High-tech loudspeaker company Warwick Audio Technologies has secured a £1.25 million investment deal to take its innovative audio products to market. The company, which has its head office in Coventry and an engineering base in Ebbw Vale, has developed a flat, flexible loudspeaker that is thin, lightweight and low powered. It can be used in flatscreen TVs or audio panels, in car audio systems, or in public address systems and advertising displays.
Investors in the company include Finance Wales and business angels from FSE Investor Network, along with Midlands-based firms Mercia, Midven and Minerva Business Angels, and company directors. This funding round brings the total investment in the company since its inception in 2003 to £4.5 million. The investment will enable Warwick Audio Technologies to fully commercialise its operations, which include developing audio products for Original Equipment Manufacturers. Part of the investment will be used to market highly directional loudspeaker products developed under Warwick Audio’s subsidiary company, ZonarSound. These products include concealed ceiling tile speakers, suspended speakers and flat sound bars for use in public spaces where sound needs to be controlled. Busy reception areas, railway and bus stations or galleries and museums, for example, could all benefit from carefully directed sound that doesn’t overspill into surrounding areas.
Company Chairman, Derek Mottershead, says: “After many years of development this funding now gives us the opportunity to complete the commercialisation of Warwick Audio and establish a sound base for ZonarSound. We already have a number of products on the market and we believe there is enormous potential for growth. This investment will enable us to fully exploit that potential.”
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Notes to the editor Warwick Audio Technologies Warwick Audio Technologies is a UK-based technology company specialising in the development of flat and flexible loudspeaker (FFL) solutions for Original Equipment Manufacturers. The technology is applicable to audio applications in multiple fields and is designed for customers developing and manufacturing audio products for public or personal listening.
Finance Wales plc Finance Wales plc provides commercial funding to small and medium-sized businesses throughout Wales, enabling them to realise their potential for innovation and growth. A subsidiary of the Welsh Assembly Government, Finance Wales manages funds of more than £280million and has invested more than £130million through more than 2,200 investments. It has also leveraged an additional £332million in private-sector investment. In April 2009 the company launched a new £150 million commercial fund utilising investment from the European Investment Bank and EU through the JEREMIE (Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises) initiative. This was the first fund of its kind to be launched in Europe.
The FSE Group The FSE Group is an independent not-for-profit Community Interest Company whose purpose is to deliver growth funding and support to SMEs. The FSE Group also runs active Business Angel Networks and Investor Clubs to link growth businesses looking for equity with active Business Angel investors. In addition to its Fund Management activities, The FSE Group provides a range of services, including training, consultancy and assistance to SMEs and investors to access both funding and expertise.
Mercia Fund Management Mercia Fund Management (MFM) is a venture capital fund manager with over £19 million under active management. MFM provides investment growth capital for businesses with a range of funding requirements from pre revenue businesses looking to establish early commercial traction through to those seeking expansion or working capital that are trading profitably. A high proportion of its investments are in businesses with innovative technology. MFM also provides incubator accommodation at Forward House, Henley in Arden, and hands on support for businesses where appropriate. MFM is an FCA authorised and regulated fund manager under FSMA (FRN: 524856). www.merciafund.co.uk
Midven Midven Limited is a privately owned commercial venture fund manager with a successful track record of investing in and exiting from small and medium-sized enterprises. Midven manages five funds totalling over £74m under management. The funds have invested in a wide variety of sectors, including software, bio technology, healthcare, engineering, manufacturing and distribution.
Minerva Business Angel Network The Minerva Business Angel Network was formed by The University of Warwick Science Park in 1994. In addition to a large database of over 150 investors Minerva also operate 6 Investor groups who meet every month and are located in Coventry, Wolverhampton, Keele and Malvern Science Parks.