|Sale of Portfolio Company Validates ITU's Unique Focus on Disruptive Technologies Developed at Leading Research Universities|
ITU Ventures, the leading seed-stage venture capital firm that invests in and develops companies commercializing technologies affiliated with research universities, today announced the sale of portfolio company Eizel Technologies(TM), of Pittsburgh PA, to Nokia (NYSE: NOK) of Helsinki, Finland for a net price of USD $21 million.
Eizel will integrate with the enterprise network security division, Nokia Internet Communications.
Eizel employs advanced computer science technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, pattern recognition and natural language processing to transform email messages, attachments, intranet applications and web content into easily accessible formats that can be viewed from any mobile device on any network.
"We are excited about the sale of Eizel Technologies to a respected industry leader like Nokia, and credit Innovent, an Insight and Foresight team at Nokia, for helping us to quickly demonstrate the value of Eizel's disruptive technology," said Jonah Schnel, Managing Partner, ITU Ventures. "Research universities play an important role in the creation of disruptive technologies and ITU Ventures is the institutional bridge available to facilitate the commercialization process by providing early gap funding, critical guidance and support. Today's announcement validates and reinforces ITU's strategy during a time when many investors are apprehensive about the technology marketplace."
ITU Ventures' unique strategy consists of a singular focus on research universities, aggressive collaboration with large public technology corporations, and the ability to leverage supplemental funding from various government agencies. The Eizel Technologies investment opportunity was originally identified through ITU's proprietary network at Carnegie Mellon University. ITU Ventures worked closely with Eizel during its early development and subsequently led a $4.2 million Series A round in June 2002 as the sole venture investor. The funding round also included Innovent, a Nokia entrepreneurial innovation unit, as well as private investors.
"We were originally introduced to ITU Ventures by their campus liaison at Carnegie Mellon, and we have consistently been impressed by their level of involvement, competence and integrity," said Dr. Sam Leinhardt, President & CEO, Eizel Technologies. "As a veteran entrepreneur with experience leading multiple early-stage companies, I have never worked with an organization of ITU's caliber. The Partners are committed, focused and have tremendous access to corporate networks."
"Given Innovent's charter to explore emerging markets and create innovation options for Nokia, ITU Ventures is a natural alliance for us," said Stephanie Keller-Bottom, Director, Innovent. "We share a common focus and collaborative approach to working with entrepreneurs. Innovent is pleased to have worked with ITU and we are excited that Nokia was able to support the vast opportunities available with Eizel Technologies."
About ITU Ventures
ITU Ventures (www.itu.com) is the premier venture capital firm serving the unique needs of technology businesses emerging from the nation's leading research universities. With a capital base of over $50 million from strategic institutional investors, ITU Ventures invests in early-stage companies that are commercializing next-generation communication and semiconductor-related technologies. ITU Ventures was founded in 2000 and is based in Los Angeles. ITU Ventures currently works with more than 25 of the leading research universities in the United States.
About Eizel Technologies
Eizel Technologies, Inc. (www.eizel.com) employs advanced computer science technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, pattern recognition and natural language processing, to solve problems relating to universal access to content. The company's highly scalable, low maintenance, cutting edge solutions leapfrog traditional approaches dramatically reducing costs while increasing the breadth of devices that can be used to access and interact with online content.
Innovent (www.nokia.com/innovent), an Insight and Foresight team in Nokia Ventures Organization, connects to the pulse of emerging markets to explore innovation options for Nokia. Innovent offers a collaborative environment for early-stage entrepreneurs working on concepts that facilitate connections between people, their communities and the things that matter to them. Innovent offers expertise and resources to clarify the opportunity behind their visions and accelerate the process between concept and development and commercialization, within a framework of mutual trust.
Nokia is the world leader in mobile communications. Backed by its experience, innovation, user-friendliness and secure solutions, the company has become the leading supplier of mobile phones and a leading supplier of mobile, fixed broadband and IP networks. By adding mobility to the Internet Nokia creates new opportunities for companies and further enriches the daily lives of people. Nokia is a broadly held company with listings on six major exchanges.