Cambridge-based lighting network company iSotera has closed a £1.1m funding round led by Qi3 Accelerator.
iSotera’s intelligent LED lighting system squeezes the best possible energy efficiency from LED lights, and makes installation far more affordable. This lowers the cost of ownership and encourages accelerated adoption of ‘green’ LED lighting and automated lighting controls.
iSotera’s system will revolutionise the installation of energy-efficient lighting systems by making it faster, cheaper and safer for electrical contractors to install and for facility managers to maintain. The system is based on novel power distribution architecture and features contactless power transfer. It provides a durable lighting infrastructure in buildings and outdoors whilst reducing capital costs by 30-50% and reducing electronic waste by as much as 60%.
iSotera is working in partnership with key players in the global lighting supply chain to offer end-to-end solutions to contractors and system integrators. The company will use the funds to expand the team, launch its first suite of products and generate revenues.
Having met iSotera’s founder Marc Ottolini in Cambridge, Paul Anson, Tim de Vere Green and Nathan Hill of Qi3 Accelerator offered to work with iSotera to bring together a syndicate. This broad group includes investors from Qi3 Accelerator, the Low Carbon Innovation Fund (LCIF) (part funded by the EU), Moonray Investors, Synergy Energy, London Business Angels and the LBA EIS Roundtable Syndicate Fund, Martlet, Cambridge Angels, Cambridge Capital Group and Surrey Investment Club.
iSotera’s CEO Marc Ottolini said: “With the completion of this funding round we shall now implement our mission, which is to turn iSotera into the default network infrastructure of intelligent lighting, the invisible part of the system that makes it all work. I am delighted to have a group of investors behind us who had the vision to back us at this early stage. Qi3 Accelerator did amazing work to pull this large syndicate together and LCIF’s involvement was a great encouragement for other investors to join. The end result is not only the money but also a high calibre Board. During the many months that we have been working together on this deal we have gelled as a team, allowing us to make a running start. I hope that our efforts will further strengthen the power electronics cluster in Cambridge.”
Qi3 Accelerator’s Paul Anson who led the syndicate said “our focus is investment in the resurgence of British High Value Manufacturing and Engineering businesses. We have brought together the skills and financial resources of a wide range of investors with technology and business experience, all of whom share an excitement in the prospects for iSotera’s smart LED lighting network. We have worked with Marc for over a year to develop the business plan, structure the Board and management team to deliver success. The advent of LED lighting is an established trend – iSotera’s novel power distribution and control system will squeeze the best possible energy efficiency from these lights and reduce the cost of ownership. I look forward to iSotera’s product launch later this year’.
Advisors to the transaction included Harrison Clark, Taylor Vinters, Mills and Reeve and Gill, Jennings and Every. Peter Cowley and 42 Technology provided technical due diligence and design support.
iSotera: Marc Ottolini, CEO firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0)7811 459011
Qi3 Accelerator: Nathan Hill, CEO email@example.com +44 (0)20 7925 1992
Background notes on consortium members
About Qi3 Accelerator
Qi3 Accelerator is a team of active angel investors which specialises in supporting companies by rapidly commercialising their products; achieving early sales without the expense of full time staff or the payment of high upfront fees. Qi3 Accelerator is suitable for entrepreneurs who know that they need expert and enthusiastic input from our commercial and engineering teams in addition to financial capital. We invest primarily in the domain of High Value Manufacturing and engineering, including the sustainability, security and healthcare sectors.
Experienced investors Nathan Hill, Paul Anson and Tim de Vere Green lead the Qi3 Accelerator team, supported by investment analysis and other skills sourced from Qi3. We work with an Accelerator Club formed from a number of trusted Associates, who offer extensive business, technical and engineering expertise. This allows us to form a flexible ad hoc team to evaluate propositions and then support the business. The Qi3 Accelerator team is linked to several formal and informal Business Angel networks.
About Cambridge Angels
The Cambridge Angels is a group of angel investors who have proven experience as successful entrepreneurs in technology and bio-technology. Members invest in and mentor high quality start-up and early-stage companies in these sectors in Cambridge, across the UK and sometimes internationally.
