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Ant falls short of expectations

Ant falls short of expectations


Anthas warned that revenue and profit for 2012 will fall short of market expectations, sparking a sell-of in shares that saw the company’s price drop 11.7 per cent to 16p a share.

A trading update from the Cambridge digital television software developer, which recently announced the sudden departure of its long-serving CEO Simon Woodward, said that revenue for the first half of 2012 will exceed that of the first half of 2011 due to a significant royalty payment.

However, a significant engineering cost associated for the year together with a significant fall in licence bookings over the previous year meant the full year’s figures would be below current market expectations.

Premier Foods sells Histon Jams and Spreads business to Hain Group


Source: RNS

Premier Foods announces that it has reached a conditional agreement to sell its sweet spreads and jellies business, including the Hartley’s, Robertson’s, Frank Cooper, Keiller, Gales and Sun-Pat brands, to The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. [NASDAQ:HAIN], for a cash and share consideration of GBP200 million. The sale is subject to approval by Premier Foods’ shareholders and consent from Premier Foods’ banking syndicate and is expected to complete by the end of October 2012.

This sale represents the third divestiture the Group has announced this year following agreement on its new financing arrangements in March 2012, and continues its strategy of prioritising investment behind its Power Brands and divesting selected, non-core businesses.

The sale includes Hartley’s, Britain’s most popular jam and a category leader in jelly-to-make and ready-to-eat jelly, and a portfolio of marmalade brands in Robertson’s, Frank Cooper, Keiller and the licence for Rose’s marmalade. Also included in the sale are Sun-Pat, the leading brand of peanut butter in the UK, Gales, the UK’s number two brand in honey and significant private label and business-to-business sales. The products are predominantly manufactured at the Group’s Histon factory, near Cambridge, which will also be sold to Hain Celestial as part of the agreement. All employees at the site, with the exception of a number of Group employees, are expected to transfer to the buyer following an appropriate consultation process.

Eight19 spins off Indigo in quest for funding

Eight19 spins off Indigo in quest for funding



Azuri and Eight19 CEO, Simon Bransfield-Garth

Eight19, a Cambridge startup developing a printed organic solar cell technology, is hoping to get its fund-raising drive back on track following a company restructure that has seen it spin off its pay-as-you-go solar powered energy system, IndiGo, as Azuri Technologies.

Eight19 CEO, Simon Bransfield-Garth, says IndiGo was launched as a marketing initiative in Kenya that has since grown to five other African countries where it is pushed as a cheaper, safer and greener off-grid power alternative to kerosene.

The success however, seems to have slowed the larger company’s fundraising plans as investors keen to back what is a classic Cambridge technology play – groundbreaking research from the university’s Cavendish Laboratory with the potential to disrupt an industry – are less enthused by what is essentially a distribution business based on existing technology.

Having launched a £200k fund with SunnyMoney in January this year to help roll out IndiGo, Eight19 announced its intention to raise a £5m Series B funding round weeks later, saying then it hoped to close within the first half of the year.

But while Eight19 is a materials business, Azuri is an off-grid energy supplier and Bransfield-Garth says investors looking to back one don’t necessarily want the other. People did say I am interested in this half of the company and not that half, said Bransfield-Garth.

The original £5m was for both elements of the company and the target remains a minimum of £5m, but the fundraising efforts can now be split allowing investors to come in on either Eight19 or Azuri without having to worry about the distraction of the other.

Bransfield-Garth says Eight19 is the most advanced of the two fundraising projects and expects to close the round at some point this year.

The two companies are also hoping to benefit from the extra focus the new structure will give them. Bransfield-Garth will be CEO of both entities which will continue to operate from Cambridge and which currently have 13 staff between them. However, he says they will be run as entirely independent entities with no cross-subsidisation from Azuri, which is rolling out increasingly large numbers of its IndiGo units.

While Eight19 needs a lot of work to finesse the technology and is continuing trials in Africa, Azuri has a product that is taking off.

IndiGo is growing very nicely, said Bransfield-Garth. We are now in six countries, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi and more recently South Sudan, South Africa and Ethiopia, and are expecting to deliver tens of thousands of units this year and hundreds of thousands next.


