Irish chip firm secures $8.2m outlay

Cash injection to fund HDMI research

Microchip design company RedMere Technology has secured venture capital investment to fund research into chipsets for high definition TVs.

The Drogheda-headquartered company has attracted $8.2m in first round funding led by Canadian investment vehicle Celtic House Venture Partners. Enterprise Ireland, 4th Level Ventures, Enterprise Equity, and smaller seed-round investors also contributed.

The monies raised will provide for the creation of 15 new research and development jobs in the US and Asia. RedMere currently employs 20 people in its design centre in Cork and at the firm's research and development centre in Drogheda, and is aiming to double this number by the end of 2007. The two-year-old company also outsources manufacturing to factories in Taiwan.

RedMere specialises in developing semiconductors for the consumer electronics sector. The company said it intends to use the venture capital to expand the applications of HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interfaces) communication technology. HDMI is touted as the new connection technology for televisions and other audio-visual devices, replacing the old Scart cables.

RedMere said HDMI is applicable to consumer electronics platforms such as high-definition TVs, media centres, media PCs, set-top-boxes, projection systems, home theatre systems, DVD recorders, and personal video recorders.

"With over $500m in assets under management, Celtic House is one of the most powerful technology investors in the international venture market. They also bring great experience in the fabless semiconductor and consumer electronic sectors. We are very happy to have such a major North American player lead this round of funding alongside two Irish venture firms. With this new investment and the continued backing of our early investors we are on track to launch exciting multiple product lines to the market in 2007," said RedMere chief executive Peter Smyth.

The company was founded by Smyth, Dr John Horan and Declan Farley. Celtic House Venture Partners' Roger Maggs and Brian Antonen will join the board of RedMere Technology as non-executive directors.

"In RedMere we have identified a ground-breaking communications technology for differential signalling systems, with applications in storage, consumer, and PC markets. RedMere's technology enables significant cost and performance gains in the most challenging communications environments," Maggs said in a statement.

In September 2004 the research house In-Stat estimated that there would be in excess of 110 million HDMI-enabled units produced by 2008. By December 2005 In-Stat had revised its estimates upwards, predicting over 250 million HDMI units in the same time.

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