/smart city play.
Collier is said to have been unavailable even to close contacts while the Huawei sale has been unfolding. There are also reports locally that Collier – also co-founder of CSR – has been seeking an exit to explore fresh opportunities.Update: Huawei investing tens of millions to build Cambridge IoT powerhouse
Google Acquires Phonetic Arts To Make Robo-Voices Sound Human
No, Google hasn’t acquired Groupon (yet). But it does have a smaller, though very interesting acquisition to announce: it’s just acquired Phonetic Arts, a company based in the UK that works on speech synthesis in games.
Phonetic Arts makes technology that can convert lines of recorded dialog into a ‘speech library’ — feed it a few hundred lines of recordings using your voice, and it can then piece together those sounds to generate new sentences that sound surprisingly realistic. Up until now Phonetic Arts has primarily been focused on using this technology for games, but Google intends to use it more broadly to make its own automated voices sound more fluid and human.
In case you haven’t noticed, Google has been paying a huge amount of attention to its voice recognition and transcription technologies over the last few years (they’ve been researching it much longer, but now the tech is making it into products). YouTube now includes automatic voice transcription captions for millions of videos; Android has voice recognition integrated throughout the OS; and Google has voice search apps for other mobile platforms, like the iPhone.
But while these voice recognition apps are getting much better, whenever they need to read something back to you (for example, for language translation or GPS navigation) it’s quite obvious that you’re listening to a computer. Which is where Google is planning to start applying Phonetic Arts’ technology.
Also worth pointing out: in its official blog post, Google specifically talks about the growing tech scene in London:
There’s a particular focus right now in the U.K. on technology and innovation, and we’re delighted to be deepening our investment in the country with this acquisition. We already have a strong engineering center in London and look forward to welcoming Phonetic Arts to the team. We are excited about their technology, and while we don’t have plans to share yet, we’re confident that together we’ll move a little faster towards that Star Trek future.