Founded in 1988, Archos initially specialised in portable audio and video players, before expanding into multimedia. More recently, it has focused largely on Android tablets and smartphones, creating its own line of these products.
The company is also active in development of connected objects and the EU finance is being used partly for deployment of its PicoWAN network. PicoWAN is aimed at providing an affordable, long-range solution for connected objects and 20 000 gateways to the network are expected to be set up across France during 2018.
The gateways are plugged into standard power outlets to link devices with cloud-based data services. They provide information on things like temperature, humidity, CO2 and movement.
“Archos started its activity in the field of connected objects more than two years ago and the convergence with electronic products such as tablets and smartphones makes it a natural evolution of our strategy. The EIB loan will give us additional crucial means to carry out innovative projects,” says CEO Loïc Poirier. “I am more than pleased that this authoritative financial institution has such confidence in Archos. It is a true recognition of our team’s skills and its technological achievements.”
The loan for Archos came in the form of quasi-equity, which provides capital to innovative companies so as to allow them to focus on growth rather than repaying debts. The company gets a long-term loan and instead of paying it back at regular intervals, which would drain its funds when it needs to invest, reimbursement is performance based.
Horizon 2020 backing for quasi-equity fills a gap in the market affecting about 2500 medium-sized European firms, which need EUR 10-17 million in financing and are seen as too high risk by commercial banks. It thus gives new ideas chance to develop.