Sure Ventures plc (‘Sure Ventures’ or ‘the Company’)
Portfolio Update Q2 2020 period
Sure Ventures plc is a London listed venture capital fund which invests in early stage software companies in the rapidly growing technology areas of augmented reality (‘AR’), virtual reality (‘VR’), Internet of Things (‘IoT’) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). We are pleased to provide an update on the Company’s investment portfolio.
SURE VALLEY VENTURES FUND
Sure Ventures made a €7million commitment to Sure Valley Ventures Fund (‘Sure Valley’) representing an interest in Sure Valley of approximately 25.9%. This commitment was made at a price of €1.00 per share. The current NAV of the Sure Valley Ventures ICAV is 1.0767 Euros.
Sure Valley has several investments across the AI, AR, VR and IoT sectors:
VR Education Holdings – https://immersivevreducation.com/
VRE is a ground-breaking developer of Virtual Reality (‘VR’) software and immersive experiences with a specific focus on education and enterprise learning and development. VRE’s core platform is the Engage VR platform that enables educators to develop VR education experiences and enterprises to develop corporate learning and development VR simulations for workplace training.
The company has released five major products to date and has recently signed a commercial agreement with Deutsche Telecom for the launch of a 5G VR device. The current COVID-19 outbreak really has highlighted the use/power of virtual reality for teaching, seminars, business meetings and conferences. This is reflected in the market reaction to VR Education since mid-March.
VRE also received a strategic investment of €3m from HTC Corporation, which is a major milestone for the company and coincides with a commercial global licensing and sales distribution deal for the Engage Platform. Importantly, this is only exclusive with HTC in Asia and still allows them to partner with other distributers in US, Europe and other international jurisdictions.
As a result of this investment VRE’s stock price increased substantially enabling Sure Valley to sell 3,362,000 shares (£ 522,422), which was equivalent to Sure Valleys original investment (inc costs) and return this to the investors in Sure Valley which included Sure Ventures (note this return of funds will show in the Q3 report). Sure Valley Ventures still holds 10,578,580 shares in VRE and plans to hold them for the medium term. The appreciation in the VRE share price during Q2 valued our investment in VRE at a 3x uplift from the end of Q1.
Licensing agreements were also signed with Tokyo Global Gateway (Online education specialist) and an MOU with the virtual college show that Engage Platform is making real traction. Existing relationships with Deutsche Telecom and Victory XR continue to make progress and commercialising the Engage Platform is the ongoing focus. The lockdown environment of COVID-19 worldwide has intensified the need for educators and businesses to adapt and the Engage Platform is a clear winner given its capabilities.
WarDucks – www.warducks.com
Founded by former Facebook employee, Nikki Lannen, WarDucks mission is to build incredible, high quality, fun augmented and virtual reality games. The company has six bestselling titles under its belt, the latest two of which were Top Ten on PlayStation VR. To enable the company to take this product to the market it completed a series A round of €3.284 million in Q1, with new investors EQT investing €2.58 million, Sure Valley following on to maintain it percentage with €453,858.32 and existing investors making up the remaining investment. The transaction completed on the 29th of March 2019. This represented a 4x unrealised uplift in our initial investment.
Nikki and her team received high public praise from Tim Cook (Apple CEO) on the AR game being built and was quoted as saying ” WarDucks set out to create a game with fun, engaging and colourful characters and they nailed it”.
Wia – www.wia.io
WIA is a ground-breaking Internet of Things (IoT) cloud platform enabling developers to turn any type of sensor device into a secure, smart and useful application in a matter of minutes. WIA is the easiest and fastest way to link sensors and devices to develop IoT applications. WIA’s end-to-end platform provides full device and application management, security, data capture and storage, analysis, control, as well as the launch and seamless integration of enterprise systems. WIA also just launched its own hardware product called the “Dot One” https://www.wia.io/dot-one as an entry level device for first time makers
During the Covid lockdown the company has focused on developing IoT Tech to help businesses return to the workplace safely. In June Wia released the next iteration of the Wia Cloud. The new Wia Cloud is designed to help businesses understand and monitor their building, making it a powerful tool in the effort to return to the workplace. The new Wia Cloud is an Internet of Things platform designed to enable Real Estate, Operations and Facilities Management teams to understand the performance of their building and make data-based decisions.
This new update brings in a host of new tools and features, namely around three use cases;
- Occupancy and Space Utilisation
- Energy Utilisation
- Regulation Compliance
Wia offers end-to-end services for a range of smart building solutions including people counting, space utilisation monitoring, energy utilisation monitoring and air-quality monitoring. To achieve this, Wia deploys a constellation of IoT devices to accurately capture data wirelessly. These devices are then connected to a secure, private IoT network. The collected data is sent to the Wia Cloud platform where it is processed and can be visualised and used to make informed operational decisions. Building operators can also set up commands and notifications based on custom triggers such as creating an alert to clean the restrooms after it has been used 40 times.
