Electronics & Computers

Qualtré Closes $8 Million Series B Funding

April 22, 2010

Funds will be used to commercialize next generation multi-axis MEMS gyroscopes for use in consumer applications.

MARLBOROUGH, MA /PRNewswire/ -- Qualtré, Inc., the leading developer of solid state motion sensors for consumer electronics (CE) applications, announced that it has completed an $8 million Series B round of financing, bringing the total funds raised to $13 million. The infusion will fund the company's product development, sales, and operations infrastructure to commercialize its proprietary Bulk Acoustic Wave (BAW) micro electromechanical system (MEMS) gyroscopes. Participating institutional venture capital investors in this round are Matrix Partners and Pilot House Ventures, whose past portfolio investments include Xilinx and SanDisk.

Qualtré is developing the world's first solid-state multi-axis MEMS gyroscopes targeting mobile handsets, game controllers, and digital camera image stabilization markets. Commercially available MEMS gyroscopes serving these applications have delicate moving mass structures vibrating at low frequencies of 5–50 kHz, making them susceptible to bias drift over time, temperature and vibration. Qualtré gyroscopes operate at high frequency (2–10 MHz) bulk acoustic modes to provide superior mechanical signal amplification with excellent bias stability over an extended temperature range, making them the preferred choice for demanding CE devices.

"MEMS gyroscopes are gaining popularity in game console controllers as they enable more accurate tracking of the user's hand motions with on-screen game play," said Stan Reiss, a General Partner with Matrix Partners. "We expect Qualtré's disruptive motion sensor technology will enable new functionality in the billion unit handset market through a gesture controlled user interface, entertaining mobile games, and pedestrian navigation services."

Tri-axis MEMS gyroscopes are expected to drive a new boom in the motion sensing market. Yole Développement forecasts a $732 million market for MEMS gyroscopes in consumer electronic applications for 2015 with tri-axis gyroscopes representing 80% of this demand. In a success pattern seen before, the mobile phones will be the killer application for advanced gyroscopes, similar to the rapid adoption curve of MEMS accelerometers in handsets.

"We expect that GPS assistance will be a must-have for a wide range of mobile devices in the coming years, enabling pedestrian navigation and advanced location-based services," outlined, Laurent Robin, Lead MEMS Analyst for Yole Développement. " Qualtré is addressing all the key handset challenges of excellent gyroscope bias stability, high sensitivity, low power consumption, and low cost."

"We are excited to provide the financial resources that the experienced Qualtré team can leverage to deliver the next generation MEMS inertial sensors for motion applications," explained Stephen Van Beaver, a General Partner at Pilot House Ventures.

"I am impressed with the accelerated pace of our product development and initial customer traction which has been recognized and rewarded by our investors," said Edgar Masri, the company's chief executive officer. "I am equally grateful to Qualtré's partners, who are exceptionally supportive and enthusiastic about our products and the technology's limitless potential."

About Qualtré
Founded in 2008, Qualtré Inc. is a venture-backed company commercializing the next generation of solid-state silicon MEMS motion sensor solutions for consumer electronics. Qualtré technology addresses the real needs of a huge market opportunity for inertial sensors in consumer mobile product applications, including gaming, navigation, and digital photography. The company's product development efforts build upon years of research conducted by its founder, Dr. Farrokh Ayazi, at Georgia Tech's renowned Integrated MEMS Laboratory. The company is headquartered in Marlborough, MA.

About Matrix Partners
Since its inception in 1977, Matrix Partners has had the privilege to partner with hundreds of innovators. The company has played an active role in the development of many successful businesses, 50 of which went on to initial public offerings, and 75 of which have gone on to profitable M&A events. The firm consistently ranks in the Top Five venture capital firms, in terms of returns to its investors. Matrix Partners operates in the United States, India, and China across multiple sectors and stages.

About Pilot House Ventures
Pilot House Ventures is a Boston, Massachusetts-based venture capital firm that invests in promising early stage technology companies, including enterprise software, network infrastructure, internet, and communications companies. The company looks for outstanding entrepreneurs who are building companies with high growth potential that will be true partners throughout the lifecycle of the company. Pilot House Ventures' investment team leverages its deep operational, technical and industry experience to help entrepreneurs build successful companies. Pilot House uses a team approach to help their portfolio companies be successful, with multiple members of the team involved in advising all portfolio companies on strategic decisions to drive growth. The Pilot House Ventures team also taps into its extensive networks to support its portfolio companies with resources for customer acquisition, business development, partnerships, marketing strategy, technology development and management and Board development.

About Yole Développement
Yole Développement is a French based technology consulting firm focused on devices using novel wafer based micro manufacturing processing. Yole has been tracking the MEMS industry since 1998.

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