About Cambridge Capital Group
Cambridge Capital Group (CCG) is a leading business angel group of 40 investors who have been investing in high-tech businesses for ten years. We formed in the autumn of 2000 and have been backing technology start-ups in the region since then. Members have invested several millions of pounds into more than 25 live portfolio companies in the Cambridge technology cluster.
About 42 Technology
42 Technology is a technology development company located close to Cambridge. Our services span product and technology strategy, technical due diligence, product and process innovation and development, regulatory approval and transfer to manufacture. Our team of engineers, scientists, designers and project managers is supplemented where necessary by an extensive network of associates to ensure that we assemble the right project team to deliver the best results to our clients.
We specialise in addressing complex system level problems in consumer, industrial and medical markets.
About London Business Angels
LBA is one of the most experienced private angel networks in the UK. Since the early 1980s the network has been connecting innovating fast growth small and medium sized enterprises with investment through our network of business angel investors. LBA, part of Angel Capital Group, is professionally managed by a highly experienced management team, leveraging over 15 years’ experience in the early stage investment marketplace as established leaders in the development of new angel-led early stage investment initiatives, and nearly 30 years’ investing experience through the LBA network. LBA is a founding member of the British Business Angels Association, the industry’s best practice trade association, and is also a member of EBAN, the European Business Angels Network.
About The London Business Angels EIS RoundTable Syndicate Fund (2011)
The London Business Angels EIS RoundTable Syndicate Fund offers LBA Investors a way to acquire a portfolio of investments, while taking advantage of the personal tax relief offered by the Enterprise Investment Scheme.
About the Low Carbon Innovation Fund
The Low Carbon Innovation Fund (LCIF) is a University of East Anglia fund managed by Turquoise International. It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) East of England Competitiveness Programme, which is investing £100m towards low carbon economic growth until 2013.
LCIF is part of the governments’ Solutions for Business portfolio of business support products and is a venture capital fund making equity investments alongside other investors or funds. Investments can be made in eligible small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) in the East of England.
European Regional Development Fund
The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is a seven-year investment programme part financed by the European Union. Its objective is ‘towards low carbon economic growth’ in the East of England and €110.9 million has been allocated to the East of England region.
The fund aims to help small and medium size enterprises respond to the challenges of climate change and the huge commercial potential behind a low carbon economy. For more information visit http://www.communities.gov.uk/regeneration/regenerationfunding/europeanregionaldevelopment/eastengland/.
Martlet is the investment arm of the Marshall of Cambridge group, providing small (initially £10K to £100K) sums of capital for early-stage technology start-ups that are located in the UK, with a bias towards Cambridge and East Anglia. Martlet will almost always co-invest with angels and small seed funds, and has the capacity to follow in subsequent investment rounds.
We focus on companies that have completed the proof of concept stage, and usually will have achieved some sales/grant revenues. In all cases, there must be a strong and demonstrable commercial demand for the technology under development.
As part of the Marshall Group (encompassing aviation, aerospace and commercial/consumer vehicles), with approximately £1 billion of sales, employing over 4000 people, our investees may have the opportunity to work with our operating companies.
About Moonray Investors
Moonray Investors is an active, privately-owned investor, focused on developing long-term partnerships with businesses which sit at the cutting edge of their field and are able to deliver class-leading products and services to their customers. This includes establishing new businesses and supporting existing companies which combine a compelling commercial rationale with innovative technologies.
Moonray Energy, which is part of Moonray Investors, focuses on developing outstanding businesses in the Energy Sector. Its vision is to develop a portfolio of businesses addressing the global energy challenges: 1) Providing security of energy supply, 2) Reducing harmful emissions and 3) Mitigating increasing energy costs.
We invest for the long term, to grow businesses with market-changing ideas into world leaders. We back successful, experienced management teams as a committed partner. We enable entrepreneurs to participate in the ongoing success of their businesses. Moonray Investors is part of Fidelity International (FIL Limited).
About Synergy Energy
Please see our web site for details.