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picoChip Secures $20.5 Million in Third Round Funding; SEP, Intel and Rothschild Investment Places the Company as Best Funded WiMAX Private Company.

BATH, England -- picoChip, a leading supplier of wireless silicon solutions, announced that it has secured $20.5 million in its third round of funding. New lead investor Scottish Equity Partners is joined by Rothschild and Intel Capital, along with previous investors Pond Venture Partners and Atlas Venture. The new funding will be used to support the company's growth in next-generation wireless silicon and software.

Guillaume d'Eyssautier, President and CEO of picoChip, commented, "We are very excited about the addition of our new strategic funding partners to our existing loyal investors. The quality of our backers is an endorsement of our leading position in WiMAX. We will use this funding to expand on picoChip's success in WiMAX and deliver products for WCDMA, TD-SCDMA and other wireless markets."

Stuart Paterson, a Director in SEP's Information Technology Group, said, "We are delighted to be investing in an industry leader such as picoChip. SEP has had a track record of successful investments in stellar companies such as Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR) and Wolfson; we are confident that picoChip will follow the same model of success."

"Intel clearly believes in ubiquitous broadband wireless communications, with the appropriate standards-based technology fitting the need," said Sriram Viswanathan, Managing Director of Intel Capital's mobility initiative. picoChip's silicon is flexible enough to address multiple wireless standards, including WiMAX, and support operator's requirements for offering voice, video data and services, and mobility. "We are pleased to be investing in picoChip to support efforts of providing customers with a flexible and upgradeable WiMAX solution."

The round, which brings total company funding to $41.5 million, is a significant boost for picoChip towards extending its leadership as a wireless semiconductor vendor. d'Eyssautier concludes, "This funding, along with our major design wins and rapidly growing revenue, will take us comfortably to the point of profitability and position us well for success."

picoChip stands to benefit from large and growing market opportunities in wireless semiconductors. Research firm W R Hambrecht & Co recently described WiMAX as "one of the most exciting markets for semiconductors today" (WiMAX: The next era in Broadband access, April 05).

Founded in 2000, picoChip has developed the world's highest performance DSP tuned for wireless, and is a supplier of complete reference designs for WiMAX and HSDPA. picoChip technology is being used by Intel in its Glenfield board, which is sold for use in WiMAX basestations, and Airspan. Airspan has recently won WiMAX contracts from Marconi and Fujitsu. In addition, picoChip has a number of strategic customers and partners for both WiMAX and 3G, including Tier One manufacturers, and is fast becoming the industry standard for next-generation wireless infrastructure. The company recently won a place in this year's prestigious "Fierce 15", recognising the fifteen most significant private companies in the wireless area.

Editor's Note: picoArray is a registered trademark of picoChip.

About picoChip

picoChip, located in Bath, England, is dedicated to providing innovative, flexible wireless solutions to help equipment makers minimize time-to-market, costs, and system power consumption.

At the heart of the company's offering is a scaleable, multi-processor baseband IC that combines the computational density of a dedicated ASIC with the programmability of a traditional high end Digital Signal Processor. The picoChip technology platform includes tools, development boards and reference designs, and proven IP for seamless integration with the radio frequency elements of a base station. Equipment based on picoChip technology will enable telecom operators to remotely re-configure and upgrade their equipment without the high costs of replacing obsolete hardware.

picoChip currently has a development team with a balanced mix of hardware and software engineers of outstanding ability and experience; spanning such diverse fields as communications system design, software development, computer architecture, digital signal processing, RF design, and silicon design.

The company was founded in September 2000 and is backed by SEP, Rothschild, Intel Capital, Pond Venture Partners and Atlas Venture.

About Scottish Equity Partners

Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) is one of the largest independent private equity groups in the UK, and is currently investing from a venture capital fund in excess of GBP 100 million, which is backed by leading UK and European institutional investors.

Typically, we invest between GBP 500,000 and GBP 5 million in early stage and growing companies, principally in the information technology, healthcare & life sciences and energy related technology sectors.

With offices in Glasgow and London, SEP is one of the most active venture capital investors in the UK and has a strong investment track record, identifying companies with high potential at an early stage and working with them to realise that potential as they face the challenges of building a successful business.

Recent high profile successes include Wolfson Microelectronics, which achieved a valuation of GBP 250 million when it floated and bluetooth specialist CSR, which floated last year with a market capitalisation at launch of approximately GBP 240 million. For further information, see our website www.sep.co.uk

About Intel and Intel Capital

Intel, the world's largest chip maker, is also a leading manufacturer of computer, networking and communications products. Additional information about Intel is available at www.intel.com/pressroom. Intel Capital, Intel's strategic investment program, focuses on making equity investments and acquisitions to grow the Internet economy in support of Intel's strategic interests. Intel Capital invests in hardware, software and services companies in several market segments, including computing, networking, and wireless communications. For more information, visit www.intel.com/capital.

About Rothschild

The Rothschild Group has been at the center of the world's financial markets for over 200 years.

Its Paris-based Venture Capital team manages funds backed by leading European institutional investors. The team invests in first-class international projects led by exceptional entrepreneurs, in the Telecom, Semiconductor/EDA, Software and MedTech sectors. It invests between $1 million and $10 million to support companies through all phases of their growth.

The team provides insights and expertise through its entrepreneurial and operational background and its access to the worldwide Rothschild network.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2005
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