Fastrax financing on track

Fastrax, a Finnish global positioning system (GPS) company, has raised euro6 million in a second round of venture capital financing. CapMan, the Finnish investor, led the round which also included commitments from Eqvitec Partners and previous investors Startupfactory and Innocap. Suunto, a Finnish high tech sports instrument company, has made strategic investments in both rounds. In October last year Innocap, Suunto and Startupfactory invested euro1.3 million in the business.

The company was founded in 1999 and employs 20 people. It provides consulting services, software and hardware solutions to businesses which include GPS capabilities in their products. GPS is generally used in navigation systems but Fastrax receivers provide accurate location, time and velocity information. It is possible to tell where a device is at a specific time and how fast it’s moving. Pekka Lundmark, managing partner of Startupfactory and chairman of Fastrax’s board, said: “GPS adds a new element to current positioning in mobile networks since it can locate a mobile terminal extremely accurately, within a few metres in all three dimensions.”

The fastest growing sector using GPS technology is telematics, which includes applications in transportation and asset tracking. Fastrax predicts annual revenues from the sale of telematics equipment in Europe will exceed $2.5 billion by 2006.

According to Fastrax, the company’s main product is the world’s smallest and lowest power consuming GPS receiver system. The system is designed for use in small portable devices such as mobile phones, handheld computers and sports accessories.

Fastrax expects to start mass production of the module, which is about the size of a postage stamp, later in September. “Our main markets are in the United States, the Far East and Europe where we are currently seeking compatible sales and distribution partners,” said Kim Kaisti, CEO of Fastrax.

Last month u-blox, a Swiss company developing highly integrated GPS and microprocessor modules for use in the automotive industry and electronic consumer products, received third round financing of CHF euro20 million (euro13.2 million). The round was led by 3i and included commitments from funds advised by Partners Group, the Zurich Cantonal Bank and Innoventure Capital. The funds will be used to finance future growth.