MONTREAL, Feb. 16, 2021 – SPARK Microsystems, a fabless semiconductor company leading the way in ultra-low power, ultra-low latency wireless communications, announces the closing of a CDN$17.5 million equity financing to accelerate commercialization. Led by Cycle Capital, the round included new investors ND Capital (a Silicon Valley and Europe-based venture capital firm dedicated to disruptive technologies) and Export Development Canada, as well as existing investor Real Ventures and private investors. Proceeds will be used to fund high-volume manufacturing, sales ramp and expanded R&D for next generation products.
Industry veterans Dr. Sanjay K. Jha and Dr. Paul Jacobs reinvest in SPARK Microsystems
Former Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs and former GlobalFoundries CEO Sanjay K. Jha, both reinvested in the company as part of the round.
Dr. Sanjay K. Jha is the former CEO of GlobalFoundries Inc., the second largest semiconductor contract manufacturer in the world. Prior to that, he was the Chairman and CEO of Motorola Mobility Inc., a role he held until the acquisition of the company by Google in 2012. Before Motorola, Sanjay worked at Qualcomm for 14 years, finishing his tenure there as the COO of Qualcomm, and President of Qualcomm CDMA Technologies (QCT), the CDMA & computing chipset and SW division of Qualcomm. Sanjay holds a PhD (ECS), and D.Sc (Hon) from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, UK. In 2018, he was elected into the US National Academy of Engineering. He is an investor and board member of a number of private technology companies.
Dr. Paul E. Jacobs is the former CEO and executive Chairman of Qualcomm. During his tenure as CEO, Qualcomm’s revenues quadrupled and its market capitalization doubled. Dr. Jacobs is a prolific inventor with over 80 U.S. patents granted or pending in the field of wireless technology and devices. He is a board member of a number of private technology companies. He founded Berkeley’s Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation and was the university’s 2017 Alumnus of the Year. Dr. Jacobs is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
In conjunction with the financing, Cycle Capital’s Senior Partner Amit Srivastava also joins the Board of Directors. Earlier in his career, he led venture capital investments in the electronics sector at JP Morgan Partners and held key marketing and engineering management positions at Texas Instruments.
Recently, SPARK launched the SR1000 ultra-wide band (UWB) wireless transceiver ICs enabling a new class of short-range wireless connectivity applications including gaming peripherals and AR/VR headsets, smart home devices, and battery-less internet of things sensors. Within nine months after the launch announcement, SPARK Microsystems:
- Shipped tens of thousands of pre-production units to multiple customers
- Prototyped a next-generation wireless gaming hub with headset, mouse and keyboard in conjunction with a Tier 1 ODM partner
- Sold over 70 evaluation kits to companies designing wireless AR, VR, IoT and positioning products
- Delivered paid SoWs for advanced wireless products to multiple Fortune 100 companies
“In just four years since the Ecofuel Acceleration program, SPARK Microsystems was able to deliver a revolutionary low-power wireless solution to customers,” said Andrée-Lise Méthot, Founder and Managing Partner of Cycle Capital and Chair of the Ecofuel Accelerator. “Cycle Capital invests in companies that have a meaningful impact on climate change. We believe that SPARK will not only enable battery-less networks and dramatically cut power consumption across a wide range of emerging wireless applications but also reduce electronic waste going to landfills.”
“We are excited by the rapid customer adoption of the SPARK solution,” said Sanjay Jha, former CEO, GlobalFoundries and active investor. “The company engaged with multiple customers who will deploy millions of wireless devices in the coming years. SPARK’s technology significantly extends battery life for various Industrial IoT and consumer electronics including AR/VR, gaming and audio applications – enabling for new functionalities as well as improved performance. This financing puts SPARK in a strong position to meet the volume production requirements of those customers.”
“We are very pleased to have received this strong financial backing from Cycle Capital, as well as new and existing investors,” said Fares Mubarak, CEO, SPARK Microsystems. “This funding, coupled with many years of outstanding technical and operational leadership from the new Board members will help accelerate the commercialization of our UWB transceiver products into high-volume production and better position us to execute our growth strategy and expand in key markets.”
“We are excited to see our dream of creating such a differentiated wireless technology to address many markets and expand the usability of wireless devices taking shape.” said Dr. Frederic Nabki, Cofounder and CTO, SPARK Microsystems.
About SPARK Microsystems
SPARK Microsystems, a fabless semiconductor company, commercializes ultra-low power and ultra-short latency wireless platform for the Internet of Things revolution. The company was founded in 2016, now employs 40 people in Montreal and in the US, and anticipates doubling in size over the next 18 months including adding 15 sales and application engineers. SPARK Microsystems was elected one of the “10 Startups in the Spotlight” on the latest EETimes Silicon 100 list, received the 2019 Defense Innovation Award at TechConnect., and won the 2018 Nokia Open Innovation Challenge. For more info: sparkmicro.com
About Cycle Capital Management
Cycle Capital Management is an impact investor and Canada’s leading cleantech venture capital investment platform with AUM (assets under management) of CDN$0.5 Billion. With offices in Montreal, Toronto and Qingdao – in continental China – and a presence in New York and Seattle, CCM invests throughout North America and China in growth stage companies that commercialize technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, optimize resource use and improve process efficiency. Cycle Capital is the Founder of the Ecofuel Accelerator. For info: cyclecapital.com
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VP Sustainability, Investor Relations and Public Relations