US tech conglomerate invests $US5m in Auckland's PowerbyProxi

Boost for wireless power company backed by two NBR Rich Listers.

US tech conglomerate TE Connectivity has chipped into a $US5 million fund raising round for Auckland-based PowerbyProxi, acquiring a 15% stake.

Local investor Movac also participated in the round, lifting its stake from around 25% to 40%. 

Born out of research at Auckland University in 2007, PowerbyProxi is developing systems for wirelessly conducting power for everything from industrial machinery to wind turbines to its recently demo'd gadget for wirelessly recharging batteries without having to take them out of a consumer electronics gadget. It also has a "Proxy-Fi" prototype for wirelessly recharging smartphones and tablets (pictured), via a receiver built into a processor board - meaning a device can be rested on a powermat to recharge.

Other investors include NBR Rich Lister and majority Datacom owner John Holdsworth, The Icehouse, Auckland University research commercialisation arm Uniservices, CEO Fady Mishriki and chairman Greg Cross. Movac's managing partners include NBR Rich Lister Phil McCaw.

Pennsylvania-based, TE Connectivity (previously known as Tyco) employs 90,000 worldwide and has annual revenue of around $US13 billion and trailing 12-month profits of $US1.2 billion. It is involved in a number of sectors, including making systems to connect power and data for automotive, energy and industrial, broadband communications, consumer devices, healthcare, and aerospace,  defense industries. It is listed [NYSE:TEL] and has a $US17.4 market cap.

Its fibre optic cabling division, TE Subcom, was signed by Pacific Fibre to lay its proposed Australia-NZ-US cable.

PowerbyProxi and TE Connectivity have already collaborated on one product, the Arisco Contactless Connectivity Platform, a new line of minaturised non-contact couplers for industrial applications. The new "Arisco" platform is sold and marketed by TE and incorporate's PowerbyProxi’s Proxi-Wave technology. The pair say it has a 70% smaller footprint than competing products.

The product debuted at a trade fair in Germany in November.

Privately-held PowerbyProxi doesn't disclose is accounts but says it hopes to become profitable this year.

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