European News, January 2011


Qype’s New Round Includes Vodafone

The mobile apps market showed no sign of slowing as review website Qype secured €6.5 million ($8.6 million) to develop its mobile application business.

Vodafone Ventures, the venture arm of the mobile phone network, contributed €3 million ($3.9 million) to the round in a deal that will see a co-branded version of the Qype product pre-loaded on Vodafone devices, including like the BlackBerry and Android phones.

The rest came from Qype’s existing investors: Advent Venture Partners, Partech International and Wellington Partners. About a million people have downloaded Qype Mobile, which allows reviews of businesses, such as restaurants and bars.


Azzurro Attracts New Investors

German chip maker Azzurro Semiconductors raised €14.5 million ($19 million) of growth financing from new investors Emerald Technology Ventures, Wellington Partners and Good Energies. Existing investors Cedrus Private Equity and IBG Innovationsfonds also participated in the round.

The company produces gallium nitride-coated integrated circuits that Azzurro claims offer cost advantages over the sapphire-based semiconductors in LED lighting and other applications.


ISIS Sells Arvato at Tidy Markup

ISIS Equity Partners agreed to sell debt collection agency Credit Solutions to the outsourcer Arvato for £10 million ($15.5 million).

ISIS invested £4 million ($6 million) in Credit Solutions in 2005 on behalf of the Baronsmead Group venture capital trusts. Arvato is part of German media group Bertelsmann.

The sale follows ISIS’ last exit, when in June it sold database management company Occam DM for a solid return after investing £4 million ($6 million) in 2004.


Runa Makes Maiden Investment in OnAir3G

Moscow-based mobile startup OnAir3G raised $2 million in seed funding from Russia’s Runa Capital.

It was Runa’s first investment since its founding in August 2010. The firm is run by entrepreneur Sergei Beloussov and targets early stage cloud computing and mobile application developers. Stealthy OnAir3G is set to launch in the second quarter and is billed as a “voice-enabled mobile social networking platform.”


Aquamarine Power Wins New MoneyAquamarine Power caught the wave with £11 million ($17 million) of new money.

The technology venture unit of Switzerland based ABB committed £8 million ($12 million) to the financing and the remaining £3 million ($4.6 million) came from existing shareholders, including SSE Venture Capital, part of Scottish and Southern Energy.

The funds will accelerate the development of Aquamarine’s Oyster wave energy machine. The Oyster 2 is to be tested next year.


Spark Hires Albion

Technology investor Spark Ventures hired investment manager Albion Ventures to aid with its shift in investment strategy.

The Spark board announced in March a decision to realize its existing portfolio and focus new investments on lower-risk companies.

The board said that Albion’s experience with mature companies was a key draw and that a number of portfolio exits are in progress.


SuperSonic Secures Expansion Funding

Ultrasound pioneer SuperSonic Imagine completed a €34.5 million ($45.5 million) Series C funding led by Merieux Developpement.

New investors Canon Inc. and InnoBio also contributed, bringing to €15.5 million ($20 million) the amount raised from new backers. Existing investors Auriga Partners, BioAm, Credit Agricole Private Equity, Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners, IXO Private Equity, NBGI Ventures and Wellington Partners contributed €19 million ($25 million).

The funds will be used to accelerate R&D and penetrate key commercial markets as SuperSonic hopes to succeed in a medical imaging market dominated by General Electric, Siemens and Philips.


Russia’s RMT Wins Rusnano Backing

Russia based RMT, a maker of thermoelectric cooling equipment for integrated circuits and lazars, secured an investment of RUB150 million ($4.9 million).

The Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies, a Russian state instrument supporting the country’s nanotechnology industry, provided the funding. RMT also attracted a co-investment from venture firm S-Group Ventures. The money will go to develop more technically advanced production techniques, the company said.

Compiled by Alex Derber