BOSTON and CAMBRIDGE, England, April 6 /PRNewswire/ --
Fueled by the significant surge in the deployment of smart meters, Ember Corporation, a leading provider of ZigBee wireless networking technology, today announced it closed an additional US$8 million in funding from its primary venture capital investors and strategic partners.
Polaris Venture Partners, GrandBanks Capital, RRE Ventures, Vulcan Capital, DFJ ePlanet Ventures, New Atlantic Ventures, WestLB Mellon Asset Management (formerly West AM) and strategic partners such as Chevron Technology Ventures and Stata Venture Partners participated in the round. This new round combined with existing investments from STMicroelectronics, Hitachi Corporation and MIT bring the total capital Ember has raised to US$89 million.
ZigBee standards extend the developing 'smart grid' out to the billions of devices, appliances and equipment where most energy efficiency goals will be achieved, said Ember chairman and Polaris Partner Bob Metcalfe. Smart meters now being equipped with ZigBee-standard Ember radio chips and protocol software are serving as energy management gateways between utilities and consumers. Ember revenues accelerated in 2008 and, with the increasing international emphasis on energy management, we are preparing Ember for continued rapid growth in 2009.
The market for 802.15.4/ZigBee devices is expected to reach as high as 292 million units in 2012, up from about 7 million units in 2007, according to research firm, In-Stat. Ember's investors recognized that the company has established itself as the dominant market leader of ZigBee technology which is a critical enabler of smart metering initiatives. These initiatives will have a pivotal impact on energy management and efficiency for decades to come. As part of the recently enacted stimulus package signed by President Barack Obama, over US$49 billion was allocated to transform the nation's energy system, and over US$17 billion of that will be aimed at electric grid infrastructure upgrades. This national financial commitment means significant opportunity for Ember's ZigBee technology.
The strong backing of our investors in the midst of these unprecedented macroeconomic conditions is testimony to the Ember team and its leadership in the ZigBee market, said Robert LeFort, Ember's CEO. This additional funding enables Ember to march forward on its strong growth path as its technology gets deployed in many smart grid applications around the world.
The company also announced the expansion of its sales channels with the addition of new distributors in Australia, New Zealand, India and Hong Kong, People's Republic of China which are emerging as key markets for ZigBee-enabled smart meters.
ZigBee: Wireless Control That Simply Works
The ZigBee Alliance is an association of companies working together to enable reliable, cost-effective, low-power, wirelessly networked monitoring and control products based on an open global standard. The ZigBee Alliance is a rapidly growing, non-profit industry consortium of leading semiconductor manufacturers, technology providers, OEMs, and end-users worldwide. Membership is open to all. Additional information can be found at http://www.zigbee.org.
Ember Corporation (http://www.ember.com) develops ZigBee wireless networking technology that enables companies involved in energy technologies - enertech - to help make buildings and homes smarter, consume less energy, operate more efficiently, and keep people comfortable and safe. Ember's low-power wireless technology can be embedded into a wide variety of devices to be part of a self-organizing mesh network. Ember is headquartered in Boston and has its radio development center in Cambridge, England, and distributors worldwide. The company is a promoter and Board member of the ZigBee Alliance and its platform is the Golden Suite for 802.15.4/ZigBee interoperability testing.