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Irish chip designer Decawave raises €4m in funding


Jim O'Hara

Jim O'Hara

Jim O'Hara

Decawave, a Dublin-based developer of semiconductors that are embedded in products so they can be precisely located, has raised about €4m in its latest funding round, the Irish Independent has learned.

It brings the total raised by the firm to $30m (€26m) since 2007. The fresh finance will be used to accelerate its R&D programme for a next generation of location chips that are being targeted at the consumer sector.

Decawave marketing manager Mickael Viot said that the company plans to hire around 10 people to add to its existing 43-strong workforce. The new staff will primarily be focused on research and development.

Among Decawave's non-executive directors is former Intel Ireland general manager Jim O'Hara.

Headed by chief executive Ciaran Connell, Decawave also raised about €4m last year from existing investors.

Mr Viot said that the latest funding round - which closed just this week - saw new angel investors and existing backers commit fresh funds to the firm.

Existing investors in the company include financier Dermot Desmond's IIU vehicle; private clients of Bank of Ireland; the well-heeled Charnov family in Texas; Korean consumer electronics giant LG; and France-based SC Partners.

Mr Viot said Decawave launched its innovation kit last year, which enables companies to develop their own products incorporating the existing Decawave chip. He said that 1,000 of those kits have now been sold.

The company is also working with a major client in the automotive industry and is currently engaged in a process to secure relevant validation for the use of the Decawave chip in the sector. It's also understood to be working at marrying its technology with drones.

The latest set of accounts for Decawave, for 2013, show that it lost €4.4m that year. However, apart from raising €4.2m from European and North American investors last year, it also received €1.5m under a licensing agreement.

Mr Viot insisted that Decawave didn't need to raise funding this year to shore up its balance sheet, but only did so to speed up development.

He said additional funding would be raised next year for the same reason, although the company is expected to be at a cash break-even position by the beginning of 2016.

It's the second Dublin chip design firm to raise money in the past few weeks. In April, Movidius raised €38m in what was one of Europe's biggest funding rounds this year.

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