March 31, 2021 - Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium: Tessares - a technology company specializing in Hybrid Access software - has just concluded a new round of funding to fast forward an innovative software solution that will make Wi-Fi and cellular (4G and 5G) networks work as one. The UCLouvain spin-off has gained solid credibility within the telco space delivering its Hybrid Access solution for residential and SME users, and now has the ambition to bring its technology to billions of smartphone users.
New Funding Round
Thanks to the growing success of its Hybrid Access solution and a double-digit growth rate (40+% CAGR over the period 2016 - 2020), Tessares has attracted new investors. The EIC Fund and Sagemcom have led the funding round of 3.5 million EUR to which the initial investors (Proximus, VIVES & SRIW) have also contributed.
Notably, Tessares is among the first European SMEs to be granted blended finance from the EIC (European Innovation Council) Accelerator Program of the European Commission: a mix of subsidy and equity injected by the newly established EIC Fund. This very selective programme supports European growth companies bringing highly innovative and disruptive technologies to the market.
"The EIC Fund was launched to back up innovative entrepreneurs who bring new disruptive technologies and products to the market in situations where the private investors alone consider the investment still too early or too risky. Therefore, the EIC Fund is proud to co-invest into a faster, more reliable and consistent hybrid internet access for mobile devices." Heidi Kakko, European Innovation Council Fund Committee Member
Sagemcom is a long-standing industry partner of Tessares and after working together on several successful projects, Sagemcom has taken the next step and become an investor. Sagemcom brings a wealth of experience and expertise in the broadband ecosystem.
"As the main integrated partner of Tessares since its creation, we're delighted to strengthen further our relationship. We firmly believe in Tessares’ strategic vision, technology expertise and software capabilities to continue bringing innovative and unique solutions that will enable the operators to boost and enhance the broadband experience." Ahmed Selmani, Senior Executive VP, Sagemcom Broadband
Proximus - the early-stage development partner of Tessares -, VIVES - the capital fund of UCLouvain - and the SRIW - the investment partner of many ambitious business ventures in Wallonia, Belgium - have all reconfirmed their confidence in the project by contributing to the new round.
"I am very excited to participate in this new fund raising that will enable this disruptive technology to enhance the user experience of millions of smartphone users. We are confident that Tessares will contribute to the development of this growing ecosystem." Colin Loyens, Investment Manager at SRIW
This new funding will be used to accelerate the development of Tessares’ new solution which combines 4G and 5G with Wi-Fi for a superior smartphone experience.
Making Wi-Fi and cellular (4G/5G) work as one
The core business of Tessares is to develop software solutions that combine any type of Internet access. We started by combining xDSL and 4G (aka Hybrid Access) to give a speed boost to those who are too far from the fibre to have a decent Internet connection. Seven incumbent operators have already deployed the Tessares solution for their Hybrid Access service, several others are in field trials as Tessares seeks to become the leading vendor in the Hybrid Access market.
Tessares’ second solution will seamlessly combine Wi-Fi and cellular (4G and 5G) networks. This solution benefits smartphone users by always connecting them to the best network, or to both networks where appropriate, and benefits telco operators whose network assets will be better utilised, saving significant amounts of money. In the context of exponential smartphone traffic growth, unlimited data plans and the need to use network resources sustainably, the addressable market is huge as eventually billions of smartphones will benefit from this elegant approach. Tessares is cooperating with major mobile industry players in Europe and North America where the first pilot projects are already deployed.
"Wi-Fi and 4G/5G are equally needed to cope with the ever-growing data volumes generated by the smartphone users. Our ambition is to play a pivotal role and become a market leader in the solution that will make Wi-Fi and 4G/5G work as one." Denis Périquet, Tessares CEO & Co-Founder
Tessares is a spin-off from the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain), Belgium where researchers have contributed to the design, implementation and standardization of a new Internet protocol: Multipath TCP (MPTCP). Tessares is headquartered in Belgium with development and sales teams in Europe, North America, Asia and Latin America. Today, almost 60% of Tessares’ staff are shareholders.
About the EIC Fund
Established in June 2020, the European Innovation Council Fund (EIC Fund) is a breakthrough initiative of the European Commission to make direct equity and quasi-equity investments (between €500.000 and €15 million) in European high impact and deep tech start-ups and scale ups. The EIC Fund provides patient capital and invests in companies from any sector, across all EU countries and countries associated to Horizon 2020. The Fund pays particular attention to empower and support female founders as well as contributing to reduce the innovation divide among EU countries.
The EIC Fund aims to fill a critical financing gap and its main purpose is not to maximise financial investment returns, but to have a high impact by accompanying companies with disruptive technologies in their growth. Its objective is to crowd in market players, further sharing risks by building a large network of capital providers and strategic partners suitable for co-investments and follow-on funding.
Sagemcom is a leading European group on the high added-value communicating terminals market (broadband solutions, audio video solutions, and smart grid end-to-end solutions) which is based in France. Group turnover totals €2.1 billion, the headcount of 5,500 employees works in more than 50 countries.
SRIW (Société Régionale d'Investissement de Wallonie) provides equity and/or debt to companies that generate added value and employment in Wallonia.
For the last 40 years, SRIW has been facilitating the region's economic development, contributing effectively to the modernisation, growth and restructuring of the businesses that make up the Walloon industrial network.
VIVES (VIVES II - Louvain Technology Fund) is an investment fund (€ 43M created in 2011) mainly focused in UCLouvain spin-offs. VIVES has invested in around twenty companies which, together, have raised more than 650 million euros through public and private funding. VIVES Inter-University Fund, the third fund, made a first closing at € 32M in July 2020.
The VIVES funds are managed by SOPARTEC, the technology transfer and investment company of UCLouvain.