2013 has been a year of improved conditions for investment, fund raising and exits, though markets remain prey to fear of the effects on the global economy of any reduction by the Federal Reserve of its monetary stimulus programme.
The majority of our companies have grown well through the year, meeting or exceeding their targets, launching new products, expanding sales and, in many cases, geographical range. Both the US and Europe have seen strong venture exits, particularly in the US where the market for technology IPOs has been robust – and there is a healthy IPO queue for 2014.
The threat of stultifying regulation has receded and Europe’s policy makers have embraced the importance of venture capital in the financial ecosystem. This was particularly evidenced by the European Venture Capital Funds Regulation (EuVECA), passed by the European Parliament in July, which allows managers of most VC funds exemption from the full AIFMD regime and enables them to market individual funds to potential investors across the EU. Anne Glover, as the 2012-2013 chairman of the EVCA Venture Capital Platform Council, was one of the team that worked hard to bring this about and Amadeus has been one of the first fund managers to take advantage of the Regulation for some of its new funds.
On the technology front, 2013 was another year where mobile technology dominated the tech headlines. The battle for smartphone dominance continued to rage between Apple and Google, with Microsoft showing negligible traction and BlackBerry all but dead. Entrepreneurs responded to this market pull with apps and services to meet every need from consumer health monitoring to enterprise resource planning. The tablet market is only three years old but this next chapter of the fight for computing platform dominance has already claimed two victims: desktop and laptop PCs. The global shipments of tablets surpassed that of desktops in late 2012 and laptops in early 2013. This is clearly another market where entrepreneurs have eagerly embraced the opportunity to build products for this new computer paradigm. In 2014 we are sure to see more great opportunities to back entrepreneurs empowered by platforms that disrupt older technologies.
As we go into a new year, we have promoted two members of our team to Partners: Jason Pinto and Pat Burtis. Jason and Pat have both contributed much to the firm in the past few years and both will be working on investments for our new global fund, the Amadeus IV Digital Prosperity Fund (see below).
We are grateful to our investors, advisers and the fantastic management teams of our portfolio companies for making 2013 another interesting and successful year and we wish you all a productive and profitable 2014.
Some highlights of 2013
Fourth generation of Amadeus funds
In July, we announced the First Close at $76.5m of the first of our fourth generation of funds, the Amadeus IV Digital Prosperity Fund, which will invest in technology companies – based anywhere in the world – that sell products and services to consumers and businesses in developing countries. The cornerstone investor in this new fund is one of the world’s top ten mobile operators, MTN, with whom Amadeus worked closely to define an investment thesis focusing on “mobile first”. This thesis derived initially from Amadeus’ analysis of 20 of its current portfolio companies providing products and services to customers in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
At the end of the year, we held a First Close on the Amadeus IV Early Stage Funds, a programme that will invest in UK seed and early stage companies developing disruptive technologies in sectors including ‘big data’ analytics, cloud computing and cyber security, low power computing and the ‘internet of things’ and medical technology and digital healthcare.
Amadeus backs leading dialysis technology company, Bellco
In February, Amadeus joined Montezemolo & Partners as an investor in Bellco, one of Europe’s leading and most innovative developers of haemodialysis equipment used in the treatment of kidney disease.
Bellco specialises in sophisticated products for extra-corporeal blood filtration and has plants in Italy and France and subsidiary operations in Spain, Belgium, Sweden and Canada. Amadeus Partner, Andrea Traversone, said: “This is a highly innovative technology company with a long track record and an enviable reputation for consistently high-quality therapies. Bellco’s products have the potential significantly to improve chronic haemo-dialysis worldwide and to revolutionise the acute dialysis sector with unique, patented therapies for life-threatening conditions.”
Nomad Digital expands into German rail and bus market and wins ScotRail contract
In March, portfolio company Nomad Digital, the world’s largest provider of intelligent connectivity for the transport sector, acquired all the assets and contracts of Inova Multimedia, a German based provider of information, entertainment and CCTV systems on public transport. Inova’s customers include Bombardier, Siemens, Alstom, BLS and NBC Universal and the company has installations in Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, Greece, Malaysia, Switzerland and USA.
In July, ScotRail chose Nomad Digital to install wireless connectivity on all of its new Class 380 fleet of electric trains, which are expected to offer free WiFi to customers by Spring 2014.
