Market Insights

Building Strong Foundations: Friday Dealbook for 3/6/2020

Innovative identity solutions need sophisticated underlying technology, and this week’s deals focus on those building blocks. Sensel and AudioTelligence raised $28 million and $8.42 million to provide solutions for touch sensitivity and speech audio processing, respectively. Meanwhile, Thought Machine brought in a cool $83 million to continue the development of its cloud-based core banking platform. Ideas and foundational technology must grow in conjunction to continue the evolution of digital transformation and digital identity.


The Top Deals Covered by OWI this Week


Sensel \ \ Founded in 2013

Developer of pressure-sensitive touchpad devices designed to translate user intentions in expressive and intuitive ways. The company’s devices are multi-touch, highly sensitive, low power and mobile which detect anything with mass and the individual pressure and orientation of every single contact point, enabling creators and innovators to get a high-resolution sensor array combined with an efficient drive scheme to capture a rich force image.

The company raised $28 million of Series A venture funding from SIG Susquehanna, Shenzhen State Micro Technology and Palm Commerce Holdings on March 3, 2020, putting the company’s pre-money valuation at $90 million. Chariot Gold Limited, Inventec Appliances, Tuesday Capital, SV Tech Ventures, Morningside Group, Innolinks Ventures, Green City Ventures, and Global Value Investment Portfolio Management also participated in the round. The company intends to use the funds to expand production, customer support, and supply chain capabilities as it works with multiple OEMs to integrate its technology into next-generation mobile phones, notebooks, and more.

AudioTelligence \ \ Founded in 2017

Developer of real-time audio processing technology designed for the enhancement of Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) systems. The company’s technology uses a data-driven approach called blind audio signal separation instead of using high-quality microphones to distinguish the target voice from background noise, enabling companies to make their customers’ speech clear and intelligible.

The company raised GBP 6.5 million (USD 8.42 million) of Series A venture funding in a deal led by Octopus Ventures on March 2, 2020. Cambridge Innovation Capital and Cambridge Enterprise also participated in the round. The fund will be used to develop its product, create new partnerships and triple headcount over the next three years.


Thought Machine \ \ Founded in 2014

Developer of a cloud-based core banking platform intended to bring machine learning and big data together to develop a next-generation operating system for banks. The company’s cloud-based technology platform provides Vault OS that run in the cloud providing a secure, fast, reliable end to end banking systems, capable of managing users, accounts, savings, loans, mortgages, sophisticated financial products and can configure any type of loan or deposit account, thereby providing banking institutions with a software as a service platform to scale from one customer to tens of millions without having to incur any hard costs.

The company raised $83 million of Series B venture funding in a deal led by Draper Esprit on March 1, 2020. Lloyds Banking Group, Backed VC, IQ Capital Partners, and Playfair Capital also participated in the round. The funding will strengthen the company’s mission to transform banking by deploying modern cloud-native systems and continue investment in its core engineering capability.


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Investor Highlight


Draper Esprit \ \ Founded in 2006

Founded in 2006, Draper Esprit is a venture capital firm based in London, England. The firm seeks to invest in the commercial services, media, and software sectors.

Active Portfolio – 83

Investments (TTM) – 17

Med. Round Amount – $11.20M 

Med. Valuation – $44.07M

Exits – 105


Deal History

In the past year, Draper Esprit has invested in the following 5 identity companies:

Decibel Insight



Thought Machine



*Source: PitchBook Data Inc. with proprietary keyword searches set by OWI Analysts