Utah-based HzO Inc., which makes technology for consumer and industrial electronic assemblies, has raised $7 million from Harris & Harris Group, Prudence Holdings and Pike Capital Partners. The company, which is majority owned by Zagg Inc., also saw an additional investment from Zagg. The funding will help HzO launch its technology into the market.
HzO, Inc. (“HzO” or the “Company”), a Utah based company with breakthrough WaterBlockTM technology for consumer and industrial electronic assemblies, today announced that it has completed a significant capital raise to immediately launch global sales of its patent-pending technology.
HzO owns patent-pending and trade secret technology that treats electronic circuitry and components to protect electronic devices and assemblies from moisture damage. HzO uses proprietary chemical formulas and proprietary application techniques to protect electronic circuitry for multiple markets and industry sectors. Initial HzO target markets include mobile and stationary consumer electronics and accessories for these devices, first responder devices, automotive applications, military devices and vehicles, consumer emergency response devices and solid state computing platforms.
During November 2010, ZAGG, Inc. (“ZAGG”) acquired from Northwest Maritime Institute (“NMI”) a majority stake in HzO with the vision of using the HzO technology to protect mobile electronics. On August 12, 2011, HzO raised $7.0 million in a Series B Preferred financing transaction from investors Harris & Harris Group, Prudence Holdings and Pike Capital Partners. In addition, the new investor syndicate, with an additional investment from ZAGG, acquired the remaining interest in HzO still held by NMI, allowing the new HzO investors and ZAGG to own 100% of the Company. Three ZAGG executives also participated in the NMI buyout with personal investments.
“The powerful combination of sophisticated investment firms and the recognized ZAGG marketing expertise as owners and partners in this business will accrue to the success of this business,” said Paul Clayson, President and CEO of HzO.
HzO has trademarked its coating treatment process as “WaterBlock” technology. WaterBlock technology includes a nano-scale chemical formulation applied to electronic circuitry and components through a modified vapor deposition process. Once applied, the WaterBlock technology protects electronic devices from moisture damage including common moisture conditions that rapidly destroy electronics, such as water, sweat, and humidity. In addition, WaterBlock technology protects devices from invasion by other wet substances such as acidic and chemical compounds and from dust and small debris common to electronic device failure.
Market research indicates that mobile subscribers are projected to increase significantly from 4.3 billion in 2009 to 5.8 billion in 2014. In addition, the smartphone share of the mobile phone market is projected to increase from 14.6% today to 29.0% by 2014. With greater dependence on mobile computing devices, consumers are demanding more robust devices protected from common damage that currently destroys them. These consumer demands will drive HzO technology rapidly into the market.
The Company expects to launch its technology by selling consumer electronics devices through ZAGG marketing channels. HzO has already coated consumer, industrial and military devices in small quantities, for several original equipment manufacturers (OEM) worldwide and expects rapid integration of its WaterBlock technology in multiple OEM devices through contract coating services or royalty/licensing agreements.
“When I first discovered the HzO technology, I knew this could be a global success,” said Robert G. Pedersen II, CEO and President of ZAGG. “This financing rapidly launches the commercialization of the technology, which we have improved since acquiring it, into multiple markets. I believe ZAGG will continue to benefit from this technology long into the future with its substantial equity stake in HzO.”
Doug Jamison, CEO of Harris and Harris Group stated, “After assessing the technology, the intellectual property and marketing capabilities of ZAGG, we became convinced of the opportunity to build a substantial business in the nano coatings sector.”
About ZAGG, Inc.
ZAGG® is a market leader in providing innovative consumer products like films, skins, audio and power solutions that protect, personalize, and enhance the mobile experience. ZAGG’s products are distributed worldwide with popular, award-winning brands such as the invisibleSHIELD®, ZAGGskins™, ZAGGsparq™, ZAGGbuds™ and ZAGG LEATHERskins™. In June 2011, ZAGG acquired iFrogz, a privately owned company that develops and markets mobile device cases and audio products in the value-priced, lifestyle sector, with an emphasis on design and creativity. The invisibleSHIELD, ZAGG’s patented flagship product, is the original thin film full-body protector, and is available in over 5,000 precision pre-cut designs with a lifetime replacement warranty. ZAGG products are available online at ZAGG.com and in most major retailers. For more product or investor information please visit the Company’s web site at www.ZAGG.com.
About Harris and Harris Group
Harris & Harris Group is a publicly traded venture capital company that invests in nanotechnology and microsystems. Detailed information about Harris & Harris Group and its holdings can be found on its website at www.HHVC.com.
About Prudence Holdings, Inc.
Prudence Holdings, Inc. (“Prudence Holdings”) is a private holding company that seeks opportunistic investments with long term value across industry sectors and capital structures and can make both control and non-control investments. Prudence Holdings, and its affiliated entities, focuses on partnering with experienced management teams, identifying specific market niches and reacting quickly to special situations. The principals at Prudence Holdings have made prior investments in the consumer, retail, automotive, industrial and energy sectors.
About Pike Capital Partners
Pike Capital Partners, LP is a private investment partnership based in New York City. The fund makes investments in both public and private markets, across all industries.
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