LONDON Ember Corp., a startup developer of Zigbee wireless chips, has closed a $25 million round of funding, led by Vulcan Capital.
Joining Vulcan in this latest round are ChevronTexaco Technology Ventures, Hitachi Ltd. and WestAM. Existing investors Polaris Venture Partners, DFJ New England, GrandBanks Capital, RRE Ventures and DFJ ePlanet Ventures also participated in the round, bringing the total capital Ember has raised so far to $53 million.
Ember also announced on Thursday (Sept. 30) that Bob Metcalfe, founder of 3Com, and now Polaris Ventures partner, would become Ember's chairman. Outgoing board chairman and Ember cofounder, Robert Poor, will step down to focus on research and representing Ember in business and industry forums.
"I see parallels between ZigBee and Ethernet," said Metcalfe, in a statement. "As Ethernet has connected millions of computers, Ember's technology has the potential to network-enable billions of devices that previously couldn't communicate. The company's early commitment to ZigBee will further accelerate the adoption of Ember's wireless mesh network solutions in the marketplace."
Ember's circuits are intended to provide configuring wireless networks in such applications as home control, building and industrial automation, cold chain monitoring and infrastructure security.
"Ember is ramping up volume business now with real customers in real deployments," said Jeff Grammer, Ember's chief executive officer, in the same statement.
In March 2004 Ember acquired a portfolio of 802.15.4 radio frequency (RF) integrated circuit technology from Cambridge Consultants Ltd. (Cambridge, England) which also hired the engineering team that developed the technology.