The round, led by US media content company A+E Networks and Beringea, will enable TVPlayer to be spun out from its parent group Simplestream. TVPlayer is a live TV streaming service that lets viewers watch programmes online, on mobile and tablet. Simplestream clients include Discovery Networks, Scripps Networks, Box Television, QVC, At The Races and Turner Broadcasting amongst others. TVPlayer has over 99 channels online with TVPlayer, including channels from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, UKTV, MTV, Eurosport, Comedy Central, Turner, Nickelodeon, Box Television, Capital TV, Fashion TV and QVC.
Simplestream is planning an international rollout for its TVPlayer OTT platform. The London-based aggregator has received an additional £2 million in equity funding from a consortium including investment capital firm Beringea and AIM-listed YOLO Leisure and Technology plc.
Rob Hodgkinson, investment manager at Beringea, who will join the Simplestream board, said: “The success of TVPlayer to date demonstrates there is significant demand for a multi-device aggregator of live TV in the UKmarket and internationally. We have been impressed by the progress made by Adam Smith and his team and are delighted to support the continued development of Simplestream and TVPlayer.”
Its cloud-based Media Manager software is designed to enable broadcasters to stream broadcast content live to any device with minimal latency and gain significant workflow efficiencies through the automated creation of multi-bitrate, multi-platform video files from the live stream.
Oxford Photovoltaics Ltd (Oxford PV) is a pioneering solar technology company that was founded in 2010 as a spin-off from the University of Oxford by Professor Henry Snaith. The company’s team of 37 people, including chemists and advanced materials scientists are on a fast-track to commercialising a new perovskite-based technology. Last year, Professor Snaith was named by Thomson Reuters as ‘the second most influential scientific mind’ in the world.
The company believes that this technology will enable cell manufacturers in the $100bn solar power industry to ‘boost the performance of their solar cells by around 30 per cent’, and facilitate new multi-billion dollar markets for the generation of solar power.
The new investment, the first part of a Series C funding round, was provided by a combination of new and existing shareholders, the company said. It brings the total equity raised to £21.3m over the past 18 months, with further investments expected before the end of the year, it added. Part of the funding has been earmarked to develop a demonstration line to showcase the technology to manufacturers.
Applied as a thin film layer in tandem with an active silicon cell, perovskite can boost solar cell output by around 30%, according to the company’s claims.
Oxford PV chief executive Frank Averdung said “Our technology has already demonstrated the efficiency and stability necessary to engage commercially with major industry players and become a key part of enhancing solar energy supply in years to come. This investment will support Oxford PV as we take large steps towards commercialisation.”
The highly successful Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE), based at Harwell, will lose its name and identity and become subsumed into a new ‘Defence & Security Accelerator’, according to the CDE’s current head of operations Jim Pennycook.
In addition, a new Innovation and Research Insights Unit (IRIS) will be set up to anticipate emerging technological trends and assess what impact they might have on UK defence and security.
The MoD currently spends up to a fifth of its Science and Technology budget on disruptive capability projects, such as an Unmanned Aerial System with flapping wings that has been inspired by the biology of a dragonfly. Currently in development with Oxford University spinout Animal Dynamics Ltd, the micro-drone has the potential to improve intelligence-gathering in complex urban environments. Another project is investigating the potential of laser weapons to target and defeat aerial threats.
For IRIS, individuals and companies will be invited to present their ideas in front of a ‘dragon’s den style panel’, which will see a dedicated fund of £800m dispersed over the next ten years. According to the MoD, the new approach will see the best ideas fast-tracked, with the Ministry taking more risks on cutting-edge technology than previously.
Once selected, applicants will work within the Accelerator, a dedicated hub that should speed up the time to market for the best ideas. The MoD claims the new project is designed to ‘transform the creative culture in defence and security, and will fundamentally change the way the sector does business.’
To many the concept of an ‘accelerator’ is passé. Why? The hundreds of hubs set up worldwide in a bid to duplicate the famously successful hothouses of Silicon Valley, including the 100+ in the UK, have all failed to produce results. In future the MoD ‘will launch a prospectus, hold exhibitions, and say how industry can participate’.