Silverpeak advises fibre broadband network operator Zzoomm on £100m investment by Oaktree

Zzoomm was founded by industry veteran Matthew Hare, who launched rural broadband player Gigaclear a decade ago, and this year hired former Virgin Media and TalkTalk executive Richard Sinclair as its chief operating officer. The company has built a full-fibre network in Henley-on-Thames over the past 12 months and plans to expand to similar locations to build a telecoms company focused on market towns that need higher internet speeds. The Oaktree investment will fund a rollout to pass 1m homes with freshly laid fibre optic cables within five years.

Silverpeak was appointed due to its expertise in growth fundraising and connections with global investors. A range of infrastructure investors with strong interest in telecoms and tech infrastructure were approached. The deal team advised the company on the funding strategy and managed the process from start to finish.

Matthew Hare said: “Silverpeak has been at my side with huge dedication and provided very valuable support throughout the whole deal. They have created a lot of interest from investors, helped us to choose the right financial partner and skillfully negotiated the deal. The Board really trusted their advice”.

Pietro Strada, a Managing Partner at Silverpeak added: “It has been a pleasure to work with Matthew and the Zzoomm team and helping them bring in the right partner for the next phase of their journey.”

For more information please contact Pietro Strada: ps@silverpeakib.com

Oxbotica

We also advised Oxbotica on their successful £14m funding in their first institutional investment round in 2018. The additional investment coincides with the appointment of Ozgur Tohumcu as CEO joining from Tantalum and previously Ericsson, who will lead the business on its next chapter of development.

Oxbotica, whose mantra is “any vehicle, any environment, any time” customers include: driverless shuttle trials at Gatwick airport; driverless cargo pods at Heathrow airport; partnering with Addison Lee to bring self-driving taxis to London; and other sectors in every hemisphere.

Paddy MccGwire, Managing Partner at Silverpeak said “ This is our sixth transaction announced in eight weeks. It is great to see this iconic British HQ deep technology global business demonstrating the confidence of its investors so quickly. And I’d like to congratulate Co-Founder CTO Paul Newman, who also is the Director of the Oxford Robotics Institute, on being awarded the prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medal.

EFFECT Photonics

Silverpeak, the technology investment bank, acted as the exclusive financial advisor to EFFECT Photonics B.V., a leading developer of high performance DWDM optical components based on its optical System-on-Chip, on its Series B funding round led by Innovation Industries.

The funding round accelerates the ramp of its tunable SFP production line and the development of future technologies. EFFECT addresses the need for low-cost, wavelength-tunable optical transceivers with industrial temperature specification to be deployed within the next generation 5G mobile infrastructure, as well as in other networking applications. The global market demand for optical transceivers is expected to grow to $12bn by 2023, from $6bn in 2017 (Lightcounting, 2018).

Silverpeak worked with the company as financial advisor supporting it during the entire process: from the preparation phase, to identifying and contacting a global array of knowledgeable investors, to negotiating the deal terms, through to completion.

James Regan, CEO of EFFECT Photonics, said: “Silverpeak’s deep understanding of optical technologies combined with their relationships in the global investor landscape proved invaluable. They showed total dedication throughout the process and their expertise and advice were instrumental in closing this round of financing for our growth phase.”

Pietro Strada, Managing Partner at Silverpeak and leading the mandate, added: “We are proud to have worked with James and the whole EFFECT Photonics management team and Supervisory Board at this pivotal stage in the company’s trajectory. EFFECT Photonics is at the global forefront of ultra-fast optical integrated circuits and are well placed to take advantage of the huge opportunities in their space.”

Nard Sintenie, General Partner at Innovation Industries, said: “We are delighted to have invested in EFFECT Photonics. We believe that the company and the deal process benefitted from Silverpeak’s assistance and enjoyed working with them.”

Oxbotica

Silverpeak, the technology investment bank, acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Oxbotica, the autonomous vehicle software company, on a £14 million round of funding to support the next stage of its growth strategy. Funds were secured from three leading investors: IP Group plc, Parkwalk Advisors and AXA XL (formerly XL Catlin).

