Sometimes the job really is as easy as Kamal believes.
We’ve got our quarterly credit committee meeting this morning, which gives our team and external Credit Committee members the chance to pour over the financials for our raft of current portfolio companies. One name I’m particularly confident about is Boston-based Ember, a provider of low-power wireless mesh networking technology. We closed our US$5MM deal in late 2009, and 2010 turned out to be the company’s best year ever, with record revenues and the shipment of more chips in 2010 (10MM) than in all previous years combined.
Emberâ€™s results were driven by smart meter deployments worldwide, where Emberâ€™s ZigBee chips and software play a critical role in enabling consumers and utilities to communicate in real time and together manage energy more efficiently.
While Emberâ€™s largest deployments took place in North America, the company also positioned itself for significant growth in Europe, where the technology was chosen for many of the largest smart meter projects across the continent. These include the UKâ€™s first -large scale smart meter deployment, spearheaded by British Gas. British Gasis planning to provide a million customers with smart electricity and gas meters, along with touch-screen in-home energy management displays very shortly.
During the year, Ember also strengthened its European customer support and supply chain infrastructure by adding pan European channel partners to support the significant growth planned in the region.
â€œWe are proud to be a part of the conversion that has started in the revitalization of electric grids worldwide. We look forward to driving the next phase in this conversion by enabling measurable benefits to consumers, the utilities and also the environment,â€ said Bob LeFort, CEO of Ember. â€œIt is heartening to see empowered consumers benefit from useful information and be able to control and manage energy usage and many other functions in the connected home. This revolution is well on its way in the United States and is gathering irreversible momentum in Europe and Asia. It is exciting to be a part of such a meaningful transformation.â€
By adding the U.S. market to our firm’s strike zone in 2009, we were able to begin the enjoyable process of getting to meet many of the best entrepreneurs that America has to offer. Thanks to some key sponsorship by two dozen U.S.-based venture capital funds, that process has exceeded our expectations. The fact that U.S. VCs put out $26B in new venture capital in 2010, as compared to ~$1B in Canada, gives you a sense of the breadth of our opportunity and the growing importance of that market to our investors.