Ascend Capital Partners, a financial investor based in Asia, has announced successful investments in four startups this year, including Piur imaging, Nanoflex Robotics, MXD, and DriveU.auto. The investments are part of Ascend’s initiative to invest up to EUR 60 million over the next few years in mobility and medtech startups across Europe and Asia.
Ascend Takes Unique Approach as Lead Investor
Founded by Monita Mo, Ascend takes a distinctive approach as a lead investor in startups by actively advising and guiding investments at the board level and operationally. Since 2002, Ascend has generated hundreds of millions of USD in returns from successful investments across Asia and Europe. Ascend’s unique role as a financial investor with a strong strategic mindset has proved successful in previous investments, most recently in its latest exit in 2022 with the sale of Grundium Oy.
Investments in Healthcare and Mobility Sectors
According to Jerry Hong, CEO of Ascend Capital Partners, the healthcare and mobility sectors have the ability to change how we live. Healthcare guides how humans treat life-threatening diseases and provides preventative measures so that we can live longer and healthier lives. Mobility helps us live fulfilling lives by enabling us to travel to places that enrich our life experiences. Ascend adheres to environmental, social, and governance goals when assessing potential investments. Both of these sectors have direct and indirect impact on our livelihood, and Ascend is proud to have worked hard to move these industries forward.
Four Successful Investments This Year
Following the successful exit of Grundium Oy and the strong performance of the wider portfolio, Ascend is launching its second wave of investments into industry-changing tech companies. So far, the firm has closed four deals this year, and has its sights set on further investments into medtech and mobility sectors.
Piur Imaging: Bridging the Gap Between 2D and 3D Imaging Modalities
Piur imaging is an Austria-based company that has a hardware/software solution that turns any standard ultrasound system into a tomographic imaging device, bridging the gap between 2D ultrasound and standard 3D imaging modalities. The technology enables tomographic 3D ultrasound imaging for a wide range of clinical applications. The company’s main focus is currently on thyroid nodule diagnosis, but the technology can be used for all vascular diseases including nerve imaging. The Series A deal first closed in March with Ascend as the lead investor investing a total of EUR 2.13 million.
Nanoflex Robotics: Developing a Robotic System for Precise Movement of Catheters
Nanoflex is developing a robotic system that allows the precise movement of specially made catheters using electromagnetic controls. The electromagnetic technology, which has been developed for decades out of the ETH in Zurich, enables surgeons to quickly and accurately navigate catheters with extreme precision throughout the vascular system. Nanoflex’s first market entry into the stroke space proves its ability to tackle the most complex vessel systems in the brain. Ascend led Nanoflex’s Series A investment round with EUR 5 million (CHF 5 million).
MXD: Focusing on Automotive Chassis Domain Control
MXD is a Shanghai-based startup that focuses on automotive chassis domain control. The company offers intelligent chassis domain control computing platform solutions based on artificial intelligence, novel fusion algorithms, digital twins, and machine learning. MXD can provide various solutions, from system-on-a-chip (SoC) to a full range of wired chassis core component systems in order to meet the different needs of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers. As the principal investor, Ascend invested USD 5 million in seed funding. The money is used to establish offices and manufacturing space and ramp up commercialization efforts.
DriveU.auto: Software-based Technology for Low Latency 4K Video Streams
DriveU.auto has developed a software-based technology that enables consistent low latency for 4k video, audio, and other streams crucial for a wide range of autonomous and teleoperated vehicles. DriveU’s tried and tested technology was originally spun out from LiveU, a world leader in the broadcast communication technology space, which was acquired by Carlyle in 2021. Ascend is proud to have acted as the lead investor in DriveU’s funding round with participation from existing shareholders. Proceeds will be used towards expanding recurring revenue projects with existing customers, and to further penetrate new industry verticals.
Ascend’s Second Wave of Investments
“We are delighted to have Ascend on board as the lead investor in our Series A round. We see Ascend as a valuable and proactive investor that is able to help us to improve our internal operations and provide us valuable business connections. Within the first few months of investment, Ascend has proven their ability by bringing on new investment partners and opening up a business connection to the Chinese market. We are grateful for Ascend’s business expertise and look forward to growing with them,” says Frederik Bender, CEO of Piur imaging.
Ascend is looking to invest in up to 10 startups in the mobility and medtech sectors, and is particularly interested in companies that have growth potential in Asia. While Ascend usually takes on the lead investor role, they are open to co-investments and syndicate partners that align with Ascend’s strategic thinking.
Ascend has been committed to Europe since 2012 when they made their investment into a Luxembourg seatbelt sensor company, IEE, which experienced a successful exit in 2016. By 2017 Ascend had already begun their portfolio investment strategy into a range of European tech start-ups, actively helping them to scale globally. Ascend’s diverse team of skilled professionals continues to work hard to source and manage investments and, alongside an advisory board of industry veterans, to act as a bridge between European innovation and Asian growth opportunities.
Ascend Capital Partners’ investments in Piur imaging, Nanoflex Robotics, MXD, and DriveU.auto reflect its commitment to investing in industry-changing tech companies in the healthcare and mobility sectors across Europe and Asia. As a lead investor, Ascend takes a distinctive approach to investing, actively advising and guiding investments at the board level and operationally. With its unique role as a financial investor with a strong strategic mindset, Ascend has proved successful in previous investments and is poised to continue its success with its second wave of investments.
David is a technology journalist with a passion for staying on top of the latest trends and developments in the industry. He has a degree in Computer Science and has been working as a journalist for more than 5 years. He joined Survey Paid in 2020 and his byline can be found on articles covering technology advancements, product reviews, and other technology-related news. Based in San Francisco, CA.
Contact Email: [email protected]