News Article

CIA spies good investment in Mersive Technologies
Date: Feb 29, 2012
Source: bizjournals ( click here to go to the source)

Featured firm in this article: Mersive Technologies LLC of Denver, CO

Mersive Technologies, a company that makes large-screen, video-display software, revealed a round of funding this week — and it came from none other than The Company.

That's right. The Denver-based business received an undisclosed amount of venture capital from In-Q-Tel — the venture capital arm of the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies — and from another VC firm connected to the intelligence community.

Razor's Edge Ventures LLC, a Herndon, Va., venture group that's funded by executives and officials from the national security industry, also participated in the funding round.

Mersive's software makes it possible to assemble large, detailed video displays from off-the-shelf hardware. It makes such displays more affordable, and they work better than their costly, proprietary hardware alternatives, Mersive says.

The company employs 13 people.

Such screens come in handy when you're putting up a video exhibit in a museum, or if you're a transportation organization managing a network of roads or fleet of trains.

It's also useful to organizations that spend a lot of time closely examining visual data — like, say, the Central Intelligence Agency.

Mersive's Sol software manages the big-screen display in the White House situation room.

In-Q-Tel (IQT) focuses its investments on companies creating technology expected to help U.S. spies within 36 months.

"Mersive's ability to create a new class of displays will expand users' ability to view and analyze graphic-intensive data and applications," Will Radosevich, IQT vice president of the information and communication technologies practice, said in a news release.

Mersive wasn't permitted to disclose the amount of investment, beyond saying it was a multimillion-dollar round.

Razor's Edge's typical investments are between $2 million and $4 million.

It's not the first time the intelligence community has backed area tech startups.

IQT is an investor in Tendril, the Boulder-based smart-grid technology company, and in Infinite Power Solutions, a Golden-based company that makes tiny backup power supplies for electronic components.

Past IQT investments include Boulder's @Last Software, the maker of Sketchup 3-D design software, which Google bought in 2006.

IQT's stake in Copan, a Longmont-based data-storage company didn't fare as well. Copan, like many storage hardware businesses, fizzled out during the recession. SGI bought its assets in 2010.