**Christie Digital and WhiteGold Fund Management join investor syndicate**
**Money to grow Gen 1 opportunity for interactive projector Light Touch™ and accelerate development of Gen 2 products for embedded applications**
Cambridge, UK, Monday 11 October 2010
Light Blue Optics (LBO) today announced it has raised US$13 million in funding. The money will enable LBO to continue building out market opportunities for its Gen 1 products – Light Touch™ and Light Work™ – and accelerate its Gen 2 product development roadmap for embedded interactive projection devices. This funding follows the Company’s previous Series ‘A’ extension of $15 million in July 2009.
The round was led by DFJ Esprit. Existing investors Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH, Earlybird Venture Capital, Capital-E and NESTA also participated and were joined by new investors Christie Digital Systems Canada Inc. and WhiteGold Fund Management (WhiteGold). Founded in 1929, Christie has established a global reputation as a leading manufacturer of display technologies and solutions for cinema, large audience environments, control rooms, simulation and education. WhiteGold Fund Management is a multi-strategy London-based family office.
Light Blue Optics first reference product, Light Touch™, was released at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 10) in January. Light Touch™ is an interactive projector that instantly transforms any flat surface into a 10″ touch screen, allowing users to interact with multimedia content in new and exciting ways. It brings a consumer electronics experience to completely new environments, enabling dynamic applications including multimedia ordering systems for restaurants, bars and hotels; wipe-clean, pathogen-resistant interactive displays for healthcare environments; and spill-proof virtual touchscreens in the kitchen.
Light Touch™ has LBO’s proprietary holographic laser projection technology (HLP™) inside, creating bright, high-quality WVGA resolution video images that are always in focus. Light Touch™ has its own media processor and operating system. Onboard wireless networking enables Light Touch™ to connect directly to the internet or electronic point of sale systems, opening up applications such as social networking, location-based services and electronic ordering.
Bob Rushby, Chief Technology Officer at Christie Digital Systems Canada Inc. said: “As a world leader in the electronic display industry, Christie was among the first to recognise the unique benefits of HLP™ technology and the vast market opportunity it represents. We’ve been engaged with Light Blue Optics for some five years now and are delighted to become investors at this exciting time as this opens up entirely new opportunities for electronic displays.”
Ekaterina Yakovenko, Managing Director and head of Private Equity division, WhiteGold said: “Light Blue Optics presented us with an opportunity to invest in one of the most exciting display technologies of recent times. From the moment we first used Light Touch™, we understood how this device revolutionises the way we interact with content. It’s a game changing technology and we’re pleased to join the existing investors of this visionary Company as they fast track their roadmap towards Gen 2 products that are even smaller, brighter and more efficient.”
Light Blue Optics’ CEO, Dr. Chris Harris said: “This $13 million financing round will enable us to continue to capitalise on the enormous customer interest in our first products Light Touch™ and Light Work™ whilst also driving ahead with our Gen 2 development programme for embedded products that deliver three times the brightness of a typical tablet screen using only half the power. These products have the potential to fundamentally change the way we see and interact with the world, bringing virtual touchscreens to every and any surface. Our customers, partners and investors are enabling us to realise that potential and our vision to become the world’s leading supplier of miniature projection systems.”
Notes to Editors:
Light Blue Optics (Light Blue Optics)
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 with a Development Facility in Colorado Springs, USA. The Company is funded by a syndicate of investors including Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH, Earlybird Venture Capital, Capital-E, NESTA, Christie Digital Systems Canada Inc., WhiteGold Fund Management and DFJ Esprit.
For more information, please contact:
Director of Communications
+44 (0)1223 428525
Christie Digital Systems Canada Inc. is a global visual technologies company and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ushio, Inc., Japan, (JP:6925). Consistently setting the standards by being the first to market some of the world’s most advanced projectors and complete system displays, Christie is recognised as one of the most innovative visual technology companies in the world. From retail displays to Hollywood, mission critical command centres to classrooms and training simulators, Christie display solutions and projectors capture the attention of audiences around the world with dynamic and stunning images.