Cameramatics – www.cameramatics.com
Cameramatics is the leader in CameraMatics solutions for commercial fleets. They deliver products that allow fleet managers to reduce fleet risk, increase driver safety and comply with growing governance and compliance regulations. Cameramatics has merged 4 key technologies: video input systems (cameras and scanners), smart processing systems, communications systems and unique algorithmic IP to deliver intelligent driver and fleet safety systems. To support further growth and USA market entry the company has started meeting investors to lead its series A round which we had expected that to close in Q2, but is now anticipated to close in Q3.
NDRC Arc Labs – http://www.arclabs.ie/
The NDRC@ArcLabs investment was structured as a subscription and as a limited Partner to the Accelerator. The purpose of the Accelerator is source and develop 30 start-ups over two years that Sure Valley has the right to invest in. The Accelerator is running three calls for 10 start-ups over 2 years in areas that are related to the fund’s investment strategy of AR/VR, IoT and AI. As a result of the Accelerator’s programme significantly overlapping with the Fund’s investment areas, we see this Accelerator being a source of proprietary deal flow.
Nova Leah – https://www.novaleah.com/
Nova Leah is the leader in cyber security for connected medical devices and is an IoT investment by Sure Valley. Nova Leah sells directly to the top medical device manufactures typically in Boston, and the west coast of the USA. The company’s first product SelectEvidence helps medical device manufacturers identify and address cyber-security issues throughout the manufacturing and release process of their connected medical devices. Sure Valley invested 750K euros in the company for 10.62% of the business fully diluted. Anita Finnegan (CEO) is happy with progress and Nova Leah is now working with 6 of the world largest medical device manufacturers.
The company is making good progress on its Annual reoccurring revenue (ARR) and is in the final stages of completing a deal with a major US med-tech company which will bring its ARR close to the €1m mark to support the company towards a Series A raise, which is planned to start in early 2021.
Admix Ltd – https://admixplay.com/
Admix has developed what is called a Supply-Side Platform (SSP) which enables developers to monetize their content by creating, managing and sell advertising inventory. Being an SSP, Admix is a broker that sells developers (think WarDucks) inventory programmatically at scale. Being programmatic automatizes the buying/selling process. Admix enables, for the first time, VR/AR inventory to become immediately available to thousands of advertisers connected to the existing ecosystem, which provides VR/AR developers with instant revenue. The company completed a Series A funding round to scale their platform announced on April the 15th 2020 at a 4.5x uplift from the seed round where Sure Valley originally invested. We followed on with a further £443K pounds in the institutional led investment round.
The COVID-19 environment has led to significantly higher consumption of digitalized content, which creates a positive market dynamic for Admix and its programmatic platform.
VividQ Ltd – https://vivid-q.com/
VividQ is a deep tech software company with world-leading expertise in 3D holography: the next generation display technology. Holography has long been considered the ultimate display technology. The science fiction ideal of engineering and manipulating light to produce 3D projections appealed to the imagination of millions through franchises such as Star Wars or Star Trek. Holography overcomes these issues and paves the way for immersive 3D without the need for glasses at all. VividQ disrupts existing ways of creating 3D images, such as stereo or autostereo-display, to power the next generation of holographic VR headsets, AR smart glasses, and automotive head-up displays. Sure Valley invested £500K in preference shares at a pre-money valuation of £6.5m for a total stake of 5.23% fully diluted. Sure Ventures have invested alongside Fluxunit and UTEC and adoption of the technology is accelerating, announcing partnerships with Himax and Compound Photonics, with a strong pipeline developing with some of the world’s leading and well-known brands.
VividQ are now working with some of the worlds largest and leading businesses in both technology hardware and software, the automotive space and optic technology companies, exploring the commercial uses of holography.
Ambisence – https://ambisense.net/
Ambisense’s Ambilytics™ platform optimises the delivery of environmental risk assessment on some of the world’s largest infrastructure projects across industrial, Oil & Gas and Waste Management verticals, partnering with global multinationals such as CEMEX, SGS & Arcadis. Ambilytics™ encompasses both IoT and AI solutions, combining information from remotely deployed field devices with contextual data sources such as weather, satellite, geophysical and operational data to build machine learning models.
Ambisense were awarded a contract supporting Highways England in the planned Lower Thames Crossing project. The project is the largest single biggest road infrastructure project since the M25 was completed more than 30 years ago.
Since completing our investment, Ambisense have identified increasingly significant government backed infrastructure projects which via tender process, the company have been successful in winning. In two particular use cases, the contractors concerned feared that the technology they required ‘didn’t exist in the market’, but such is the power behind Ambylitics and the ability of the Company to design effective and bespoke monitoring models, the Company has been successful in winning these multi-year, recurring revenue contracts.
The Company successfully operates on a break-even basis, despite Covid-19 related issues. In fact, it has been successful in winning new contracts due to their ability to solve for IOT monitoring models, whatever the circumstances.