In September, Nomad was ranked for the third consecutive year in the Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 (the UK’s fastest growing tech companies) and in December, Tech City UK’s Future Fifty announced Nomad as one of the selected high-growth companies for its 2014 programme, providing government and private sector expertise with the aim of driving expansion in the UK’s most promising technology companies.
Nomad’s great year was capped with an announcement by First Great Western of an agreement for Nomad to fit WiFi in all 53 of First Great Western’s High Speed Trains and Night Riviera Trains by the end of 2014.
Customer analytics pioneer, ClickTale, attracts $17m
In April, Amadeus led a $17m investment round in ClickTale, a market leader in Customer Experience Analytics (CEA). ClickTale’s products enable businesses to review and analyse the detailed behaviour of visitors inside their web pages, including exactly where on each page users navigate and where they hover, without compromising personal information. The analysis derived, enables clients continually to adapt their websites and maximise their online performance as never before. Amadeus Partner, Richard Anton, said: “ClickTale highlights the attractions of companies that underpin successful internet-based businesses and illustrates the compelling strengths of the Software as a Service business model.”
In October, ClickTale was listed #6 in Deloitte’s Israel Technology Fast 50.
Aepona acquired by Intel
In April also, cloud-based network solutions company Aepona whose largest venture investor was Amadeus, was acquired by Intel Corporation. The announcement came shortly after Aepona’s award-winning Monetization Platform had been chosen by Vodafone India to connect the company’s network services across India, enabling Vodafone’s business partners to reach and bill its 147 million plus mobile subscribers.
Co-founded by Dublin-based serial entrepreneur Gilbert Little, Aepona has offices in Belfast, Bristol, Wicklow, Denver, California and Sri Lanka. Amadeus first backed the company in 2003 and had consistently supported its growth bringing in a number of corporate investors along the way. Amadeus Partner, Andrea Traversone, said: “Aepona is one of the most innovative wireless technology companies founded in Europe and we are proud to have been part of its development. The company’s technology is key to Intel’s mobile strategy.”
Covestor‘s growth underpinned with $12.75m B round funding
In June, Amadeus supported the second round funding for Boston, USA – and London-based portfolio company, Covestor. The company’s pioneering platform enables investors to compare and select from a transparent marketplace of money management talent that includes respected portfolio managers and seasoned investors. Covestor’s Portfolio Sync technology automatically replicates trades, offering clients the convenience of “set and forget” functionality and the protection of Covestor’s proprietary trade filtering. Amadeus CEO, Anne Glover, said: “Covestor has made great strides since we first invested, using proprietary technology to connect individual investors seeking higher than market index returns with carefully selected portfolio managers who share that goal.”
ip.access achieves market share leadership position in small cells
Small cell innovator and manufacturer, ip.access, saw huge growth from its dual approach to the market. Through direct sales of its end-to-end small cell system and the sales of the Cisco-branded small cell access point – built using small cell components and software from ip.access, the company achieved a 36.4% share of the total global market in Q3 (according to Infonetics’ quarterly report).
Ip.access provides its Service Provider customers with a range of small cell solutions across all technologies (2G, 3G, and 4G), alongside an end-to-end deployment, integrating small cell access points with converged access gateways and comprehensive network management and performance tools. This enables ip.access customers to manage the economic challenges of ever-more demanding coverage and capacity requirements.
Unruly consolidates position as world’s #1 social video marketing platform
In May, social video advertising technology company Unruly announced its acquisition of Shareifyoulike, the leading German platform for social video advertising. Unruly’s rapid international expansion is meeting growing demand from brands and the company now has 10 offices worldwide, including four in the US.
In September, Unruly, launched the industry’s first Dynamic Creative Optimization tool, which enables brands and their agencies to determine, through a unique set of algorithms, the most viewed of their videos and to optimise delivery of that video to viewers. CTO Matthew Cooke said: “Dynamic Creative Optimization is hugely successful in online display advertising; we are pleased to be bringing its dramatic impact on campaign performance to social video advertising.”
In December, Tech City UK’s Future Fifty announced that Unruly, alongside Nomad Digital, was selected for the 2014 programme providing government and private sector expertise, to drive expansion in the UK’s most promising technology companies.
Nujira ramps up production
In October, Nujira raised a further $12m to ramp up volume production of its Coolteq.L chip, which significantly reduces power consumption in mobile handsets, especially smartphones. Nujira announced the first commercial chip for its Coolteq.L product in February at the GSMA Mobile World Congress.
