Ember Closes $25M for ZigBee

Ember closes $25 million in new financing; Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe is named company chairman

September 30, 2004

3 Min Read

BOSTON -- Ember, a developer of wireless semiconductor solutions and ZigBee(TM) Alliance promoter, today announced it closed an additional $25 million in funding, led by Vulcan Capital, the investment group of Paul G. Allen. Joining Vulcan in this latest round are new strategic investors ChevronTexaco Technology Ventures, Hitachi Ltd. and WestAM. Existing investors Polaris Venture Partners, DFJ New England, GrandBanks Capital, RRE Ventures and DFJ ePlanet Ventures also participated in the round, bringing the total capital Ember has raised to $53 million. CIBC World Markets served as financial advisor to the company for this round.

Ember also announced that Bob Metcalfe, father of Ethernet, founder of 3Com, and now Polaris Ventures partner, will become the new chairman. Outgoing board chairman and Ember co-founder, Robert Poor, will focus on researching new technologies and evangelizing Ember's message in business and industry forums.

According to Poor, Metcalfe's appointment to company chairman is perfectly timed as the company transitions from startup mode to a well-established market leader with real customers and proven technology. "As Ember continues to experience strong, sustained growth, Bob's reputation and experience is a tremendous asset at this stage of Ember's evolution."

"I see parallels between ZigBee and Ethernet," said Metcalfe. "As Ethernet has connected millions of computers, Ember's technology has the potential to network-enable billions of devices that previously couldn't communicate. The company's early commitment to ZigBee will further accelerate the adoption of Ember's wireless mesh network solutions in the marketplace."

With a large influx of new customers, distributors, partners and employees, Ember also announced it will relocate its corporate headquarters to 343 Congress Street in Boston to support its fast growth and expansion. In addition, Todd Miceli joins the company as its new chief financial officer rounding out Ember's management team.

Investors are excited about Ember due to the potential of its embedded wireless network technology, which is helping to create an "Internet of things" by enabling billions of devices to support low-cost, low-power networking applications in any industry. Ember is also committed to standards-based solutions, exemplified by its role as lead promoter of ZigBee. The market for low data rate, low power networking devices like Ember's will grow 47.4 percent between 2003 and 2007, from just over $1 billion to $8 billion in component revenue, according to the Wireless Data Research Group.

"Of the more than eight billion microcontrollers built into products every year, less than two percent are network-enabled," said Steve Hall, director at Vulcan Capital, who joined Ember's board in conjunction with the financing. "That's an enormous opportunity for Ember as companies realize the advantages of linking microcontrollers into monitoring and control networks. We believe Ember's seasoned executive team and substantial customer traction have well positioned the company to be the market leader in the space."

Ember's solutions replace expensive, inflexible wired networks with self-healing and configuring wireless networks in a wide range of applications such as home control, building and industrial automation, cold chain monitoring and infrastructure security. Ember's chip architecture is the IEEE 802.15.4 "golden suite" on which ZigBee-based wireless semiconductors are judged for interoperability and standard compliance.

"Ember is ramping up volume business now with real customers in real deployments," said Jeff Grammer, Ember's CEO. "We've established a global ecosystem of solutions and partnerships to give OEMs a fast and sure way to jump into this exciting new market. Having such marquee investors backing us is tremendous validation for our company's vision."

Ember Corp.

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