OTTAWA, Ontario/SAN JOSE, California -- BitFlash Inc., an emerging leader in Internet software development which is bringing
'smart graphics' to wireless devices and the Internet, today announced that it
has raised $10.5 million CDN in venture financing. The funding is comprised of
$7.5 million CDN in equity investment from Skypoint Telecom Fund, Working Ventures
Canadian Fund, and the CBC Pension Fund; and a venture debt investment by MM Venture
Partners of $3 million CDN. Other investors include Antoine Paquin, President
and CEO of Philsar Semiconductor, and Stephan Opalski, Partner at Skypoint Capital
Corp. The funding will be used to grow the company's research and development,
sales and marketing organizations, and to productize the company's cross-platform
"This development puts us one step closer to achieving our goal - enabling rich
graphics to be published to wireless devices and all Internet platforms." said
Frederic Charpentier, President and Chief Technology Officer, BitFlash. "This
financing will enable us to invest heavily in research and development - areas
that are vital in maintaining our competitive edge and to bring our current technology
BitFlash has developed an advanced, cross-platform graphical rendition engine
that will allow electronic content publishers, e-commerce service providers, and
users of the Internet to publish and view all types of graphics on all wireless
and desktop Internet-enabled platforms. The first commercial implementation of
this core technology will be in the form of the BitFlash Wireless Graphics Server,
scheduled for release in Q1, 2001. The company also plans beta releases prior
to the final release. The product will address the emerging demand for content
publishing tools specifically geared to Internet-ready wireless devices, which
are predicted to reach 100 million units in use by 2003.
"The company is in a position to fundamentally change the way wireless device
users experience the Internet," said Leo Lax, CEO and founder of Skypoint Capital
Corp. "We have had a longstanding and strong relationship with BitFlash and have
been excited to watch the company's progress."
"We were immediately impressed by the depth of the BitFlash solution in rendering
pixel-accurate images across multi-platforms," said Minhas Mohamed, managing partner
of MM Venture Partners. "They have focused on a sector that best showcases some
of the top attributes of their technology - specifically the ability to render
images in memory and bandwidth constrained devices, such as today's cell phones.
We believe BitFlash is a true pioneer in enabling tomorrow's wireless Internet
devices and look forward to working with this strong management team."
Rich, desktop-level graphics have not been available on wireless platforms to
date, because of bandwidth, processor and memory limitations in the wireless environment.
BitFlash's engine makes rich, scalable, interactive wireless graphics a reality
due to its extremely optimized, cross-platform, operating system-independent features,
and to its small memory footprint requirements.
"We are very impressed with the technical capabilities of the team that Frederic
has assembled," said Tim Patterson, Vice President, Investments, Working Ventures.
"We are looking forward to the release of BitFlash's server product, scheduled
for Q1, 2001."
"The prospects for BitFlash's technology are tremendous," said [Contact & title],
CBC Pension Fund. "This company will open up the wireless device market to experience
a richer and more substantial Internet viewing experience, and enable entirely
new wireless applications which will help drive the entire wireless market."
BitFlash, which had four employees in June of last year, has grown to 35 people
and is expecting to more than double that number by the end of the year.
About BitFlash Inc.
BitFlash is comprised of world-class experts in low-level graphics, with in-depth
graphics and Java market knowledge. BitFlash's advanced Java-based graphics engine
will bring smart graphics to wireless devices and the Internet. The company is
headquartered in Gloucester, Canada, with sales operations in San Jose, California.
For more information, please visit the company web page at www.bitflash.com
About CBC Pension Fund
[Information to be provided.]
About MM Venture Partners
MM Venture Partners is the General Partner of the $150 million GATX/MM Venture
Finance Partnership. This privately held venture capital fund focuses exclusively
on public and private technology companies in Canada. MM Venture Partners has
focused specifically on a niche in the capital markets by providing venture debt
financing to Canadian information technology and biotechnology companies. The
fund's partner, San Francisco based GATX Capital Corp., is a global diversified
investor. For more information visit us online at www.mmvp.com
About Skypoint Capital Corp.
Skypoint Capital Corporation is a venture capital management firm that manages
the Skypoint Telecom Fund, which focuses on telecommunications and information
technology industries. The fund provides equity capital to new or growing businesses
with the potential to become major enterprises. Our firm seeks entrepreneurs with
the vision, ability and courage to operate in the always challenging, often elusive
quest for marketable technology. The fund's capital is provided by institutions
who believe in us, trust us and expect to achieve significant returns on their
investments. We are fortunate to have many friends in the investment business
who have capital and enjoy partnering with us in worthwhile venture investments.
For more information, visit us online at www.skypointcorp.com
About Working Ventures
Working Ventures Canadian Fund is sponsored by the Canadian Federation of Labour
and is one of Canada's largest national venture capital funds. Since inception,
Working Ventures has invested over $650 million in 205 small and medium-sized
businesses across Canada. The Fund has 115,000 shareholders and over $750 million
in assets under management. Head Office is in Toronto and the Fund has investment
offices in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and Halifax, Nova Scotia.
For more information, please contact:
Tel: 613-745-3232, ext. 106
High Road Communications