$3m for Vectura as asthma target advances

$3m for Vectura as asthma target advances


Ubisense moves through the gears with new German order

Ubisense moves through the gears with new German order


A German manufacturer is adopting Ubisense’s location-based manufacturing suite in one of tis plants in what is a significant breakthrough for the Cambridge company.

Fendt manufactures a wide range of agricultural tractors at the plant and has decided to rollout the project in the entire gear production hall following a pilot project.

Each of the gears is being equipped with a Ubisense tag, which provides automatic recognition of the gears being assembled as well as automatically detecting the entry into a work station, improving automation of the manufacturing process.

As well as the recognition of the value of the Ubisense product, Fendt is a brand of the AGCO Group with over 20 manufacturing plants worldwide and presents a significant further opportunity for Ubisense.

This win with Fendt is a significant vote of confidence in our location based manufacturing suite, said Richard Green, Ubisense CEO. Given AGCO Group’s extensive array of agricultural equipment brands, this represents an exciting opportunity for Ubisense.

New BP Research Centre in Cambridge

The Government has welcomed a series of investments by oil and gas companies that will launch a new research centre and, it is claimed, will create thousands of jobs.

Six separate announcements were made, including plans for new oil and gas fields in the North Sea under a £1.4bn project that should supply around 5% of the UK’s gas production from 2015.

The so-called Cygnus project, involving Centrica  , is expected to create around 4,000 jobs.

BP said it will open an International Centre for Advanced Materials to support science and engineering, spread across Manchester and Cambridge universities and Imperial College, London, as well as the University of Illinois in the US.

Around £60m will be invested in the project, which will create a number of new academic posts.

Other announcements include investment by Italian chemical producer Versalis at its Grangemouth site in Scotland, and recruitment of up to 50 new graduate staff by Oxfordshire-based geosciences business Neftex.

The news will be revealed at a business summit in London.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: The oil and gas industry’s immense contribution to our skills base, industrial capacity and strength as an exporter are pivotal as we rebalance our economy.

Today’s summit underlines the Government’s commitment to making the UK a great place for energy firms to do business, develop new technologies and recruit the best technicians and engineers.

Collaboration between business and higher education institutions is boosting the status of the UK as a driver of innovation and giving our firms a competitive edge.

I’m pleased that BP has chosen to partner with a number of our world-class universities to find new and more efficient ways of using and generating power.

Bob Dudley, BP’s group chief executive, said: Advanced materials and coatings will be vital in finding, producing and processing energy safely and efficiently in the years ahead.

Energy producers will work at unprecedented depths, pressures and temperatures, as refineries, plants and pipeline operators seek ever better ways to combat corrosion.

Manchester has world-leading capabilities and facilities in materials and it was chosen after a global search to act as the ‘hub’ of the centre, with ‘spokes’ in other university departments worldwide.

The summit is one of 18 organised by UK Trade and Investment to promote British business during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Isotera’sbattle for funding

Keeping on the lights: iSotera’s battle for funding




“I think we have met about every challenge that you can encounter in the funding process”, Marc Ottolini of iSotera

Marc Ottolini thought he’d have his hi-tech lighting startup bringing in money in next to no time, but of course it didn’t. Here he explains his struggle with waning investor interest, IP and personnel issues before clinching a remarkable deal.

“With what I know now, would I do it again?” asks Marc Ottolini, CEO of Cambridge-based iSotera, a company whose aim is to overcome the problems thrown up by the mind-boggling mix of different power supply options connected with lighting and providing one simple installation and control solution.

Spun out of Juice Technology and incorporated in August 2010, iSotera has spent the last two years working intensely to take what Ottolini calls a revolutionary intelligent lighting system to the brink of commercialisation, expected this summer.

The technology is a response to a rise in alternative power system architectures to the 50Hz Alternating Current (AC) that has dominated how electricity is fed into buildings for over a century.

iSotera’s work is based on the belief that High Frequency AC (HFAC) is the optimal way to provide electricity to the latest lighting technology: LEDs. It’s an all-in-one solution that combines power conversion, wiring, connectors and intelligent controls. Contactless power transfer makes it extremely easy, safe and fast to install and just as easy to undo.

