RNS Number : 8940J | Sure Ventures PLC | 26 August 2021
Sure Ventures plc (‘Sure Ventures’ or ‘the Company’)
Portfolio Update Q2 2021 period
Sure Ventures 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 116.985
Sure Valley has several investments across the AI, AR, VR and IoT sectors:
VR Education Holdings (VRE) – http://immersivevreducation.com/
HTC are now a major Shareholder in VRE and this validation has helped it gain break through contracts since 30 June 2020, particularly in the US market, with sales of the ENGAGE platform for training and remote distance learning purposes to several organisations including Facebook, The United States Air Force Academy, University of Arizona, Colorado State University, SNCF, Lobaki, Houston Community College and Stanford University.
ENGAGE revenue is continuing to accelerate, with unaudited H1 2021 revenue expected to be c.€1.25 million, an increase of 84% on the prior year (H1 2020: €0.68 million). ENGAGE reached the milestone of 100 commercial customers as announced in May 2021, including Abbott Laboratories, KPMG, MongoDB, and the US State Department as recent additions.
WarDucks – www.warducks.com
The company has six bestselling titles under its belt, the latest two of which were Top Ten on PlayStation VR. The company is building on its success to date and is now developing a major new AR mobile game that is in the same category as Pokemon Go. To achieve this the company has hired well known and renowned game developers from the US and brought them to Dublin including the the famous game designer John Romero to help design the new product. John Romero, cofounder of BAFTA award-winning Romero Games studio and winner of over 100 awards, will work as a Creative Consultant.
WarDucks has been busy developing a superior mapping solution to create beautiful, performance-optimized virtual worlds for mobile devices using real-world geographical locations. This ground-breaking mapping software will be available for license to other developers in the future.
Wia – www.wia.io
WIA https://www.wia.io/ is an Internet of Things (IoT) company with a ground-breaking cloud platform https://www.wia.io/product, enabling developers to turn any type of sensor device into a secure, smart, and useful application in a matter of minutes. This generates considerable time and cost savings for teams who would have previously had to spend many months on 100,000’s of lines of code to try to build out their own IoT cloud infrastructure.
During the COVID-19 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.
CameraMatics – www.cameramatics.com
Cameramatics is the leader in Camera and software solutions for commercial fleets, Cameramatics delivers products that allow fleet managers to reduce fleet risk, increase driver safety and comply with growing governance and compliance regulations.
CameraMatics (“Mysafedrive Ltd”) successfully raised in excess of €4 million in a Series A Investment Round (Announced 11th Jan 2021) from a consortium of investors led by Puma Investments, along with follow on from existing investors Sure Valley Ventures and Enterprise Ireland. Sure Valley Ventures led the “Seed Round” in November 2017 and this round represents close to a 4-fold unrealised gain from our initial investment
Revenue for the first half of this year is equal to Revenue for full year last financial year. Strategic senior hires from the industry have been added to executive team in the US market and several new contracts have been won, which are scheduled to be rolled out in the next month. The Maritme contract for 1700+ vehicle-fleet was won in the UK market and roll out is well under way. Sales activity in the UAE has started with some potential large opportunities. Management has an expected revenue growth rate of 200% for the year and a new version of its platform with increased functionality is being released on the 1st of September. This launch coincides with a new product range which will enable us to offer a dashcam type solution, which can fully integrate with the full CameraMatics suite of functionality.
NDRC Arc Labs – http://www.arclabs.ie/
The NDRC@ArcLabs investment was structured as a subscription 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 3 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. The fund has invested €300,000 over three calls. The three calls have been run and now the Accelerator is being wound down.
Nova Leah is the leader in cyber security for connected medical devices and is an IoT investment made by Sure Valley Ventures. Nova Leah sells directly to the top medical device manufactures typically in Boston, MA and the west coast of the USA. The founder, Anita Finnegan, is an expert in the area and originally built the technology in a top medical device software research group in DKIT, while doing a PhD. She later spun out the technology and developed this market selling to several tier 1 medical device manufacturers.
Sure Valley Ventures invested €750,000 in the company for 10.62% of the company fully diluted. After our investment which closed on the 5th of October 2018 the company was successful in obtaining the Irish government Disruptive Technology Fund (DTIF) programme for €1.5 million.
The company is making good progress on its Annual Recurring Revenues (ARR) and is in the final stages of completing a deal with a major medical device company which will bring its ARR close to the point where it can complete a follow-on funds raise. The company is at the series A stage and we look forward to updating the market once complete.
Technically 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.
