Technology Investors Back ensembli, to Address the Web's Growing Volume of News Content

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Three experienced investors have teamed up to back a start-up company in Sheffield, looking to change the way people discover, share and consume breaking online news stories: ensembli has been set up by a group of experienced entrepreneurs who have worked closely with the investors to develop a plan to address this opportunity.

This is a very exciting problem which is actually much more complex than it first appears. We believe we have a unique technical approach which allows us to manage the data in a new way which in turn delivers significant efficiencies to the end user.

"The web has surfaced an unprecedented volume of mainstream and niche news content; ensembli seeks to provide a user experience that will make sense of the noise - with flair - in a timely, intuitive and engaging manner, building on the culture of networked social media," said Imran Ali, a former Deputy Director of Technology Research for Orange and a founding partner of Carbon Imagineering.

"Around 1,500,000 stories are posted to the internet each day: Google might do a great job of on-demand historical search, but we don't see anything effective available to help people get the news they need," said Edward French, Investment Director with Enterprise Ventures who led the deal.

Over the next few months the company plans to use the investment from the three funds to build on the talented team in the company, and trial groundbreaking technology that they believe will provide a compelling, breakthrough product.

Ian Pringle, formerly of France Telecom's high profile Technology Research Team and founder of innovation consultancy Inteleme, said: "This is a very exciting problem which is actually much more complex than it first appears. We believe we have a unique technical approach which allows us to manage the data in a new way which in turn delivers significant efficiencies to the end user."

Enterprise Ventures led the round through investment from its own Rising Stars Growth Fund and via its involvement with the new South Yorkshire Seedcorn Fund run by South Yorkshire Investment Fund. Also participating and helping shape the new venture was the team at the Viking Fund.

Jonathan Dixon, Deputy Chief Executive of South Yorkshire Investment Fund said: "This is among the first investments made by our new Seedcorn Fund. We are delighted to support this exciting Sheffield venture that unites bright people, great ideas and a partnership of three investment companies."

"Having three keen early-stage investors working together to develop companies from the earliest possible stage is exceptional," said Andrew Burton, MD of the Viking Fund. "It's certainly been an enjoyable - and we very much hope profitable - experience."

Carl Griffith, the original founder of the company summarised: "Having helped a number of international companies optimize their news management and analysis processes, I could see the real commercial potential for a web-enabled software solution. I approached a number of investors with a modest proposal and whilst many were intrigued by the concept, securing the funding commitment proved elusive. The Viking Fund and Enterprise Ventures saw a larger opportunity behind the original business plan and brought the people, technology and finance together to enable the execution of this exciting project."

About ensembli

ensembli is a new company based in Sheffield which plans to change the way that people experience news on the internet. The details of its product will become apparent when the service launches in public beta in early 2008.

Contact: Carl Griffith, http://www.ensembli.com

About Enterprise Ventures

Enterprise Ventures is a leading provider of investment to small high growth companies. It can invest from £50,000 to £2,000,000 in companies from a variety of funds it manages. The Rising Stars Growth Funds (http://www.rsgf.co.uk/index.shtml) are successful early stage technology funds; to date these have backed around 40 early stage companies.

Contact: Deborah Moon, http://www.enterprise-ventures.co.uk

About Viking Fund

Viking Fund is a Yorkshire-wide, co-investment venture capital fund, specialising in providing finance for early-stage technology companies. The £5m fund was set up with UK government capital, under the DTI/Small Business Service's Early Growth Fund. It provides early-stage risk capital to match - on the same terms - that invested by business angels or other private sector investors.

Contact: Andrew Burton, http://www.vikingfund.co.uk

About the South Yorkshire Seedcorn Fund

South Yorkshire Investment Fund has launched a new pilot Seedcorn Fund to invest £4.6m in new and early stage technology and knowledge-based businesses. The new fund fills the gap in the local finance market for ventures that are often seen as too risky by mainstream investors. Successful applicants will be companies that are based on new and innovative technology with ideas that have strong potential and once in the market, are capable of rapid growth and provide a substantial multiple of the initial investment over a five year period.

Contact: Jonathan Dixon, http://www.syif.com

Jonathan Priestley and Caroline Soulsby of Lee & Priestley LLP acted for ensembli Limited and the management team on the investment.

Anoushka Nanji of Halliwells LLP acted for the three Investment Funds throughout the investment.

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CARL GRIFFITH
ensembli
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