YellowDog appoints ARM and computing veteran Noel Hurley as CEO.

YellowDog, which transforms how businesses access compute, welcomes Noel Hurley as its new CEO. The previous CEO, Simon Ponsford, becomes CTO (a position he previously held for five years) and will focus on technology roadmap, as YellowDog grows partnerships with hyperscalers and customers.

Noel joins YellowDog after many years as an executive at Arm, the microprocessor company. During his time there he held a number of VP and General Manager positions including the business segments team responsible for initiating Arm’s entry into the cloud market as well as running the CPU division and product teams. Noel also initiated and ran Arm’s internal incubation activity working closely with start-ups across a broad range of the deep tech markets. He was also a Co-founder of Bristol based fabless semiconductor company XMOS.

Noel commented: “I am very excited to join the YellowDog team. We want to make YellowDog the window into the world’s compute allowing businesses to better manage their compute investment. I see the YellowDog platform being the core tool for businesses to right size and manage their compute resources. It has the ability to provision and schedule workloads across on-prem clusters, public and private cloud at a scale and speed not seen before. This allows customers to be agile to the needs of the market whilst keeping costs under tight control.”

Simon was part of the YellowDog founding team and spent five years as CTO before taking the reins as CEO in 2020, driving both the commercial and technology roadmap of the business since then. He will now focus on the company’s technological innovation and building solutions to support compute management for customers. Noel’s arrival will enable the team to scale.

Simon commented: “We are excited to have Noel join YellowDog. The company has over the last year managed to prove its technology and demonstrate alongside our cloud partners the ability to create compute clusters at HPC scale. Noel will bring his commercial and strategic strengths to our business as we look to further scale the YellowDog business.”

YellowDog addresses the growing cloud and compute management market that is set to grow to $1.6bn (five-year CAGR 75%) by 2027. Using its cloud native compute workload management platform, the company can provision and schedule tasks on private or public cloud alongside existing on-premise infrastructure. To date, the Platform has been used by companies innovating in Life Sciences, Financial Services and Media and Entertainment.

YellowDog is unique in being able to provision over multiple geographies simultaneously and at speeds and scales that have not been achieved before. In July 2021 working alongside AWS YellowDog built a cluster of more than 3m vCPUs in less than an hour. This helped to make YellowDog one of only 16 companies that have achieved ‘HPC competency’ certification with AWS. This month at the ISC High Performance 2022 event in Hamburg YellowDog will be making further announcements in the field of confidential compute with our OEM and Cloud partners.

Pharrowtech raises €15 million Series A to develop world’s first viable wireless alternative.

Pharrowtech, a leader in the design and development of millimetre wave (mmWave) hardware and software for next-generation wireless applications, today announces its €15 million Series A funding round to continue developing next-generation 60 GHz wireless technology. 

The round was led by Innovation Industries, with participation from Bloc Ventures, imec.xpand and KBC Focus Fund. This will enable Pharrowtech to accelerate deployment of its recently launched 60 GHz CMOS Radio-Frequency Integrated Circuit (RFIC) PTR1060, and phased array antenna Radio-Frequency Module (RFM) PTM1060 for 5G unlicensed fixed wireless access, wireless infrastructure, and consumer applications. The capital will be used to ensure best in class customer support, expanding Pharrowtech’s operations in the United States, and growing its engineering and business teams to drive the product roadmap and fuel further growth.

Pharrowtech delivers a unique solution, offering gigabit-per-second speeds to consumers and businesses wirelessly. The 60 GHz frequency range is becoming increasingly important for applications such as remote working and learning, augmented and virtual reality, and entertainment and gaming, thanks to its greater capacity and lower latency. Increasingly, network operators are looking at outdoor Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) solutions as the most effective and economical solution to deliver the required gigabit-per-second speeds link to consumers. In parallel, due to the increasing capabilities of 5G radio base stations, mobile operators are deploying millimetre wave solutions to meet the increasing demand of backhaul network architectures for macro and high-density small cell deployments.  

Wim Van Thillo, CEO and co-founder, Pharrowtech, says: “This year has started on a great note for Pharrowtech, and this investment is another significant milestone in our journey. Despite the challenges brought by a global pandemic, Pharrowtech was able to move rapidly from imec R&D Prototypes in 2019 to scaling up production of an exceptionally advanced 60 GHz RF solution by 2022. Our agility and capabilities have kept us ahead of the curve, delivering solutions that will shape the future of ubiquitous connectivity. We would like to thank our team, our investors, partners, and especially our customers for their faith in us. With the next phase of our growth underway, we are committed to providing RF solutions to multi-GHz links to enable low-cost infrastructure and consumer applications.”