According to Ottolini, the iSotera solution is also more efficient and durable than conventional systems, and uses about half the amount of material, making this a very sustainable solution, particularly when combined with highly efficient LEDs.

So, with what you know now, would you do it all again?
“What counts most is the size of the opportunity, and during this period our confidence that a huge opportunity is opening up for us has grown ever stronger. There is nothing as exciting as taking a business from cradle to greatness and with the funding in place I am confident we’ll now be able to do this.

“So, no, I don’t regret investing two years of my life in iSotera, but of course you always run the risk that you can’t get it funded and at some point have to give up. It is important that you draw a line for yourself as to how far you are prepared to go. However, you are not alone in this, you are taking other people along on the journey. With me a number of other people stuck out their necks and had a lot at stake, so over time the decision to call it a day gets ever harder.”

You say this round took longer than you expected. What caused this?
“There are several reasons for this. One is the changing tide in venture capital. Late summer 2010 we were close to agreeing terms with two institutional investors. Due to reasons outside our control the deal fell apart.

“We continued to target VCs as we knew a significant amount of money was needed to roll out the system in its full breadth and allow us to enter the European and US market simultaneously. By late 2010 it had become clear that pre-revenue cleantech VC-funding had largely dried up, so it was only in early 2011 that we started to engage with the Angel community.

“Another reason was that at that time the underpinning of the business case was still weak. A Proof of Market grant from EEDA enabled us to conduct market research that helped close this gap.

“Although we had scaled back our ambitions, the amount of money we were aiming for in this round was still high for an Angel-backed seed round, which meant we had to bring together a large group of Angel investors, which is a time consuming process. As time went by some investors who initially showed interest dropped off our list again.

“The same thing happened with an institutional fund which would provide matched funding. When they decided to close down we had to find a replacement (which turned out to be the Low Carbon Innovation Fund), which also took time.

“What also didn’t help was the complexity of the deal. Being a spin-out we had to negotiate simultaneously with the mother company and a diverse group of investors.

“Last but not least there were personnel changes, which had to be put to bed before the round could close. So I think we have met about every challenge that you can encounter in the funding process.”

How did you manage to put together such a wide, broad (in terms of investor types) syndicate?
“Part of this was energetically continuing to pursue investors. Investors like to see real commitment and I believe my tenacity contributed to investors’ confidence growing over time.

“The other factor was Qi3 Accelerator’s involvement. They made the introductions to London Business Angels and Surrey Investors Club and managed the communication and coordination with all syndicate members. This was a big job and I wouldn’t have been able to do this without them.”

What did the syndicate bring to the process besides cash?
“We are fortunate to have some very capable and experienced business people as investors. They will play an ongoing role in coordinating the syndicate and supporting me and my team as Board directors. Two institutional investors, Moonray and Synergy Energy, have also offered help in gaining market access, which is of great value.”

Were your fundraising efforts affected by the economic climate, how did you mitigate those factors?
“As previously mentioned, I think the main factor was the changing investor landscape. The outlook for the business itself isn’t really affected by the economic climate. Some trends actually work in our favour. One is the rapidly declining price of LEDs, which boosts growth of our target market. The other is the change of emphasis in many Western countries from renewable energy to energy efficiency initiatives. The Green Deal in the UK is an illustration of that.”

What were the key lessons you learned along the way?
“My main take-away is that in the present investment climate no matter how exciting your business prospects are you can’t jump the seed stage. Of course as entrepreneur you believe that your idea or product is the best thing since sliced bread and that investors should be lining up for the opportunity.

“Securing funding is selling and it starts with market research: which type or group of investors is likely to be attracted by my investment proposition? Over time that situation can change, just like any other market.”

Are there any challenges specific to cleantech startups?
“I believe that the main challenge is their exposure to government policies, which can be fickle. Markets that exist by the mercy of subsidies or other government incentives are risky, but as green technology tends to be more expensive (at least initially) it often is the only way to get it off the ground. As McKinsey’s greenhouse gas abatement cost curve shows, energy efficient lighting is one of the few green technologies which have their own economic justification and don’t depend on government incentives.

“It’s great to have a green product, but you can’t have your business model depend on it. At iSotera we emphasise the cost benefits for installers and end-users first, and ‘oh, by the way, we save energy and reduce electronic waste as well.’

