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Esmertec tops up its second round

Esmertec has received around 3 million from France's Sofinnova.

(www.esmertec.com)

Zurich-based esmertec, a maker of Java client software for mobile terminals and other devices, announced that it has topped up its financing with a cash injection of about €3 million (SFr4.4 million) from France's Sofinnova, one of Europe's oldest venture capital investors.

The figure is only an estimate because the company only publicly disclosed that the investment "extended its ongoing round of financing to a total of EUR 10 Million".

In other words, the investment by Sofinnova brings the total amount of money the young company has raised in the past six months to €10 million.

Esmertec originally announced in late 2001 that Germany's Earlybird Venture Capital and Switzerland's Partners Private Equity, plus four other funds advised by Partners Group, had invested €7 million in the firm.

Jean Schmitt, a partner at Sofinnova Partners, has joined esmertec's board of directors.

Hansruedi Heeb, CEO of esmertec, feels that his young company is "fortunate to have partnered with top-tier investors who will help us extend our market reach and strengthen our industry leadership position".

Java phones

Esmertec makes a very light version of the Java virtual machine, called "Jbed". Mobile phone manufacturers have announced that they will be selling phones with this type of Java virtual machine installed.

The idea is to enable mobile device users to download games and other types of small Java applications on demand, in the same way that mobile phone users download ring tones and SMS logos today.

Major phone manufacturers worldwide have announced that all new phones will contain a lighter version of the Java virtual machine code found in all of today's web browsers.

Esmertec's virtual machine code is said to be faster and more reliable than many of its competitors', including Sun Microsystems, the primary licensor of Java.

Top technical staff working at esmertec were educated at Zurich's Institute for Computer Systems (Institut für Computer Systeme) at the Swiss Federal
Institute of Technology, where there is a tradition of developing and optimizing advanced virtual machines, compilers, and runtime systems under the tutelage of Prof Dr Niklaus Wirth and Prof Dr Jürg Gutknecht, inventors of the Oberon programming language and system.

by Valerie Thompson


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