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University of Bristol spin-out Ultrahaptics raises £35 million

Left to right: Steve Cliffe, CEO & President; Dr. Tom Carter, CTO; Christopher Olds, CFO

Press release issued: 5 December 2018

The world leader in mid-air touch technology, Ultrahaptics today announced fundraising £35 million in an oversubscribed Series C round of investment.

Ultrahaptics was founded by Dr Tom Carter based on the ultrasound technology that he developed during his PhD studies at the University of Bristol. Now CTO of the company and named one of MIT Technology Review's Innovator's Under 35, Dr Carter launched the start-up out of the Bristol SETsquared Centre, the University's award-winning business incubator, in 2013.

The new funding led by Mayfair Equity Partners, the buyout and growth investor, will enable Ultrahaptics to further develop and commercialise its revolutionary tactile response technology in next generation user interfaces and experiences.

Ultrahaptics CEO, Steve Cliffe SAID: “We’re delighted to welcome major new investor Mayfair, while receiving further endorsement and support from our existing shareholders for the company’s exciting next phase of development.

“Our funding has become ever more global, reflecting the potential of our technology in industry sectors and markets all over the world.”

The company's early commercialisation efforts were supported by the University's Research and Enterprise Development team and funded from the University's EPSRC Impact Acceleration Account.

The complex suite of algorithms and supporting hardware that Dr Carter developed to manipulate ultrasound waves, enables users to feel and interact with virtual buttons, switches and dials, as well as 3D shapes and virtual force fields, in mid-air - revolutionizing the way people interact with machines.

Ultrahaptics is currently engaged with blue-chip customers across key verticals such as automotive, where the company has developed concept vehicles with Bosch and Harman; digital signage; location-based entertainment; industrial controls; medical interfaces; VR games; and augmented reality / virtual reality (AR / VR) enterprise applications. The company also supports the international academic community through a programme designed to enable additional haptics research and development.

Daniel Sasaki, Managing Partner of Mayfair Equity Partners, said: “The potential for mid-air haptics systems within immersive infotainment systems and human-machine interfaces is very compelling and exciting. We look forward to supporting the Ultrahaptics team in their journey to become the global platform enabling mid-air haptics.”

Further new investors include Hostplus, the major Australian superannuation fund. Existing shareholders IP Group plc, Woodford Investment, Cornes and Dolby Family Ventures have again participated.

Dr Mark Reilly, Managing Partner of Technology at IP Group plc, said: “We are delighted to welcome such high-quality new investors to join us in supporting the next stage of growth at Ultrahaptics.”

Further information

About Ultrahaptics

Ultrahaptics is the world’s leading mid-air haptics technology company. The company has developed a unique and proprietary technology platform that enables users to receive tactile feedback without needing to wear or touch anything tangible. The technology uses ultrasound and patented algorithms to project sensations through the air and directly onto a user’s hands, enabling users to ‘feel’ virtual buttons, get tactile feedback for mid-air gestures, or interact with virtual objects.

About Mayfair Equity Partners

Mayfair Equity Partners is a buyout and growth capital investor providing capital to dynamic businesses in the TMT and Consumer sectors. Its primary focus is on building strong partnerships with exceptional management teams. Mayfair is an investor in OVO Group, a high-growth tech-enabled energy challenger brand, YO!, a multi-brand multi-channel sushi platform with operations across the UK, Canada and the US, SuperAwesome, a global high-growth digital marketing business whose technology platform enables brands and agencies to deliver kid-safe digital advertising to under-thirteen audiences, and GCI, one of the UK’s leading converged ICT service providers.


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