“Another typical challenge for cleantech startups is that they tend to be relatively capital intensive, pushing out the cash breakeven point. This increases their risk profile for investors. I believe that iSotera is a happy exception in the sense that it is more capital efficient than most cleantech startups.”

Your tenacity was mentioned specifically by Qi3 Accelerator. Can you give any examples of how it played a role?
“Let me start with saying that I see tenacity as a key attribute of an entrepreneur. If you don’t have this in your veins, forget about starting a business. The birth of a business is always painful and normally goes through peaks and troughs, initially more of the latter than the former.

“With iSotera we went through several resets, caused by issues related to investors, the team and IP. In those difficult moments you have to show resilience in addressing the issues. People around you look at you. Does he still believe in it? If you don’t show confidence in those critical moments, things will fall apart. It is in those moments that you prove your mettle.”


Barak Maoz joins Light Blue Optics as CEO

Barak Maoz joins Light Blue Optics as CEO

Light Blue Optics (LBO) today announced that Barak Maoz, an experienced CEO and company builder, has joined Light Blue Optics, a leader in the field of Holographic Laser Projection, as CEO. Chris Harris led the Company from September 2007, leaving in August 2011 to pursue other options, having built a high quality team that have positioned Light Blue Optics to become a key player in the miniature projection and touch technology marketplace.

“I am delighted to join Light Blue Optics at this exciting time in its development and I look forward to leading the Company as it moves aggressively into a number of rapidly expanding application areas which fit well with the technology base they developed,” said Mr. Maoz.

“Barak’s proven leadership in driving new technologies to the marketplace through cooperation with key partners is very important to Light Blue Optics as we take our technology into larger consumer segments, such as Head Up Displays, interactive projected touch screens and more,” said Adrian Cable, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer.

“The Board is delighted that Barak brings more than twenty five years of a rich career in technical, operational, business and management roles in the worlds of semiconductors, electronic components and displays to Light Blue Optics. He has built technology companies as a venture capital partner and has designed ICs, managed technical teams, grown business units and served in P&L executive roles as the CEO in private and public companies on three continents and one island. Some of the world’s most renowned companies have been his customers and partners,” said Howard Ford, Chairman.

Barak enjoys working with technology companies and energetic teams, leading them from early days of searching for direction and first customers to the excitement of fast growth. Barak brings to Light Blue Optics the combination of strategic leadership with hands-on management, deep technology with venture capital finance and strong performance with a focus on the wide interests of all stakeholders.

Barak’s BSEE degree was earned in Israel and his MSEE degree as well as his MBA work was done in the USA.

Light Blue Optics is a privately-funded company developing and supplying miniature projection systems for use in high volume applications in markets including automotive, digital signage and consumer electronics.

Powered by our proprietary HLP™ technology, our products create bright, high-resolution images that are always in focus, work on all manner of surface, and can even respond to touch. We believe that HLP™ technology will soon become ubiquitous – seamlessly integrated into our homes, vehicles and personal devices, and changing the way we see and interact with the world.

Light Blue Optics is headquartered in Cambridge, UK. The Company is funded by a syndicate of investors including Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbHEarlybird Venture CapitalCapital-ENESTAChristie Digital Systems Canada Inc., Minaik, WhiteGold Fund Management and DFJ Esprit.

For more information, please contact:?
Nic Lawrence
?+44 (0)1223 428500?

Cambridge Chip talent drives $72million acquisitin

Cambridge chip talent drives $72m acquisition

Wide-reaching ARM beats analyst forecasts

Wide-reaching ARM beats analyst forecasts


ARM has beaten market expectations in its second quarter results having shipped two billion chips despite an industry wide fall of four per cent.

The company’s share price was up by over 41 pence to 526.5 pence a share as pretax profit for the period hit £66.5m, up 23 per cent from last year’s £54.2m, while revenues increased by 15 per cent from £117.8m in Q2 2011 to £135.5m this year.

Processor royalties grew by 14 per cent for the semiconductor firm, again in defiance of the seven per cent decline for the rest of the industry.

The company, whose chips are used in the vast majority of the world’s smartphones, said the strong performance was the result of new products from a range of industry partners, which is partly why ARM performed so strongly while Apple – who announced resutls yesterday – struggled.  