Admix’s proprietary ad formats have been developed together with existing adtech players and are compatible with IAB/OpenRTB standards, reducing the barriers to entry for advertisers. The DSP’s that Admix have connected to, are market-leading partners, such as Pubmatic , that are amongst the largest platforms in the world, used by thousands of brands and advertisers and processing billions of impressions daily, which gives them scale.
To support its growth the company completed a Series A round on the 31st of March 2020, raising $6.25 million with a pre-money valuation which created a substantial uplift on our original investment. The investment round was led by Force over Mass investing $4m with participation from Speedinvest who invested $450k and SVV investing $535k. Business has continued in a robust manner and we look forward to updating the market soon with progress.
VividQ is a deep tech software company with world-leading expertise in 3D holography. The company was founded in 2017 by a team of expert engineers, mathematicians and computer scientists from the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, and St Andrews, who solved key technology barriers in the adoption of holographic display.
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. While physically possible, the tremendous computing requirements to create full-depth holographic display made it unreachable for commercial applications.
VividQ continue to partner with some of the leading chip manufacturers, hardware developers and users of holographic display. The company announced a partnership with ARM Holdings in the last quarter and signed its first major contract with a Chinese and Hong Kong based car manufacturer. To assist with growth and development the company announced a funding round on the 1st of July 2021, raising £11m and attracting “deep-tech” institutional investors to participate.
Ambisense’s 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. These models identify the relationships, patterns, and drivers hidden within the data and allow customers to forecast and predict the behaviour of targeted environmental pollutants.
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 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. Ambisence will now look to complete its next funding round to help fund the opportunities it is encountering.
Visibility Blockchain Limited trading as Getvisibility was established on the 31st of August 2017 by Ronan Murphy and Mark Brosnan. 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).
On 7 August 2020, Getvisibility announced that it had signed a public sector distribution agreement with immixGroup, the leading value-added distributor of enterprise IT for the U.S. public sector. The agreement will allow Getvisibility to grow its public sector business, accelerate sales cycles, and operate more efficiently in the government market. Federal agencies will also be able to deploy Getvisibility products on-premises and into their existing cloud infrastructure.
Getvisibility is experiencing emerging interest to provide a solution for EUC audit compliance which could represent a substantial market vertical. Inbound interest has been expressed by Accenture, KPMG, PWC and Grant Thornton. Getvisbility has started work on an open API and SDK, this will facilitate easier and faster integrations. Phase 1 is expected to be released in early Q2 and the company has obtained advanced EIS assurance ahead of its series A funding round.
The company successfully raised a further £1.1m (June 2021) in Equity funding, led by a leading AI-based Industry player and the company is building a significant pipeline of interest from large organisations.
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.
Sure Valley Ventures initially invested in Buymie’s Seed round in March 2020. 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 Wheatsheaf group. Buymie have now partnered with Co-op, Lidl, Dunnes and are in talks with other major UK and Irish Supermarket chains. The COVID19 environment is accelerating the growth of Buymie and the pace of its expansion continues in an aggressive manner.
2020 saw Buymie solidify its position as a market mover with several nominations for awards such as the EY Entrepreneur of the Year award and various other awards and the recognition continues into 2021 with Buymie now seen as one of the world’s top retail tech companies.
Volograms is an Augmented Reality (AR) capture and volumetric video company. Volograms’ technology enables users to capture volumetric holograms (or volograms) of real people. By inserting the ‘Volograms’ into videos, people can create their own immersive Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) content for use in apps, social media, and VR headsets.
The mobile AR market is forecast to grow from the one billion compatible devices and over $8 billion in revenue in 2019 to 2.5 billion compatible devices and $60 billion in revenue by 2024. The Volograms mobile product will enable mobile phone users to take AR pictures and videos, then view, edit, and share them with others. This can be done directly or through social media platforms.
We believe that Volograms is opening a new market category for AR photos and video. This category should have much greater appeal for content creators and social media users than the existing static 3D content solutions on offer. Central to the company’s future success is (i) its OEM strategy (ii) consumers then adopting the technology. Given this, the SVV deal team agreed with the company that they would bring in some additional people with experience of an OEM strategy and mobile consumer products. If successful Volograms has the potential to be massively scalable and potentially usher in the rapid expansion of the mobile AR industry.
Polience Limited t/a PreCog Systems is an InfoSec company that has developed a proprietary system to counter terrorism, prevent crime, support border control agencies and prevent people trafficking. Governments, organisations and owners of property assets and inventory need to understand the behaviour and intent of visitors to their sites. They need novel technology to allow them to react in real-time so that actions can be taken to understand the complexities of their environments and to protect them from harm and bad actors.
