Redmere raises $8.2m for expansion

12th October 2006

RedMere Technology, a Louth firm developing chips for high-definition television, will launch its first products next year after raising $8.2 million from investors.

Peter Smyth, the founder and chief executive of RedMere, said the firm’s technology was in trials with customers and it would record its first revenues next year. The two-year-old company expects to double its staff numbers in Ireland to 40 people by the end of next year.

Those staff are mainly involved in the research and development of RedMere’s chips for high definition multimedia interface (HDMI) devices, such as televisions and media centres. The firm is also hiring sales and marketing staff in the US and Asia to be close to customers.

Canadian investor Celtic House Venture Partners contributed $6 million of the $8.2 million.

Irish venture capitalists 4th Level Ventures and Enterprise Equity also participated and Enterprise Ireland and RedMere’s seed round investors also reinvested. Smyth would not comment on what stake the investors had taken in RedMere or the valuation attached to the firm.

‘‘Considering this was a first round of funding, on foot of seed investment, we are very happy with the deal. It will bring us well past our next set of milestones.”

The most important of those milestones will be the launch of the first RedMere products next year, according to Smyth.

‘‘The predictions for the market for HDMI have proven to be true and the adoption of the technology has been wholesale,” he said.

‘‘We are nicely poised to launch our technology and go to market in 2007.” Smyth would not comment on how long the new funds would last at RedMere, but said it typically cost between $25 million and $40 million to build a chip company, depending on the market.

HDMI is the new connection technology for televisions and other audio visual devices, replacing the scart cable.

Smyth said the company’s technology addressed issues of reliability, price and power associated with the volume and speed of information being handled.

cost between $25 million and $40 million to build a chip company

Smyth said that the company had gone after ‘‘an early revenue market’’, but its technology had several possible applications, including uses in storage and networking.

The company is a so-called fabless operator, and its chips will be made by a manufacturer in Taiwan. Smyth said that RedMere started the fund-raising process about a year ago and quickly identified Celtic House as ‘‘an ideal partner’’.

It has about $500 million under management and is building a portfolio of chip company investments. RedMere is its first Irish investment.

Two partners in Celtic House, Roger Maggs and Brian Antonen, have joined the board of RedMere. The company is chaired by Kevin Fielding, a venture capitalist and former chief executive of Parthus Technologies, the Dublin chip design firm now known as Ceva.

‘‘Any problems that we might hit, they have seen before,” according to Smyth. He said that the Irish funders, 4th Level Ventures and Enterprise Equity, had ‘‘consistently shown interest’’ in RedMere and Enterprise Ireland had been ‘‘supportive in every way’’.

Smyth was previously vice-president of business development at Ceva. John Horan, chief technical officer of RedMere, led a technical group at Ceva, while Declan Farrelly, the product development director, was a senior executive at multinational chip firm Agere.

Sunday Business Post – 15th October 2006