Tao Group raises $18m

Tao Group, a company based in Reading, UK, which is developing software for networked digital devices, has received $18 million from a group of investors. Led by US investor, Bowman Capital Partners, this financing round (the company’s third) includes participations from strategic investors NEC, SHARP and Sony.

The investee company was founded in 1992 and now has offices in the US, Europe and Japan. Tao has developed intent, a multimedia platform for digital and audio-visual content, which is used in products such as smart mobile applications and digital television. The technology allows these companies to have a single strategy across all of their platforms, irrespective of operating system, hardware and function.

Francis Charig, chairman of Tao, said: “Tao’s intent product has been emerging as a major player for the current generation of client devices, and the investment will allow us to pursue an aggressive go to market’ strategy to achieve our commercial goals.” He added that operators are now actively seeking the distribution of revenue-generating services and need a platform such as Tao’s to enable the delivery of these services to the customer.

Motorola was the company’s earliest corporate investor in 1996 and Sony first invested in Tao in late 1999. Ray Burgess, corporate vice president of Motorola, has been a member of Tao’s board for almost five years. He will be joined by Hazel Cameron, the general partner at Bowman who heads the European operations. One of the reasons she cited for the investment was Tao’s ownership of a range of products that meet the immediate and future needs of the communications market.

Tao is also creating Digital Heaven, a media content software platform incorporating audio, video, and streaming based around intent. It runs on a wide range of devices including smart phones, digital televisions, games consoles, digital cameras and car navigation systems.