ForeScout changes the game for network security
In October also, ForeScout Technologies, a leader in pervasive network security solutions, introduced its ControlFabric Technology Partner Programme. This will allow ForeScout to collaborate more closely with industry-leading hardware and software vendors and to align ForeScout’s own CounterACT™ with partner solutions. The new programme builds upon the company’s over 60 existing integrations and some 30 technology partners, including new members Motorola, Palo Alto Networks and Splunk Inc.
Celltick launches personalised, customisable Android interface
Also in October, mobile commerce company Celltick announced Start, which enables Celltick’s partners, including leading mobile carriers and media companies such as Yahoo! ESPN and IG Brazil, to engage with their customers on the start screen of their mobile devices. For the customer, the ability to customise and personalise everything on Start is a big attraction, while the interface also incorporates a recommendation engine and uses collaborative filtering to individualise initial configurations and to offer recommendations.
CBNL upgrades and expands MTN Nigeria’s network
In November, Cambridge Broadband Networks (CBNL) announced new contracts with MTN Nigeria to upgrade and expand the capacity of MTN’s 3G network across the country. CBNL will supply, install and commission its new VectaStar backhaul equipment to improve MTN’s quality of service to over 47m users.
XMOS: new products, new partnerships
Fabless semiconductor company XMOS has launched several new products through 2013. In June, the company announced a partnership with Innovatech, to expand its sales in North America. In October, one of XMOS’ products was selected by Sony for its new PHA-2 portable headphone amplifier. XMOS also announced a partnership with Silicon Labs which has enabled XMOS to integrate the world-leading energy friendly ARM® technology into its xCORE™ multicore microcontrollers. The result of this integration is a new wave of programmable system-on-chip products (SoCs). XMOS has also had huge success with its free StartKit developer board promotion, which received almost 10,000 applications in its first six weeks.
In early December, CEO Nigel Toon toured China with the Prime Minister’s UK trade delegation and XMOS announced a $14m funding, in which Amadeus participated. The funds will be used to support further international expansion in 2014, including a sales office in Japan and a new support centre in Shenzen, China.
TrialReach expands client base and reaches over 100m patients
Clinical trials platform, TrialReach, has added several of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies to its roster of clients and formed important US and UK partnerships this year, with Healthline.com and EverydayHealth Patient.co.uk and Ask.com. Together, these have taken the platform to 100m users. TrialReach has also launched a self-service platform, which is set to transform the way clinical trial information is presented to patients. Forbes noted that “TrialReach is democratising clinical trials by bridging the gap between patients and medical researchers”. The company raised a £2m B round of financing to support its rapid growth.
Qinec consolidates key partnerships in healthcare
Healthcare CRM, Qinec, has deepened its partnership with a top global healthcare group and is preparing to run their entire outpatient network in the UK as well as launching new patient portals. It has also successfully signed on global infertility group Repin and multinational clinical trials specialist Synexus, thereby establishing Qinec as the premium system for enterprise healthcare. In the process, the company has doubled its customer acquisition rate while maintaining a zero churn track record. Preparing for new product launches and international expansion, Qinec raised a £1m round of financing to support this rapid growth.
Engaging in the wider world
Anne Glover this year became Chairman-elect of the European Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (EVCA), assuming the Chairmanship in June 2014. Anne has been closely involved in EVCA’s work for many years, both during and following her 2004-2005 chairmanship of the British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (BVCA).
Alex van Someren has become a member, by invitation, of the Royal Society CyberSecurity Research Steering Group, a body of ten experts established to identify the major cyber security challenges of the next 5-10 years and the policy frameworks needed in the UK to tackle these.
COO, Alastair Breward continues as a member of the BVCA’s Legal & Technical Committee. Alastair has been closely involved in popularising the BVCA’s model to streamline venture investment procedures, as well as working to tailor effective ESG processes between LPs and GPs to venture investment.
Lastly, in 2013, Hermann Hauser completed a ten year mandate as a member of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology during which time he authored a paper that resulted in the creation of seven ‘Catapult Centres’, which support the translation of innovative UK and global research into commercial activity. The UK entrepreneurial ecosystem has already received significant benefit from this initiative, by attracting major corporate research centres to our shores.