ARM did say that while Q3 would see a small revenue increase, Q4 figures would be harder to gauge due to a potential lack of confidence from consumers. However, it enters the second half of 2012 with a record order backlog and a robust opportunity pipeline.

1Spatial Selected as consultant to the Environment Agency

1Spatial Selected as consultant to the Environment Agency

Source: RNS

1Spatial is pleased to announce that the company has been selected as a specialist consultant for Data Standards and Quality by the Environment Agency. The appointment is in relation to its framework contract “Support for licensing public sector information and undertaking intellectual property reviews”.

With responsibility to protect and improve the environment and to promote sustainable development, the Environment Agency plays a central role in delivering the environmental priorities of central government in England and Wales. The Agency depends upon vast quantities of data and information to carry out its statutory duties and responsibilities. It also has to ensure that it adheres to European legislation that governs access and re-use of public sector information in a competitive market, including the future impacts of the INSPIRE Directive.

To help deliver its intended operational outcomes, the Agency formally tendered (via the Official Journal of the European Union) for specialist, expert support to deal with the complex issues that arise from providing access to public sector information.

1Spatial is a recognised global specialist in helping organisations ensure they can rely on their data. Its core business is focussed on a rules-based approach to capturing, validating and managing data, ensuring geospatially-referenced data is current, accessible, easily shared and trusted.

Thanks to the company’s specialist experience in ensuring that data can be relied upon, 1Spatial has been appointed to this framework to advise the requirements from the Data, Mapping, Modelling and Information (DMMI) Team within the Environment Agency’s Evidence Directorate.

Oxford to Bedford rail link to open in 2017 ..but Cambridge not in sight

Oxford to Bedford rail to open 2017 but Cambridge not yet in sight


Samsung Electronics Acquires CSR’s mobile business for $310m

Samsung Electronics acquires Cambridge Silicon Radio’s Mobile Business for $310million

Source: RNS

SEOUL–Samsung Electronics Co. (005390.SE), the world’s largest technology firm by revenue, said Tuesday that it has acquired the mobile technology business of a U.K.-based semiconductor design company, Cambridge Silicon Radio PLC (CSR.LN), for $310 million.

The acquisition is part of Samsung’s efforts to solidify its position in mobile processor chips and other components, amid rapidly increasing demand for smartphones and tablet computers.

While Samsung is a major vendor of smartphones and tablets, the South Korean electronics giant is also a major supplier of chips and other components used in mobile devices.

With the latest acquisition, Samsung said it will gain full access to CSR’s mobile connectivity and location technology as well as its relevant patents.

Samsung also said it will invest about $34 million in CSR’s ordinary shares in order to strengthen their business partnership.

By leveraging CSR’s research and development capability, Samsung will strengthen its application processor platform, said Stephen Woo, president of System LSI Business at Samsung Electronics.

The financial transaction is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of this year, Samsung added.

Amadeus windfall as Microsoft acquires Yammer

Amadeus windfall as Microsoft pays $1.2bn for Yammer



David Sacks, CEO of Yammer (left) and Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft shake on a $1.2bn deal that includes the Amadeus backed oneDrum

Amadeus’ first seed fund exit, oneDrum has just become a part of Microsoft following its $1.2 billion acquisition of Yammer, providing the Redmond computer giant with a credible social media arm and a major cloud challenge to Google Docs.

Popularly described as Facebook for enterprise, Yammer has been moved straight into the Microsoft Office division, one of Microsoft’s most profitable and best performing divisions. It is also the one under immense pressure from Google.

Microsoft Office is dominant in the enterprise sector, but its slow response to cloud-based offerings such as Google Docs is seen as a potential not-too-distant pit fall. Last year Microsoft demonstrated one effort to counter the challenge of Google Docs when it brought Office 365 out of beta.

That was greeted with a mixed response with reviews generally unsatisfied with its online, real-time working capabilities as well as the sharing options.

Yammer has the social networking capabilities in spades and in OneDrum, which Yammer acquired for an undisclosed amount in April this year, it has a file synchronisation and real-time collaboration platform for Microsoft Office’s most popular programs, Word, Excel and Power Point. Furthermore you don’t need new or special versions of the programs, instead it works with the existing software dating back as far as Windows XP 2003.

