Based at the Northern Ireland Science Park, aptX is a world leading developer and global supplier of digital audio compression technology. With a focus in the high-end consumer and professional audio market, the aptX IP got its first big break, beating off prestigious competition, to become the building block of DTS surround sound, the preferred audio format at Universal Studios. The format made its debut on the soundtrack of Jurassic Park. Recently purchased by CSR, aptX continues to lead the world, supplying very intelligent, audio compression algorithms widely used in applications such as wireless headsets and wireless microphones. Customers include marquee brands such as Microsoft, Apple, Google, Motorola and Creative Labs. These customers use aptX technology to ensure the highest quality audio is maintained over lower bandwidth, wireless communication platforms such as Bluetooth.
In 2005 the management team were offered the opportunity of a management buyout from its UK parent company. At the time aptX had no autonomous cash and very little prospect of raising capital from the banks. Local VC companies were asked for support. Crescent Capital responded with enthusiasm and very proactively. I think they saw a Northern Ireland company that deserved Northern Ireland ownership. Crescent quickly got behind us and helped aptX through the management buyout in 2005. It’s been a very interesting journey together since then. The company has grown quite successfully over the last 4 – 5 years and Crescent Capital has been supportive all along the way. The financial investment was obviously extremely important, without it the management buyout would just not have happened. Just as importantly however, is the VC’s added value at board level and their involvement on a practical level throughout the company, which has helped to grow the company and jobs from 12 to 60 people, creating significant numbers of high value jobs in Northern Ireland.
aptX CSR generates practically 100% of its revenue exporting to leading technology regions including the USA, Japan, Germany and South Korea and competes successfully with household names like Dolby Labs and Fraunhofer. The experience and network of a VC such as Crescent Capital is tremendously valuable – we are very appreciative of venture capital support.