The autonomous vehicle software developer will use the funding to scale its activities in Europe, Asia and the US market, further accelerating Oxbotica’s sustained growth. Oxbotica’s customers include some of the world’s most prominent businesses in sectors including aerospace, automotive, construction, logistics and mining. Its software has been deployed across multiple industry-leading projects where the future application of autonomy is being trialled, such as with Ocado, at Heathrow Airport and on major city streets.

Based in Oxford, Oxbotica was founded in 2014 by Professors Paul Newman and Ingmar Posner. Oxbotica’s software uses the latest in computer vision, machine learning and artificial intelligence to enable vehicles to operate autonomously in any environment and on any terrain. This has made it an attractive solution for many enterprises looking to increase efficiency, productivity and safety.

Silverpeak worked with the company as lead advisor over six months to identify and contact a global array of potential investors creating a competitive selection.

Clive Scrivener, Chairman of Oxbotica, said: “Silverpeak ran a full process and provided us with a choice of investment options. We are delighted with the investment partners we have brought on board.”

Paddy MccGwire, the Managing Partner leading for Silverpeak added, “It was a pleasure working with a world class team. We are very impressed with the way Oxbotica has been built so far, and this funding will unleash the next stage of planned development. This is a truly exciting company.”

Paul Newman, Co-Founder of Oxbotica, said: “The domain-agnostic design of our technology, as well as its independence from external infrastructure such as GPS, makes it uniquely versatile across a range of industries. This has allowed us to trade from day one, attracting a significant blue-chip customer base.
“Together with our customers and partners, my fellow founder Ingmar Posner and I look forward to taking our technology – and our products – to the next level.”

Graeme Smith, CEO of Oxbotica, said: “We are on a mission to bring autonomous software to the world’s biggest markets. We have already seen extraordinary demand from a range of sectors and markets, with the successful deployment of our technology across a strong customer base over the previous four years.
“This injection of funds comes as we move the business into its next growth phase, enabling us to deliver our ambitious plans to scale our capabilities and international presence. To help us achieve this, we are very pleased to welcome our investors to the company and Jamie Vollbracht from IP Group on to our board.”

Jamie Vollbracht, Cleantech Partner at IP Group, said: “IP Group is extremely excited about Oxbotica; the company’s highly differentiated approach unlocks a wealth of opportunities. Impressively, by winning substantial contracts with major customers, Oxbotica has been able to fund activities to date without the need for investment. IP Group is therefore delighted to have been selected by Oxbotica as its investment partner as it looks to capitalise on the next phase of growth. I’m very much looking forward to working with the rest of the board and wider team to help capture the many benefits of this technology for all stakeholders.”

Gowling WLG, who have had a relationship with Oxbotica since the spin-out, were lawyers to the company.

UltraSoC

Silverpeak, the technology investment bank, acted as the exclusive financial advisor to UltraSoC, an independent provider of SoC infrastructure based in Cambridge, in its £5m funding round to drive continued deployment of its technology and realize its vision of embedding intelligent analytics capabilities into every silicon chip.

Atlante Tech leads a strong line up of new investors including Enso Ventures, Oxford Capital, and successful CEO & serial entrepreneur Guillaume d’Eyssautier, who join existing investors Octopus Ventures and South East Seed Fund (FSE Group).

UltraSoC’s semiconductor intellectual property (SIP) enables designers to easily and cost-effectively create complex SoCs (systems on chip) with built-in intelligence that continuously monitors and responds to real-world behaviour. This allows SoCs to optimize power consumption and performance and deal with security threats or safety breaches.

Successful development of the company’s debug tools and increased awareness of the technology’s potential benefits has meant a series of significant commercial engagements, with more in the pipeline. Amongst others, HiSilicon (Huawei), Imagination Technologies, Movidius (now Intel), and Microsemi have all licensed UltraSoC technology for use in their designs, delivering proven hardware-embedded benefits to their customers. To ensure these benefits are accessible to customers in all sectors across the globe, UltraSoC partners with leading names in the semiconductor industry including ARM, Baysand, Cadence/Tensilica, CEVA, Codasip, Lauterbach, MIPS and Teledyne LeCroy.

UltraSoC was named one of the 100 most exciting companies in the UK in the 2016 Mishcon de Reya CityAM “Leap 100” list, and nominated by Gartner as one of its 2016 “Cool Vendors”. It was recognized as “Best New Company” in the 2015 ELEKTRA Awards.

Silverpeak worked with the company as their exclusive financial advisor.