PreCog is a patent pending software solution that understands visitor flow, protects borders, detects persons of interest and ensures locations are protected from those who wish to cause damage or commit crime. PreCog provides totally unique, scalable, actionable intelligence solution. Customers include top UK and International Government security and law enforcement agencies & Transport infrastructure organisations.
Virtex Stadium is an application that enables Esports organisers to host their existing formats on a 3D entertainment platform, offering millions of viewers a completely new viewing experience. The company was founded in 2016 by Christoph Ortlepp and Tim Mcguinness. It is based in London.
Their main application is the Virtex Stadium where users can experience the Esports events they create and host. Users will be able to download the application in the main PC VR app stores: Oculus and Steam and use it with their VR headset of choice (e.g Oculus Quest 2, Valve Index). Later on the company will provide a 2D version of the application as well as port to PSVR and mobile/Oculus Quest.
Virtex’s alpha prototype is currently accessible through the Oculus platform, preview program, with tethered headsets. The new stadium beta app is available on Oculus and SteamVR for private demo-ing and testing. This allows Virtex to create the strongest visual showcases needed to convince the major Esports organisers and the company are planning to complete a seed raise in the coming months.
Smarttech247 is a multi-award-winning MDR (Managed Detection & Response) company and a market leader in Security Operations. Trusted by global organizations, Smarttech247 combine threat intelligence with managed detection and response to provide actionable insights, 24/7 threat detection, investigation, and response. Smarttech247’s service is geared towards proactive prevention and this is done by utilizing the latest in cloud, big data analytics and machine learning, along with Smarttech247’s industry leading incident response team.
Smarttech247’s innovative services are designed to enhance the efficacy of our customer’s security infrastructure and deliver business-sensitive cybersecurity solutions that build and optimize your protection, detection and remediation strategies. Smarttech247 are certified to ISO9001, ISO27001 and Cyber Essentials to provide assurance that customers receive consistently high-quality services and that every aspect of their data and information security is protected.
Since Investing the company has announced:
- Smarttech247 has announced that it has been awarded a multi-year contract for managed cyber security services by a global advanced manufacturing company, employing over 100,000 staff and a leading member of the Fortune Global-1000.
- Smarttech247 has announced that it has been awarded a purchase order with the value of €6 million for plant level Operational Technology (“OT”) cyber security services, with respect to the contract announced by the Company on 24 June 2021.
Investments made directly by Sure Ventures plc:
This 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.
In February 2020, the company released a trading update stating that they had deployed above 460 contracted headsets in high footfall tourist attractions globally. This figure represented the estimated number of headsets required to reach breakeven and sales momentum was progressing at a strong pace.
The nature of Immotion’s business meant that COVID 19 and lockdown restrictions reduced their revenues dramatically. The footfall at sites across the globe ground to a halt. The Management team have done a good job of reducing costs and using the various Governmental schemes available to keep the business funded.
In a recent trading update Immotion stated the following:
“H1 results to show a near EBITDA breakeven outcome on revenue of circa £2.7m*. As previously announced, June 2021 was our best ever monthly result with unaudited Group EBITDA of £126k on revenue of £850k (an uplift on the previously estimated figures), driven largely by the strong performance of the core Location-Based Entertainment (“LBE”) business.
We are further pleased to confirm that the second half of 2021 has started very strongly with July being yet another record month. Unaudited Group revenue was £1m, with unaudited EBITDA at circa £200k, a considerable increase versus June, taking the company into overall EBITDA profitability for the year to date.”
Sure Ventures PLC has a further direct investment of £500,000 in VividQ, on top of its 25.9% exposure via its holding in Sure Valley Ventures ICAV. The progress being made, the tie ups with major global technology players and the pathway of holography adoption being laid out provides a great deal of promise for the future. (See previous VividQ paragraph above). This uplift in valuation has positively impacted our NAV and we are very hopeful for its performance in the future.
Sure Ventures Director, Gareth Burchell said,
“The Quarterly period has seen an appreciation in value across both our direct investment and our investment in Sure Valley Ventures (ICAV) which has lifted the NAV to 1.0844p a share. This represents a 17.79% uplift quarter on quarter. The progress being made by the investee companies has been exceptional over the last 2 years and we are now starting to see that uplift being represented in the NAV of the fund. The success rate of “Seed” to “Series A fundings achieved by the team at Sure Valley Ventures is something to be applauded. With new investments in companies such as Smartech 247, Virtex and Pre-cog systems showing that the pipeline of new opportunities remains as strong as ever.
For further information, please visit www.sureventuresplc.com or contact:
Sure Ventures plc
+44 (0) 20 7186 9918
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/