WhiteGold Fund Management (www.wgfm.co.uk)
WhiteGold Fund Management is a multi-strategy London-based family office co-founded by Denis Nagi. We aim to provide flexible solutions for our investors, allowing them to take advantage of our extensive proprietary deal flow to achieve strong returns.
One of our key investment focuses is Private Equity – we provide capital to companies at various phases of development, from early to growth stage. Our investment enables entrepreneurs to build their businesses and create value.
WhiteGold was launched in London in September 2009. Our sister company is Moscow-based SiTek-Invest, which provides asset management services in Russia. Through our dual presence in London and Moscow, we bridge East and West, enabling us to take advantage of the best of both markets.
DFJ Esprit (DFJ Esprit)
DFJ Esprit is a leading cross-stage venture capital firm that invests in European technology companies. Members of the DFJ Esprit team have been active in technology investing for three decades. They have experience of investing in over 200 companies, generating strong returns for investors through building valuable global companies alongside founders and management teams.
The DFJ Esprit partners have invested and helped build many of Europe’s most successful venture companies of recent years, including Apatech, Buy.at, Alphamosaic, KVS, CSR, Blackspider and Domantis. DFJ Esprit is the exclusive European partner for Silicon Valley based Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) Global Network of venture funds. DFJ Esprit is currently investing from its newest fund DFJ Esprit III, which has been supported by leading institutional investors including Finnish Industry Investment, Harbourvest, LGT, Partners Group, JP Morgan, several corporates, the EIF and the UK Future Technologies Fund. DFJ Esprit invests across Europe and has partners located in London, Cambridge, Dublin, Helsinki and Paris. For more information go to http://www.dfjesprit.com/home
Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH (www.rbvc.com)
Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH (RBVC) is the corporate venture company of the Robert Bosch GmbH, one of the largest private companies worldwide with more than €45.1 billion ($60 billion) of sales. Founded in 1886, Bosch is a leading global supplier of automotive, industrial technology, consumer goods and building technology.
RBVC invests in start-up companies either directly or via venture capital funds on a worldwide basis. Investment focus: Technology companies along the line of Bosch current and future business. RBVC provides capital for minority stakes in start-ups from early to expansion stage.
Capital-E is an early stage venture fund focused exclusively on micro- and nanoelectronics related ventures in Europe. We help initiate and grow businesses with venture capital, sound advice and access to a broad industry network and research ecosystem. Through its entrenched relationship with IMEC, the largest independent research centre in micro- and nano-electronics in Europe, the fund and its ventures can directly rely on the support of over 1500 specialised scientists and engineers, as well as leverage on IMEC’s 500+ worldwide industrial partners such as NXP, Infineon, STMicroelectronics, Intel, Panasonic, Texas Instruments, Samsung and TSMC to speed up the process of market entry. The fund is managed by an independent team with a balanced mix of entrepreneurial, industrial and VC experience.
Earlybird Venture Capital was established in 1997 and is one of the most successful European venture investors with over €400M under management. Earlybird invests in innovative, fast growing companies with outstanding management teams and high growth potential on international markets within the sectors software, semi-conductor technology, information and communication technology, internet based services, cleantech and medtech. Earlybird’s portfolio currently includes more than 20 companies in seven European countries. Since inception Earlybird has invested in more than 58 companies.
Earlybird supports and accelerates entrepreneurial success while offering entrepreneurs profound experience in setting up young businesses and supporting companies from the cradle to profitability. Six of Earlybird’s technology companies have floated on four different European stock exchanges: Interhyp, Tipp24, Wilex, Esmertec, Entelos and NoemaLife. Additionally, Earlybird successfully sold its shareholding in element 5, Identify, Alantos, AbaXX, amaxa, dooyoo and Purple Labs.
NESTA is the National Endowment for Science, Technology & the Arts. Its mission is to transform the UK’s capacity for innovation. NESTA Investments has the largest portfolios of early-stage businesses in the country and is a leading authority on how to grow new ideas. We have strict investment criteria, and work with companies that have high potential for growth, are at seed or start-up stage, and have the potential to attract syndicated support. When we do invest, we aim to maximise our investment by assigning mentors, part-time managers or specialist support. We also stimulate imaginative solutions to pressing social issues and shape policy to help the UK meet its national innovation challenges