David Leftley, CTO at Bloc Ventures, added: “60 GHz licence free spectrum is rapidly becoming the spectrum of choice where low latency and multi gigabit speeds are a requirement for infrastructure and CE wireless connectivity applications. Until now, cost and power consumption has been prohibitive to wide adoption. Pharrowtech is at the forefront of enabling this market, launching highly advanced low cost and low power CMOS RF semiconductor products. Core to the team’s latest innovation is leveraging bulk CMOS rather than more expensive and exotic fabrication processes such a SiGe. To do this is an outstanding achievement. The funding round is a testament to their expertise, execution and commitment, and we are delighted to be involved in this growth journey alongside them.”

Building on imec’s R&D and prototypes, Pharrowtech recently announced the availability of the PTR1060, the world’s first IEEE 802.11ay-compliant CMOS RF chip for indoor and outdoor wireless use cases that supports the full 57 to 71 GHz bandwidth. The company also launched PTM1060 (RFM) phased array antenna modules to provide OEM/ODMs with a ready-to-use 60 GHz solution. The integration levels, performance, and capabilities of Pharrowtech’s latest RFIC open the full potential of low-cost, small form factor and low-power FWA deployments, 5G and WiFi infrastructure backhauling, next-generation consumer electronics products, and IoT devices requiring high-speed links. The programming interfaces and tuneable features of the chip and antenna allow for optimal integration by equipment makers.

Both products are currently available to select customers and are already being designed-in by a tier-one US equipment vendor. The company is also providing demonstrations and evaluation kits to the consumers and will ramp up the production in Q3 2022.

Helix Geospace raises £3m Seed funding led by Bloc Ventures to take its world-leading GPS antennas into mass production.

David Leftley, CTO and Co-founder of Bloc Ventures commented: “Over 10 billion devices make use of satellite GNSS signals for geolocation, from simple consumer location services to critical aerospace applications. But the challenge of reliable, resilient location in demanding environments remains the same. Helix has gone to the root of the problem, the antenna, with a design made possible by the company’s world leading advances in AI, applied to advanced 3D manufacturing of ceramics. The result is the highest signal sensitivity from the smallest physical size, and the lowest implementation complexity and cost for a GNSS receiver. We’re really excited to support the team as they begin scaling the company and developing the product alongside their initial customers.”

Helix Geospace, the leading innovator in antenna and RF (radio frequency) technology, is pleased to announce that it has raised £3m Seed funding in a round led by Bloc Ventures, and supported by the UK Innovation and Science Seed Fund (UKI2S), managed by Midven, part of Future Planet Capital, and private investors including a group of sophisticated HNWI’s introduced by Tony Best, who’s background is in finance and high-end electronics manufacturing.

Helix builds precision antennas designed and manufactured to the highest specifications that enable GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) product designers to create the smallest, most accurate positioning, navigation and time synchronization products. PNT (Position, Navigation and Timing) services delivered by satellite systems have become the lynchpin of global economies, with critical infrastructure, transportation, cyber-security and defence being dependent on them. These dependencies are vulnerable to the operating environments – busy cities and crowded RF spectra – and are under threat from malicious attack. Helix Geospace has invented and developed antenna technology that defends against these vulnerabilities and threats.

Helix’s patented DielectriX ™ antennas are targeted initially to receive PNT signals from GNSS (GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, Beidou) constellations, and the Satelles STL (Satellite Time and Location) signals delivered over the Iridium constellation as well as Iridium’s voice and data network. Future antenna variants will support LEO (low earth orbit) PNT services being planned and built by private companies as well as government agencies. Key capabilities of DielectriX antennas are their ability to discriminate true satellite signals from multi-path signals, interference and jamming, delivering high performance in a compact and rugged form factor. Helix’s customers include defence, automotive, aerospace and critical infrastructure sector companies.

To date, Helix has raised £5.5m investment from UKI2S and angel investors, and has participated in Wayra UK’s Intelligent Mobility Accelerator programme and Seraphim Capital’s Space Camp Mission 6. Helix has also received additional grant funding for advanced antenna development from the European Space Agency, and for anti-jamming/spoofing technology from UKI2S.

As a result of this funding round Helix CTO and DielectriX inventor, world-reknown GNSS antenna and receiver specialist Oliver Leistenwill be growing his talented team of RF engineers, and COO Nick Filler, who had led operations groups at Nokia and Jaguar Land Rover, will build Helix’s operations team to drive the manufacturing ramp-up.