Amadeus Capital Partners will greet the acquisition as warmly as anybody having been the principal investor in oneDrum since its 2008 seed funding and the sale to Yammer represented the first exit for its £10m Seed Fund.

Alex van Someren, Amadeus partner and oneDrum non-executive chairman, said the deal was cut using a mixture of cash and Yammer shares so it could benefit from any future increase in Yammer’s value, which the Microsoft deal has provided and by at least double in just six weeks if reports from around the time of its February $85m fundraising are accurate.

The extent to which the deal has benefited Amadeus is not been disclosed, at least double perhaps if Yammer’s valuation has indeed moved from $500m/600m to $1.2m. Van Someren would only say that it has delivered a high-multiple return on investment to its investors.

Vix enables new smart bus ticketing app for Cambridgeshire

Vix Enables Stagecoach Smartphone Ticketing Trial

Source: Vix technology

Cambridge, UK, June 26, 2012. Transport operator Stagecoach Group has announced plans to trial a new Smartphone application developed by Vix.

The trial will allow a cross section of bus users to receive, store and validate their bus tickets using their mobile phone. The initial trial will be conducted on Stagecoach buses across Cambridgeshire including the Cambridge Park & Ride and Guided Busway services.

Stagecoach Group Finance Director, Martin Griffiths, commented “Smart phones are playing an increasingly important role in helping people manage their busy lifestyles and are already used across many areas of life. We believe this technology can also make public transport easier and more convenient to use. Once this trial is complete, we will carry out a review of the findings and assess the potential to expand the scheme further for our passengers.”

The application utilises near field communication (NFC) and has been developed on the Android platform. The Vix application is the only rail/bus application that provides a complete solution on the handset in the United Kingdom.

Using the application, passengers have the ability to purchase tickets on the bus or online, tag the phone against an electronic ticket machine in the same manner as traditional smartcards and view a full history of purchases and ticket status.

“We are delighted to have delivered this NFC application to Stagecoach and Everything Everywhere – a first in the UK mobility market.” Said Vix UK Region Director, Peter Eccleson.

Vix has also recently released a Real Time Information Services application available on a number of the popular mobile phone platforms, which allows users in the Cambridgeshire area to use this application to plan their journeys.

Bromium breaks cover on risk free computing – raises $26.5m Series B

Bromium breaks cover on risk free computing, raises $26.5m in Series B


Mike Lynch makes first angel investment since HP split

Mike Lynch makes first angel investment since HP split


David Excell, Chief Executive Officer, Featurespace

Mike Lynch has made his first public investment since the news broke that he is to leave Hewlett Packard, participating in a £1.5m funding round for Cambridge big data firm, Featurespace.

The former Autonomy CEO has invested in Featurespace before, as have Cambridge Angels and Cambridge Capital Group who were joined this time by new investor, Imperial Innovations.

Imperial Innovations led the round with a £750,000 investment, its third Cambridge investment from its £140m four universities fund, which has also seen it back Mission Therapeutics and Cambridge Communication Systems. The London-based group set up an office in the city at the beginning of the year to bring it closer to some of the companies targeted by .

Like Autonomy, Featurespace came out of a Cambridge University lab that focused on Bayesian based analysis and like Autonomy it analyses large data sets that already exist within companies. Featurespace though focuses on customer behaviour to help filter out fraud as well as to provide important marketing intelligence.

According to Featurespace’s VP Marketing, Jeremy Jones, the company will now use the money to ratchet up sales both in-house and through channel partners, and to make further advances on integrating the technology with customers’ individual data sets.

Featurespace says its technology has the potential to be widely adopted across the $10bn business intelligence market which it quotes as growing at 13.4 per cent per annum and the fraud detection market worth $270m, also with a 13.4 per cent p.a. growth rate.

This is not just about headcount, said Jones. We are strategically investing in development of the product, helping us get to market and reach the target customers.

We will be adding further predictive capability of the product and increasing the range of integration options for customers.

Jones was VP Marketing at Datanomic when it was acquired by Oracle last year while Lynch has very well documented experience in building a business from the ground up into a major world player. He has been a non-executive director on the Featurespace board for several years and continues to work closely with the company’s CEO, David Excell, according to its web site.