Rupert Baines, CEO of UltraSoC said: “Silverpeak were key in this process, to which they brought a unique understanding of our business and industry, their relationships with investors and strategic players, intelligent deal execution and structuring, and unflinching dedication. As an added benefit, we truly enjoyed working with them.”

Pietro Strada, the Managing Partner at Silverpeak leading the process, added: “UltraSoC has unique technology that is integral to the evolution of the most complex semiconductor chips: it offers a great investment opportunity. This deal has been successful due to the positive collaboration between the Silverpeak team and UltraSoC’s Board and CEO, whom we thank for the opportunity to advise them.”

HIG Capital

Silverpeak, the technology investment bank, acted as the exclusive financial advisor to H.I.G. Capital (“H.I.G.”) and the management of the sub-sea division of Xtera Communications Inc (“Xtera”) on the acquisition of substantially all the assets of Xtera, a provider of innovative and bespoke sub-sea fiber optic solutions. Silverpeak supported H.I.G. who provided debtor-in-possession financing to the Xtera debtors in connection with the Chapter 11 case.

Established in 1998 and based in the UK (Harold Wood, Essex) and the US (Allen, Texas), Xtera supplies un-repeatered and repeatered sub-sea systems, using high performance optical amplifiers to carry data. Under H.I.G.’s ownership, Xtera’s management and technical team will remain at the helm of the business, focused on successfully executing key existing customer contracts and expanding the business in the rapidly growing markets it serves with a clear roadmap of disruptive product launches.

Thanks to their longstanding relationship, Silverpeak were appointed by the management of the sub-sea business line as exclusive advisors to find a financial sponsor, identifying H.I.G. as the most suitable partner based on their knowledge of the optical communications sector and belief in the management team.  Silverpeak also acted as exclusive financial advisors to H.I.G. providing financial advice through all phases of the transaction and working closely with Carl Harring, Managing Director at H.I.G. Capital.

Stuart Barnes, VP & GM of Xtera Sub-sea commented: “We selected Silverpeak because of their in-depth knowledge of the tech space, and in particular optical communications.  Throughout the process, they provided a great combination of intellect and pragmatism, which yielded a great result.”

Keith Henderson, COO of Xtera added that “The Silverpeak team are dedicated professionals with in-depth relationships in the technology market: without Silverpeak we would not have found a financial sponsor who could work to tight timelines and successfully close our MBO.  Silverpeak assisted us flawlessly from the beginning to the end of the transaction.”

Pietro Strada, the Managing Partner at Silverpeak leading the process, said “Our sector knowledge and relationships secured the trust of the management team and allowed us to find a formidable financial sponsor in H.I.G.  This transaction was complex and intense: the team here did an outstanding job at addressing the execution challenges.  We are delighted to have assisted H.I.G. and management in acquiring Xtera. The new business offers differentiated technology to submarine cable operators and no doubt will become a market leader in the years ahead.”

m2fx

m2fx, a fibre-optic cable manufacturer has been acquired by PPC Broadband, a Belden company headquartered in Syracuse, New York, for an undisclosed sum.

Based in Framlingham, Suffolk, in the UK, m2fx’s first product was a fibre protection tube designed to prevent fibres from kinking. Since then the company has expanded into the fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) market with the Miniflex range of pushable fibre-optic cables. Other products include fibre cable designed for aerial deployment and low-friction duct for blown fibre installation.

‘This is a merger of two innovative companies which have complementary product lines,’ said Tom Carter, managing director of m2fx. PPC Broadband is a leader in cable and wireless broadband connectivity products, while m2fx specialises in fibre-optic cabling for the telecom market.

Belden, which acquired PPC Broadband in December 2012, is a market leader in the industrial components and fixtures industry, with revenues of more than $2 billion.

Over the coming weeks, m2fx branding will disappear as the company becomes part of the PPC Broadband family – although its product brands such as Miniflex and Quikpush will remain.

Silverpeak acted as lead advisor to the vendor shareholders, working with them to map the marketplace, prepare the company, identify and contact potential buyers worldwide, and negotiate the transaction through to final completion.

Anita Hamilton, Managing director of Linnaeus Capital Partners said “The Silverpeak team provided a proactive and efficient advisory sale service, which fully covered commercial, financial and legal issues.”