James Lewis, CEO of Helix, who has founded and led a series of technology start-ups said: “We started manufacturing DielectriX antennas using state of the art laser/robotics equipment developed in-house, and we are now set to scale up rapidly through partnerships with electronics manufacturing service providers in the UK. Future manufacturing growth plans will roll out our ‘factory-in-a-box’ to deliver global capability required to meet the expected demands for autonomous vehicles and systems where absolute resilience and precision of location data is essential for safety.”

Andy Muir, Investment Director at UKI2S, added: “We are pleased to continue of our support of the UK space initiative at Harwell Campus through our investment in Helix. Their growth opportunity in the roll-out of highly resilient PNT is global, and they are well positioned to provide the ground-based capability for next generation UK or international satellite-based PNT constellations.”


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We’re delighted to announce our first Israeli investment into Shield-IoT, co-leading the round alongside NextLeap Ventures and Akamai Technologies.

Tel Aviv, Israel November 22nd, 2021— Shield-IoT, a leader in mass-scale IoT and IIoT network cyber security and operational monitoring, announced today the closing of a $7.4 million Series A round of funding. The Series A round was led by NextLeap Ventures and Bloc Ventures, with participation of Atlas Ventures, Akamai Technologies, Springtide Ventures, DIVEdigital and Janvest Capital Partners.

Founded in 2017, Shield-IoT addresses the escalating proliferation of IoT cyber threats to devices, data, critical services and infrastructure. With Shield-IoT, service providers and IoT brands can monitor and secure their mass-scale B2B IoT and IIoT networks, reduce operational costs, and generate new revenue streams with value-added services.

“Shield-IoT’s innovative approach to anomaly detection enables Akamai to provide accurate analytics at mass-scale,” says Ramanath Mallikarjuna, Chief Strategist at Akamai Technologies. “Akamai is collaborating with Shield-IoT on innovative solutions to enhance cybersecurity and operational monitoring for customers of Akamai’s IoT solutions.”

Currently in use across multiple verticals including telcos, utilities, transportation, manufacturing, smart cities, and government, Shield-IoT offers a simple-to-deploy and easy- to-operate cloud-based software solution to protect any IoT device or application with no changes to end customer networks.

Based on over 15 years of academic research and 50 academic papers, Shield-IoT coreset-AI patented technology revolutionizes IoT mass-volume data analysis through a unique transformation of “big data” into small datasets. “Coresets compress the data from n to log(n), or from 1 million to 20 data points, enabling context-free highly accurate anomaly detection in minutes instead of hours or days” says Professor Dan Feldman, Chief Scientist at Shield-IoT.

“Shield-IoT removes the big data barriers and opens the door to a $50 billion IoT connectivity services market (2025)”, says Udi Solomon, CEO and Co-Founder of Shield-IoT. “Our innovative technology is helping global IoT players to move forward and accelerate IoT growth”.


Get in touch with Bloc

We’re always looking for entrepreneurs building companies like Shield-IoT. If you’d like to get in touch with our investment team, you can do so below.

Digimarc and EVRYTHNG unite to build the world’s most powerful product identification engine with the industry’s most advanced product intelligence cloud platform

BEAVERTON, Ore., Nov. 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Digimarc Corporation (NASDAQ: DMRC), creator of Digimarc watermarks that are driving the next generation of digital identification and detection-based solutions, announced today it entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the Product Cloud company EVRYTHNG Limited in a stock transaction.

“This acquisition allows us to provide a complete solution set to our customers,” explains Digimarc CEO Riley McCormack. “The best determinant of a technology product’s value is how much of the customer’s problem it can solve. By combining Digimarc’s unique and advanced means of identification with the pioneer and most advanced supplier of product item business intelligence using any means of identification, we are now uniquely positioned to unlock additional solutions for our customers and enhance their Digimarc journey.”

EVRYTHNG is the market leader and pioneered the Product Cloud category, linking every product item to its Active Digital Identity™ on the web and joining-up product data across the value chain for visibility, validation, real time intelligence, and connection with people.

From enabling more sustainable, more transparent, and more secure supply chains to empowering consumers to verify the authenticity of products and recyclability of their packaging, combining Digimarc’s unique means of identification with the EVRYTHNG Product Cloud® makes it possible to gather and apply traceability data from across the product lifecycle, unlocking end-to-end visibility and authenticity through item-level, real-time intelligence and analytics.

