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Smart Cards Maker Gets E10 million

France's Inside Contactless plans to use the venture capital to develop new chips and expand in the U.S. and Asia.
Jun 12, 2002June 12, 2002 -- Inside Contactless, a French semiconductor company that focuses exclusively on contactless smart cards, has raised 10 million euros ($9.4 million) in a second round of funding.

The round was led by Siparex Ventures of France and included funding from two new investors, Vertex Funds of Singapore and NIF Ventures of Japan. Two venture capital firms that previously invested in Inside, GIMV of Belgium and Alta Berkeley Venture Partners of the U.K. and Switzerland, also contributed funding.

The funding raises the total amount raised by Inside Contactless to 20 million euros (US$19 million). The company says it has a solid cash position now and plans to use the money to develop new microprocessor chip designs and expand in the U.S. and Asian markets.

"With our strong financial position, outstanding product portfolio, powerful partnerships and innovative culture, Inside has every reason to be confident of maintaining our high growth over the next few years," says Jacek Kowalski, Inside's president and CEO.

Inside Contactless (formerly Inside Technologies) was founded near Aix-en-Provence in the South of France in 1995 by engineers from several of Europe's leading smart card companies. The company says its revenues grew by 172 percent in 2001 to reach 7.5 million euros (US$7 million).

That would make Inside Contactless one of the fastest growing companies in the market for contactless smart cards, which use RFID technology to identify the cardholder without the need for touching a reader. Inside's chips operate at 13.45 MHz.

"2001 was an exceptional year for us," says Kowalski, "and we are maintaining the momentum through 2002 with the constant development of new products and markets. We are recruiting extensively to cope with demand."

The company hopes to open offices in North America and the Asia-Pacific region.
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