Incubator to send start-ups on US visit

SETSquared, the UK’s South-West incubator, has extended its reach to the US and is looking to finalise a joint arrangement on start-up companies with IMEC.

Under an agreement with the university college of San Diego, SETSquared is paying to send one of its companies there. Mirifice, whose technology ensures the quality of a TV signal on a mobile phone, will meet US VCs, customers and potential partners.

Simon Bond, director of innovation centres for SETSquared, told Electronics Weekly: “I would like to send four of my companies over there every year from my centres in Bath and Swindon.”

Early next month, SETSquared will meet with IMEC in the hope of concluding a deal to co-operate on their respective start-up activities. IMEC has had some success with start-ups, spawning Co-Ware, now a significant EDA company, FillFactory which was sold to Cypress Semiconductor for $100m, Sirius Communications and Target Compiler Technologies. Over 20 years it has seen a 22 per cent return on its start-up investments.

According to Marc Wachsmuth, a venture capitalist who manages Capital, a €50m fund with the right of first refusal on IMEC spin-offs, the average rate of return on very early stage seed capital investments in the silicon industry is 4 per cent.

Three new companies have joined SETSquared this year, one is Phylinks, the other two are still in stealth mode. Last week three new applicants to join SETsquared went before venture capitalists Questor and Intel Capital at the executive summary panel at a Silicon South West meeting in Bath.

The total number of silicon companies now being incubated at SETsquared is seven: XMOS, SiConnect, Ensilica, Lime Micro, SiLight, Phylinks and the two in stealth mode.

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