“Not only are our product solutions and technology competencies directly complementary and naturally connected,” explains EVRYTHNG CEO & Co-founder Niall Murphy, “but our company values and cultures are deeply aligned, with a focus on executing as a team, committing to audacious goals, and genuine innovation with exceptional talent. We’re excited to join the Digimarc team to meet important customer needs with product data driven solutions.”

The acquisition expands the geographic footprint for both companies. EVRYTHNG, based in London with offices in New York, Beijing, Minsk, and Lausanne is finding much success in North America. Conversely, Digimarc, based in the Portland, Oregon area, has a growing customer base across Europe.

Investment will support the continued growth of leading games developer and publisher to build game portfolio and boost headcount 

Private equity firm LDC has completed a multi-million-pound investment in Marmalade Game Studio (Marmalade), a UK market leading games developer and publisher, to support the management team’s ambitious organic growth strategy and future game launches. The transaction marks the first successful exit for Bloc Ventures from its first portfolio company, having first invested in 2015.

Marmalade is the UK’s leading developer of mobile, console and PC board games. Its catalogue includes classics such as Monopoly, Cluedo and Game of Life, licensed by gaming giants such as Hasbro, with its most recent addition, Jumanji, inspired by the feature film. 

LDC’s investment will support the existing management team, led by joint CEOs Michael Willis and Cristina Mereuta, as they invest in the development of new games and recruiting new talent. The pair has already led the business through a period of exceptional growth over recent years, with revenues growing by over 100 per cent in the last three years.

Now, Marmalade continues to develop and publish high-quality family games across a wide range of platforms and licensors, targeting a number of new releases in 2022 and beyond, whilst continuing to invest in its growing team across its offices in London, UK and Lisbon, Portugal.

The investment in Marmalade was led by Dale Alderson, Jacob Leone and Aziz Ul-Haq at LDC in Manchester. As part of the transaction, Dale and Jacob will also join the board, alongside inbound Non-Executive Chairman Andrew Graham, formerly of games developer Mediatonic, which is known for games including Fall Guys – Ultimate Knockout and Foul Play.

Cristina Mereuta, joint CEO of Marmalade Game Studio, said: “We have seen people’s love for gaming blossom as they have fun and maintain connections with friends and family through gameplay. This has given us the opportunity to not only expand our portfolio of games, bringing some of the most well-loved titles to life in the digital world, but to continue recruiting the most exciting talent in the industry.”

Michael Willis, joint CEO of Marmalade Game Studio, added: “In LDC, we have a partner that is committed to backing our ambition and working closely with us to make our business plan a reality. It was also important to us that our backer was supportive of the strong working culture we have created, and we know from LDC’s track record they will help us to maintain the creative spirit and supportive environment that Marmalade is known for. With more game launches on the horizon and our recruitment drive ongoing, we’re excited to continue driving our expansion.”

Jacob Leone, Investment Manager at LDC in Manchester, added: “Michael and Cristina are truly inspirational leaders who have helped to transform Marmalade into the leading games business that it is today, nurturing strong relationships with its licensors to help bring classic games to life in the digital arena. The gaming industry has experienced exceptional growth in recent years, and Marmalade has seized the opportunity to provide players with the best quality games to enjoy.”

Bruce Beckloff, CEO at Bloc Ventures, commented: “Marmalade’s growth has been impressive. Since Bloc’s investment in 2015, we’ve worked with the management team to combine efforts around their strong gaming backgrounds and key industry relationships with our company building experience. We’re fortunate to have been part of the journey and are excited to see what the future holds for Marmalade with LDC.”

LDC has extensive experience working with technology firms across the UK, with particular expertise in supporting gaming businesses on their growth strategies. During a two-year partnership with indie games developer Team17 – led by CEO and Founder Debbie Bestwick – the business continued its significant success, with international sales increasing 40% and both revenues and EBITDA growing by more than 100% ahead of an IPO.

Marmalade’s latest launch is featured in NME as the much anticipated ‘Jumanji: The Curse Returns’ is announced with a trailer video at Gamescom.

Pharrowtech featured in Computer Weekly as it launches 60GHZ high speed wireless evaluation board as the first viable fibre alternative.

YellowDog has been working with OMass Therapeutics to accelerate the drug discovery process from over a year to a matter of hours.

Read about the project here.

There’s no denying that the manufacturing industry plays a crucial role in the UK’s economy. It provides employment for around 2.6 million people, makes up 44% of total UK exports, and contributes 11% towards Gross Value Added (GVA).

See full article here: https://www.manufacturingglobal.com/smart-manufacturing/breaking-down-barriers-keep-manufacturing-connected