GetVisibility – https://www.getvisibility.com/
GetVisibility was established on the 31st August 2017 by Ronan Murphy and Mark Brosnan. The Co-founder and CEO, Ronan Murphy worked as a C-level executive in the Cybersecurity industry since 2005. He is widely regarded as an expert in the field. Ronan has acted as a strategic advisor to many publicly traded organisations on improving their cybersecurity posture and worked with IBM on the first IBM’s Watson for Cybersecurity deployment globally.
The company has developed and launched a software platform called GetVisibility targeting this data security sector. This software delivers visibility over unstructured data, e.g. Word documents or pdfs, for enterprises, by automatically, accurately and precisely scanning and classifying the data to a corporate taxonomy using artificial intelligence (AI) at scale (NLP and Neural Networks).
Since our investment the company has developed partnerships and is in discussion with global players that if secured as key customers would be significant milestone for the product offering and put GetVisibility firmly on the map at global scale.
Buymie Technologies – https://www.buymie.eu/
The Company was founded in 2016 by Devan Hughes and Artavazd Sokhikyan. Devan previously worked for Salesforce.com, specializing in commercial efficiency, platform architecture and data management within the FMCG and Automotive Manufacturing sectors. Having also worked in the Energy markets for many years in the area of network optimisation. Devan is a guest lecturer in some of Europe’s top Universities, and a recognised thought leader in the areas of digital platform economics, last mile logistics, automation and grocery ecommerce.
Buymie is an on-demand grocery service, currently available in Dublin, Ireland and Bristol, UK. An individual can order goods from a selection of local stores such as Tesco and Lidl in Ireland and the Co-op and Asda in the UK via the Buymie app and have them delivered by a personal shopper in as little as 1 hour. Delivery charges from €3.99 (free for orders over €100), up to 30% cheaper than visiting a traditional convenience store. More convenient than traditional eCommerce platforms reducing the environmental impact of grocery shopping.
Sure Valley initially invested in Buymie’s Seed round in March 2020, investing €300,000 at a pre-money valuation of €8,000,000 giving Sure Valley a fully diluted equity position of 3%. The seed round was led by ACT Venture capital with participation from Haatch Ventures, BVP Ventures, HBAN and Enterprise Ireland.
Sure Valley subsequently participated in Buymie’s Series A round which was completed in June 2020. The total amount of capital raised was €5,400,000 and was led by a large family office. The pre-money valuation was €15,000,000. Sure Valley invested €510,000 and has a fully diluted equity position of 5.05%.
Investments made directly by Sure Ventures plc:
Immotion PLC (‘Immotion’), is a UK based company that creates its own high-quality VR content and enhances the immersive experience by coupling this content with motion simulation. Sure Ventures made a £500,000 investment in February 2018. Immotion’s Q1 trading update released on 15th Jan 2020showed a strong pace of headset deployment, with 93 headsets to be installed by the end of Q1. They have installed their out of home headsets in the London Sea life centre on the South Bank and numerous aquariums and entertainment sites. The company had forecast EBITDA breakeven at or around the end of Q1 and its pipeline was strong. The Covid-19 outbreak has of course hit their model hard as stated in its trading update released on the 11th of March 2020. The management team are taking steps to cut costs and ensure working capital requirements are met.
The company have recently announced that the Mandalay Bay (Vegas based) attraction and a number of the sites within their portfolio have re-opened and a COVID 19 cleaning system is also being offered to their estate to help with consumer confidence.
VividQ- In addition to the Sure Valley stake of £500K, Sure Ventures has also made a direct investment into VividQ of £500k at the recommendation of the AIFM. The board identified the opportunity as a suitable and complimentary investment for Sure Ventures and agreed that this was an exciting deep technology company that could have developed a solution that changes the way that people view content in 3D. Holography could be the next generation of display technology and the types of companies that are early stage adopters of VividQ’s software offers shareholders and exciting opportunity. We remain excited about the progress being made here and anticipate that 2020 could be a transformational year for the company.
Sure Ventures Director, Gareth Burchell said, “Despite the major disruption to the global economy by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been very impressed with the resilience and performance of the portfolio. We would like to congratulate both the AIFM Shard Capital and the Management teams of the underlying investments. It is particularly pleasing to see an uplift of 6.77% in our NAV with the series A completion of Buymie as well as the major milestone of HTC’s investment in VRE. The share price of both VRE and Immotion Plc have lifted from a low base at the start of the pandemic. We look forward to updating investors on the progress of the portfolio as a whole as we progress into Q3.”
For further information, please visit www.sureventuresplc.com or contact:
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Notes to Editors
Sure Ventures plc listed on the London Stock Exchange in January 2018 giving retail investors access to an asset class that is usually dominated by private venture capital funds. Sure Ventures is focusing on companies in the UK, Republic of Ireland and other European countries, making seed and series A investments in companies with first rate management teams, products which benefit from market validation with target revenue run rates of at least £400,000 over the next 12 months. Website: https://www.sureventuresplc.com/
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