Source - RNS
RNS Number : 8747M
Mercia Technologies PLC
19 October 2016


19 October 2016


Mercia Technologies PLC

("Mercia", "the Company" or "the Group")


Warwick Audio Technologies strengthens Board as it prepares for commercial launch of its award winning headphone system


Mercia Technologies PLC (AIM: MERC), which is focused on the creation, funding and scaling of innovative technology businesses with high growth potential from the UK regions, is pleased to announce that its direct investment, Warwick Audio Technologies Limited ("Warwick Audio"), has strengthened its Board as it prepares for commercial launch of its headphone system with the appointment of Gary Waters, former Vice President and General Manager of BOSETM Corporation ("BOSE"), as a Non-Executive Director.


Gary was most recently responsible for the Consumer Electronics Division at BOSE.  He brings to Warwick Audio valuable experience in the development and marketing of consumer headphone products and an in-depth understanding of how to sell new audio technology into major consumer electronics OEMs and automotive suppliers.


This Board appointment coincides with Warwick Audio reaching a key milestone in its development, the first commercial application of its High-Precision Electrostatic Laminate ("HPEL") transducer, in Sonoma Acoustics' Model One Headphone System ("the M1").  Sonoma Acoustics LLC, the hi-resolution audio pioneers, launched the M1, which is targeted at the high-end, specialist audio market, at two industry events in mid-September and early October 2016 where its state-of-the-art design and technology received excellent reviews.  Furthermore, Warwick Audio's HPEL transducer received the prestigious Editor's Choice Award 2016 from Innovation & Tech Today magazine for the most innovative technology at the second of these events, the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, which is the largest consumer audio and home entertainment show in the USA. Sonoma Acoustics anticipates that the first units of the M1 will be shipped to the US and UK in mid-November 2016.


Dr Mike Grant, Executive Chairman of Warwick Audio Technologies, said:

"With 25 years' experience in both consumer and automotive audio product development, we are delighted that Gary has decided to join the Warwick Audio Board.  His experience, as well as a significant network of contacts, will make a substantial contribution to Warwick Audio's growth as we look to transform the headphone industry through the roll out of our HPEL technology in the wider consumer market.  His decision to join us is also a major vote of confidence in the outstanding audio quality and promise of HPEL."


Gary Waters, former VP and General Manager, BOSE commented further:

"Joining the Warwick Audio team at this pivotal moment in its development is really exciting.  The launch of the first HPEL based product with Sonoma Acoustics is a major milestone which has been achieved in a very short period of time.  I am excited by the vision of the company, the potential of the HPEL technology and the quality of the team.  I believe the business can create something that is truly revolutionary, delivering Hi-Resolution Audio to a broad spectrum of consumers. I look forward to working with the Warwick Audio Board to realise this ambition."


Dr Mark Volanthen, Investment Director (Electronics, Materials & Manufacturing/Engineering) of Mercia Technologies PLC, said:

"It has been encouraging to see the strong progress and positive feedback Warwick Audio has achieved this year as the business continues to build momentum as it prepares for the commercial launch of its core technology into the audiophile headphone market.  Appointing such a highly regarded industry figure as Gary is central to Warwick Audio's growth in a competitive but commercially attractive industry, as well as to developing opportunities for the application of its technology into the broader consumer headphone market and in due course, the automotive market."



Mercia Technologies Capital Markets Event

Warwick Audio, along with nine of the Group's other 'Emerging Stars' will be presenting at Mercia Technologies' Capital Markets Event later today. There will be an opportunity to meet Mercia Technologies Executive Directors, Investment Team and portfolio management teams who will be showcasing their exciting technologies in Mercia's four divisions: Software & the Internet; Digital & Digital Entertainment; Electronics, Materials & Manufacturing/Engineering and Life Sciences & Biosciences.  The event is being hosted at the office of Buchanan, 107, Cheapside, London, EC2V 6DN.  Guests are invited to attend any time between 11.00am and 5.00pm. If you would like to register for the event please telephone 020 7466 5000 or email .


For further information, please contact:

Mercia Technologies PLC

Mark Payton, Chief Executive Officer

Martin Glanfield, Chief Financial Officer 


+44 (0)330 223 1430


Cenkos Securities plc

Ivonne Cantu / Mark Connelly (NOMAD)

+44 (0)20 7397 8900


Sophie McNulty, Victoria Hayns, Stephanie Watson

+44 (0)20 7466 5000



About Mercia

Mercia is a national investment group focused on the creation, funding and scaling of innovative businesses with high growth potential from the UK regions. Mercia employs 60 people across six offices and it has one of the largest university networks in the UK with 18 university partnerships across the Midlands, the North of England and Scotland. These partnerships provide access to high quality, regional deal flow which accounts for approximately one third of Mercia's investments.


Mercia's 'Complete Capital Solution' enables it to scale businesses via its third party funds (with more than £220.0million under management) and then over time Mercia identifies its 'Emerging Stars' which it can provide further capital to using its own balance sheet.

Mercia focuses on sourcing and scaling businesses across four sectors: Digital & Digital Entertainment; Life Sciences and Bio-sciences; Software & the Internet and; Electronics, Materials & Manufacturing/Engineering.


In a recent report (Source: Beauhurst, The Deal, 2015/16), Mercia was found to be the fifth most active investor in the UK and the fourth most active in technology.  Since its IPO in December 2014, the Company continues to seek early stage third party investment opportunities and it has directly invested over £24.0million across its portfolio of 'Emerging Stars'. In addition to providing its direct investments with the required capital, Mercia also supports the management teams to build towards exits that will realise incremental value for Mercia shareholders over the medium term.


The Mercia Group comprises Mercia Technologies PLC, Mercia Fund Management Ltd and Enterprise Ventures Group Ltd. Mercia is quoted on AIM with the epic "MERC".


About Warwick Audio Technologies

Founded in 2002, Warwick Audio Technologies is a spin-out from the University of Warwick that specialises in the development of a new generation of planar transducers, the High Precision Electrostatic Laminate (HPEL). Its patented HPEL technology delivers HiRes Audio reproduction to a wide range of consumer and business applications. The company enables Original Equipment Manufacturers to bring disruptive solutions to market through the provision of IP, HPEL transducers and proprietary drive electronics.


Its core target market is headphones, and in particular the premium portable market. It is also exploring longer term opportunities in other markets, in particular Automotive.

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