Featurespace was co-founded in 2005 by Professor William Fitzgerald at Cambridge University’s department of engineering and his former PhD student, David Excell, the firm’s CEO. It raised seed funding in 2008 and a £1m Series A round in 2010.

Jones says further funding is not currently on the roadmap, it hopes to grow off the back of sales. Existing customers include online betting web site, Betfair and IG Group, a leader in financial derivatives trading.


Springboard plans new hardware accelerator in Cambridge

Springboard plans new hardware accelerator in Cambridge


Springboard MD, Jon Bradford

Springboard is planning the launch of a new accelerator in 2013 that draws on the skills that have traditionally provided the bedrock for the Cambridge technology cluster: hardware.

The software theme that has always been at the centre of Springboard’s work will still be there, but by mixing it up with hardware, Springboard MD, Jon Bradford, hopes it will play to one of the city’s cores strengths, the production of ground-breaking kit and then the software that actually makes it usable.

It is this type of hardware and software mix that has seen Arm become the world’s leading supplier of mobile phone chips, that has made Ubisense Cambridge’s only high tech IPO in the last five years and that has made

Facebook out to lure Users and Developers with Bango Platform

Facebook out to lure users and developers with new Bango-based payment system


An example of a Bango-enabled Facebook purchase made easy

Facebook has launched a new mobile web payment system based on Bango’s billing technology that could finally help the company realise significant revenues from its mobile based apps.

By using the Cambridge software house to replace the arduous SMS verification process that users of Facebook on mobile web browsers have to go through with a ‘two-step’ process, the social network hopes that more transactions will take place, which will in turn entice more developers to produce potentially money-making apps.

According to Facebook CTO, Brett Taylor, mobile web is the single most popular method of accessing Facebook on mobile devices, accounting for more traffic than Android and iOS combined.

As a result the company is fully behind HTML5 as a mobile web standard not just because it should enable an equal user experience across all mobile devices irrespective of the operating system, be it Android, iOS or Windows, but it makes life easier for developers to produce cross-platform apps and to bypass the 30 per cent levy on revenues taken by Apple and Google through their app stores.

Bango’s deal with Facebook was originally announced in February this year. As with today’s announcement, back then no details were provided on how much the partnership would actually be worth to Bango, however, in the intervening weeks Facebook’s own situation has changed drastically.

In May Facebook listed on the Nasdaq stock market at a price many felt was too high. It subsequently saw its share price plummet by over 30 per cent and as a result faces massive pressure to show it can convert its massive popularity into comparable revenues.

One potential area for major improvement is mobile which has always been a chink in the social network’s armour, but with HTML5 and Bango’s new low friction payment process there may now be a viable fix.

Even the most sophisticated web browser won’t produce a great mobile web system ecosystem without a viable business model for developers and that means payments, said Taylor at this year’s Mobile World Congress. Right now the payment experience on the Mobile Web is broken for end users.

With SMS verification, the user typically has to first tap on the item he or she wants to buy and then wait for the SMS to arrive so the user can confirm it is their device and account. The code sent in the SMS must then be entered into a box on the device before they can get back to the game.

Most customers don’t get this far, said Taylor adding that with the new system it is just one step for confirmation. We think this experience can be as good or even better than the native platforms and by having a great developer experience we’ll be unlocking the business potential for mobile web which will incentives the creation of the mobile web ecosystem we all want to exist.

Facebook says the new payment flow is simple and requires no typing. Users who want to pay for a virtual or digital good in a mobile web app open the payment dialogue and confirm their purchase.

Bango’s share price rose 4.01 per cent to 155.5p a share following the latest announcement.

Biotech JV lands ?1m TSB grant

Biotech JV lands £1m TSB grant for drug target selection tool


Sareum raises cash to accelerate drug work

Sareum raises cash to accelerate drug work


Sareum plans to raise £227,500 through a new shares placing that the Cambridge biotech firm says will be used to accelerate its drug discovery work as well a provide working capital for the company.

