Bpifrance (through its large venture fund) and CM-CIC Capital Innovation are investing €7.5 million and €3 million respectively in Vi TECHNOLOGY, alongside the historical shareholder Neptune Technologies (a company wholly owned by Gilles Vicard and his family), as part of a €15 million fund raising transaction.
Vi TECHNOLOGY is a company based in Grenoble, France that designs, produces and markets worldwide automated optical inspection (AOI) systems for assembling electronic boards dedicated to various industries such as telecommunications, automotive, aeronautic, medical and consumer goods. These machines allow the very high-speed inspection of solder paste volume (SPI systems), then of the positioning and soldering quality of components (AOI systems) on the board during its assembly; thereby helping to improve quality and productivity and reduce manufacturing waste.
Vi TECHNOLOGY employs 120 people, more than 80 of whom in France, primarily in R&D: the company relies on a team of 50 PhDs and engineers.
Vi TECHNOLOGY is one of the historical world leaders on the market of AOI systems, which the company primarily markets outside France (95% of its revenues, more than 2,000 systems installed in 35 countries).
For several years now, the company has invested massively in R&D in order to develop a ground-breaking technological innovation to address the market of SPI systems and benefit from the growth of this less mature, high-growth segment. The new “PI” system developed by Vi TECHNOLOGY and protected by 10 patents, is recognised for the quality of the 3D image obtained, its cutting-edge interface and its ease of use, while being positioned at market prices. The technological core of this system is produced in France.
The new funds raised will give Vi TECHNOLOGY the resources to accelerate the marketing of its new system worldwide in order to rapidly gain market share in the segment of solder paste inspection (SPI), but also accelerate the development of another ground-breaking innovation for 3D automated optical inspection (AOI) that perfectly meets the needs of clients, which will take over from the existing range. The company seeks to become the world leader on these markets within five years.
According to Gilles Vicard, Chairman of the company, said: ”Bpifrance and CM-CIC Capital Innovation, two long-term partners that we know well, are acquiring stakes in the capital of Vi TECHNOLOGY at a time when the company is taking a decisive step forward with the promising commercial launch of a first ground-breaking innovation for the SPI market. This fund raising will allow Vi TECHNOLOGY to accelerate the commercial deployment of this innovation internationally and save precious time on the release of the next ground-breaking innovation for the AOI market”.
Maïlys Ferrère, Director of Bpifrance Large Venture division, said: “Vi TECHNOLOGY took a gamble on investing in innovation on a growth market dominated by Asian players, and has the opportunity to become a new mid-market company, a global leader on its market. We believe in the strong potential of the new Vi TECHNOLOGY system, which is radically different from existing solutions and whose smart design was based on collaboration with clients to identify and meet their expectations as best as possible. We are delighted to accompany Vi TECHNOLOGY teams as they strive to conquer new markets”.
Stéphane Simoncini, Investment Director for CM-CIC Capital Innovation, stated: “After several years of R&D, Vi TECHNOLOGY is starting to market its new range of "PI" products on the SPI segment. Through the numerous exchanges that we have had with the first user clients of PI on the three continents, we've learned that the product has optimum quality and that the additional value generated is radically different from existing solutions. Behind these products, the Vi TECHNOLOGY teams are known for their capacity to listen and their responsiveness. We've known Gilles Vicard for several years now and we've had the opportunity to appreciate his visionary qualities. Today, we are contributing our own funds to Vi TECHNOLOGY because we think that the company has the ideal team/technology mix to dominate its market segment".To find out more: www.vitechnology.com
Formed by the law of 31 December 2012, Bpifrance (a public sector investment bank) is the outcome of the merger between OSEO, the FSI, CDC Entreprises and FSI Régions. Its two shareholders are the French state and the Caisse des Dépôts bank. Its object is to support businesses (SMEs, medium-sized enterprises and larger companies of a strategic importance to the French economy), from start-up through to stock market flotation, by providing loans, guarantees and equity. Bpifrance also provides enhanced support and backing for innovation, export, and external growth. With its 42 regional offices, it is a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs in each region for all their finance and investment needs.
For more information: www.bpifrance.fr or follow us on Twitter: @bpifrance
CM-CIC Capital Innovation is a subsidiary of CM-CIC Capital Finance specialising in venture capital investments. Its purpose is to invest in companies developing promising technologies from the early stages of development. CM-CIC Capital Innovation selects companies with strong growth potential in fast-growing sectors such as information technology, telecommunications, electronics, life sciences, new materials and the environment. CM-CIC Capital Innovation’s policy is to provide long-term financial support for innovative start-ups in order to streamline their chances of success. The level of investment is adjusted to each individual case and is generally between €0.5 million and €5 million. The funds are injected gradually in several stages in order to meet development needs.For more information: www.cmcic-capitalfinance.com
Neptune Technologies is an industrial investor based in Paris with a history of creating or acquiring innovative technology companies, and fostering worldwide development of their activities for the long term. This family holding invests in venture capital and growth capital in companies operating on niche markets internationally, benefiting from a strong technology differentiation, and offering solid growth potential.For more information: www.neptune-technologies.com