LONDON New Venture Partners, which has a deal with British Telecommunications negotiated in March 2003 giving it exclusive rights to technology-based BT venture spin outs, has signed a similar deal with Philips Research.
The deal will identify and create spin-off businesses based on technology from Philips Research’s global network of laboratories. To date, the NVP-BT partnership has resulted in the creation of new ventures, including Azure Solutions, Vidus (since acquired by the Nasdaq-listed @Road), Evolved Networks, Psytechnics and iO. All are based in the U.K., except California-based Microwave Photonics based.
NVP will handle internal-venture development through the formation and guidance of the new ventures. The first will be based on Philips’ electrowetting technology for improved display screens used in mobile applications such as PDAs, mobile phones and video cameras.
The exclusive relationship with NVP makes it the primary route for venture-backed spin offs from Philips Research, which will provide NVP with access to its researchers and their inventions. NVP will provide funding needed to develop the ventures while expanding them inside Philips prior to wider venture financing.
NVP will open an office at the High Tech Campus Eindhoven, complementing Philips’ strategy of opening the site to third parties.
The partnership will also create value from innovations that Philips decides not to pursue as part of the company’s business strategy, product portfolio or distribution channels, and provides Philips with a facility to create and manage spin-off ventures and to realize value from many more technologies than previously possible.
Rick Harwig, CEO of Philips Research, said, “In research you need to have a long-term planning in creating and developing new technologies in anticipation of future trends and applications, which in due time may fall outside of the scope of Philips strategy. Together with NVP we will be able to commercialize these promising technologies and turn them into viable businesses for the benefit of Philips and our innovation ecosystem.”
The electrowetting venture will commercialize technology for highly reflective, full-color, full-video displays. Electrowetting applies well-known and basic materials. Electrowetting displays are dramatically brighter while consuming less power, features that are critical for mobile devices such as mobile phones, digital cameras and video cameras.
Andrew Garman, managing partner of NVP, said, “We believe that this technology has significant potential to be a major force in the display industry and to return substantial value to Philips through utilization of an advanced technology that did not otherwise fit its business strategy.”
New Venture Partners has worked together since 1997 when it founded the New Ventures Group (NVG) at Lucent Technologies. In 2001, NVP was formed as an independent company to manage the NVG portfolio. Spin outs from Lucent include iBiquity Digital, Flarion, Vallent (formerly Watchmark-Comnitel), LPSS (now Intrado), Celiant (now part of Andrew Corp.) and Internet Photonics (now part of Ciena). NVP has U.K. offices at Martlesham Heath and in Murray Hill, N.J.