XMOS XVF3510 processor mounted on a PCB. Image Credit: XMOS.
UK-based company XMOS, a fabless semiconductor company that develops voice solutions, audio products, and multicore microcontrollers capable of concurrently executing real-time tasks, has raised $19 million in its latest round of financing. The money is expected to be used to expand its global presence, including extra staff for its Hong Kong office, and attack the AIoT space.
The $19 million in funding is comprised of equity funding from XMOS' existing investors and a venture debt facility with Harbert European Growth Capital.
Looking After Shareholders With Venture Debt
We hear a lot of venture funding, but not much of venture debt. Venture debt is intended to help older and more established later-stage start-ups (e.g. XMOS, which is 14 years old) to secure access to capital without having to dilute value for their existing shareholders.
Commenting on the decision to use venture debt, XMOS CEO Mark Lippett said, “Venture debt is typically provided by companies who understand the business, like a venture capitalist would. Because you have to pay the money back, you don’t receive the dilution that an equity investor would bring. So it’s a question of when your business gets to the point where there’s not quite as much risk, then it [venture debt] is appropriate to optimise shareholder value.”
As well as supporting its growth, XMOS' funding will aid further development of its AIoT solutions portfolio. This will help to build on the company's decade-long experience in deep technology solutions for consumer-orientated devices and expand its products into a potentially disruptive and transformative market. It is anticipated that AIoT will create new digital services for smart homes, cities, and factories in the years to come.
David Bateman, the Senior Managing Partner at Harbert European Growth Capital, said, “We have structured our venture debt facility to help later-stage scale-ups just like XMOS gain access to capital without diluting its existing shareholders. We’re delighted to join XMOS in its drive to scale its existing business and position itself for the huge opportunity represented by the AIoT.”
According to Lippett, XMOS is planning to release the third generation of its silicon platform based on its proprietary XCORE architecture.
XMOS is a fabless semiconductor company that has its own proprietary microcontroller architecture. It was founded in 2005 out of the University of Bristol and secured Series A funding in 2007. XMOS refocused its product offering around voice in 2014. Alongside its voice processor chips, XMOS also provides software and development kits for OEMs that want to add voice interfaces to their products.