MSBI Capital Announces Investment in DFT MicroSystems Inc.
Venture Capital Firm invests in New IT Start Up and
names Chris Arsenault Partner, InfoTech
Montreal, Quebec, Canada, October 30, 2002 — MSBI Capital, a provider of seed and early stage venture capital for the commercialization of innovations in the life sciences, information technology and the physical sciences, announced today its first investment. This will see MSBI invest $420,000 in DFT MicroSystems Inc., a newly formed company focused on delivering advanced test solutions to the micro-processing world. DFT has been established around a number of technologies developed at McGill University, and particularly around work carried out by Dr. Gordon Roberts who is the James McGill Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the university.
With the continuous improvement of the integrated circuit manufacturing process, as well as higher and higher levels of integration, complete systems involving digital, analog and radio-frequency (RF) functions are being implemented on a single semiconductor chip. The demand for these complex systems-on-a-chip (SoC) is stressing the traditional test and characterization capabilities that heretofore have been the staple of the semiconductor industry.
The Company’s product platform addresses the important analog and RF measurement limitations of conventional automatic test equipment and test methods, as well as the limitations of the technology that is needed for SoC design and manufacture. DFT MicroSystems provides the most cost effective production-worthy test solutions for multi-channel SoCs of 2 Giga bits per second and higher. DFT’s solutions impact a fast growing segment of the semiconductor industry that constitutes a US$69 billion market in 2000, growing at 10.7% per annum. Of this amount, in excess of US$20 billion is spent on testing the chips because of their growing complexity, and it is this market that DFTMicroSystems is addressing.
“DFT is well positioned to lead an industry-wide paradigm shift and dominate in a multi-billion dollar test/measurement market. Its test solutions are defined to satisfy the test/measurement needs of today’s lean and nimble SOC industry”, said Chris Arsenault, Partner at MSBI Capital. “MSBI’s role is to help the management team build up the company ab initio, over and above simply providing financial support.” MSBI is a seed venture fund associated with McGill, Sherbrooke and Bishop Universities and their affiliated hospitals.
The founding management team includes: Kenneth R. Laker, PhD, President and CEO; Gordon W. Roberts, PhD, Vice-President of Research; and Philip V. Lopresti, PhD, Vice-President of Engineering. The company will operate with offices in Montreal (QC) Canada and Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) USA.
“MSBI’s support has been tremendously valuable to our company. We have found the MSBI team, with their experience, know-how and can-do attitude, to be the right partners to help our management team navigate today’s challenging business conditions”, said Kenneth Laker, President and CEO of DFT MicroSystems Inc. “As a partner, MSBI is helping DFT attract management and work out agreements with other strategic partners and investors.”
In addition to experienced operators, DFT Microsystems has attracted top engineers from the universities of McGill and Pennsylvania. The delivery of its first product is due in the second quarter of 2003.
Venture Capital Firm names Chris Arsenault Partner, InfoTech
MSBI Capital also announced today that Chris Arsenault has joined its team as Partner. At MSBI, Chris will have special responsibility for the technology sector.
“With this appointment, we are adding significantly to the depth of business experience within MSBI Capital’s management team,” said Mark de Groot, Managing Partner of MSBI Capital. “That someone with Chris’ experience in establishing, operating and investing in successful technology companies over the course of more than 10 years is joining MSBI, is testament to MSBI’s intention to provide both financing and real management support to our investee companies.”
Chris has been involved in numerous entrepreneurial initiatives, including more recently the G8 Digital Opportunity Task Force that was behind the creation of ENABLIS Entrepreneurial Network Inc., a venture capital fund focused on helping small & medium-sized enterprises & entrepreneurs in developing countries overcome the “Digital Divide” and stimulate economic & social growth in these countries. Since 1999, he has been a member of the selection committee of Inno-Centre Inc., a leading Montreal based coaching and business service provider to technology start-ups.
Prior to joining MSBI, he was a partner and entrepreneur in residence with the Telesystem group, where, in addition to managing direct investments, he was involved in the creation of a subsidiary for Teleglobe Inc. and a subsidiary for Microcell Telecommunications Inc.
Chris helped build since its inception Wanted Technologies, a business intelligence information and technology provider, and was key in the launching of Copernic Technologies, a leading agent-based technology company. Chris began his business career in technology as founder and CEO of SIT, an international Internet integrator and the first Netscape Communications software developer, for which SIT Europe was sold to Ubizen of Belgium in 1999.
About DFT MicroSystems
DFT MicroSystems, Inc. develops low cost, specialized automatic test solutions for radio frequency (RF) and mixed-signal systems-on-a-chip (SOC). “DFT” is an industry acronym for “design for test,” a predominant design methodology used in the SOC industry. The company’s testing solutions leverage patent-pending testing and measurement technology to eliminate many of the limitations associated with conventional testing methods. The company’s solutions are targeted at all companies that test RF or mixed-signal devices for signal processing, telecommunications, audio, video, biomedical, automobile and defense applications.
About MSBI Capital
MSBI Capital is a seed and early stage venture capital fund dedicated to commercializing innovations in life sciences, information technology and the physical sciences. MSBI Capital has a particular focus on establishing and building companies based on technology advancements and inventions originating from the universities of McGill, Sherbrooke and Bishop’s, as well as their affiliated hospitals and research institutes. MSBI Capital maintains offices in Montreal, Québec, Canada. MSBI and MSBI LP are trademarks of MSBI Capital. Other registered and unregistered trademarks are the property of their respective owners. More information about MSBI is available at http://www.msbi.ca.
Helene Jutras, MSBI Capital