Though placings were a popular fundraising technique in Sareum’s financial year ending 30 June 2011 – it raised £950k through three of them – it didn’t find the need for any in the 2012 financial year. However, we are now in the first week of the 2013 financial year and with the company still making a loss and cash in hand having dropped from £871k at this point in 2011 to £530k six months ago, it needs to cover its continued R&D spend.

The shares, which are expected to become effective on Monday next week, have been set at 0.85p, 5.6 per cent below their price at the start of trading this morning. The price has since dropped 0.02p – 2.8 per cent – to 0.88p. The placing will increase the number of Sareum shares in issue by over 1.8 per cent.

Aveva share price soars on record dividend

Share price soars as record revenues bring record dividends under new AVEVA strategy


AVEVA chief executive, Richard Longdon

AVEVA has raised its final dividend payment by 14 per cent following record revenue for the year, itself up by 13 per cent.

The computer aided design firm which is currently valued at almost £1.1bn thanks to a major hike in its share price this morning, up 12.5 per cent to £16.66 a share, brought in £195.9m of revenue for the year ended 31 March 2012. Pre-tax profit in the same period increased 16 per cent to £57.7m.

The AVEVA board is recommending a final dividend of 17.0 pence, which combined with the interim payment of 4.0 pence gives a full year dividend of 21.0 pence, an increase of 15 per cent over 2011.

AVEVA reorganised the company into two distinct business lines, Engineering and Design Systems and Enterprise Solutions. Engineering and Design is AVEVA’s core and accounted for 88 per cent of all revenue, up 11 per cent on the previous year.

While outgoing chairman, Nick Prest, said it is Enterprise Solutions which offers significant growth prospects and at £23.5m was up 24 per cent on 2011, AVEVA chief executive, Richard Longdon, said the strategy is for growth across all areas of the company.

The strong close to last year has put AVEVA in a very good position to deliver against our strategy and to continue our focused investment to expand the business in all areas, said Longdon.

Part of this growth will come from acquisitions such as LFM Software for £7.3m in October 2011 and the post-results purchase of Bocad for £14m.

Longdon added that he expected growth in the Oil & Gas industry to continue apace with its expanding presence in Mining while Power was set to provide a solid base of customers continuing to prepare for the growth in Nuclear. Marine, however, was expected to remain slow.

Geographically, AVEVA’s strongest growth has came in the Americas – 24 per cent – and EMEA – 21 per cent and the company reaffirmed its focus on the BRIC companies, with major plans outlined for India. We expect a continued strong performance in Latin America, a return to strong growth in China following the reorganisation and we are continuing to invest in developing a much larger organisation in India, said Longdon.

Against this backdrop, we are confident about the prospects for 2012/13.


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Google Boost for Rasberry Pi

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Raspberry Pi’s low-cost computer has received endorsement – and hard cash – from Google chairman, Eric Schmidt. Pic: dfarber on Flickr

Search giant, Google is to fund the deployment of the Cambridge designed low-cost computer, Cambridge Science Centre, a social enterprise planning to create a permanent hands-on science discovery centre in Cambridge blogged today it was also ‘adding Raspberry Pi,’ using them in the first instance, to add an extra layer of interactivity to its microscope exhibit.

Cambridge Science Centre is planning a ‘hack day’, this summer with the aim of “bringing together Raspberry Pi enthusiasts, researchers and exhibit builders to create some really creative ideas.”

Alert-me puts itself on the map with British Gas deal

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AlertMe has prevailed against stiff competition to land a strategically important deal with British Gas. The agreement will see it provide the utility’s smart meter customers with a personalised energy efficiency advice service.

 AlertMe’s cloud based home monitoring service will take data from the smart meters and provide the consumer with simple ‘actionable’ information on how their energy usage compares with other people in the street, for example, and how to reduce their use of energy. 

The service is free to British Gas customers and will be trialed in 10,000 homes in the summer, with a wider roll out starting in the autumn. British Gas is the UK’s largest supplier of domestic energy, serving 10 million homes and 15.9 million energy accounts.

The deal marks AlertMe’s first large-scale roll out of ‘Big Data’ services based on smart meter data according to the press release.

Smart meters allow users to keep track of how much gas and electricity they are using in real time. The government has ordered that all homes be fitted with the technology by 2020.

AlertMe co-founder,

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