u-blox is leading the change in wireless communications and positioning semiconductors and modules for the industrial, automotive and consumer markets. Within 10 years of its inception, u-blox landed on the Swiss Stock Exchange, bringing iGlobe returns of nine times its investment on its successful exit.
All of this began with a fierce pursuit to create a seamless mesh system that cuts through walls, floors and ceilings, and it only took five pioneers to make a dent in history. u-blox was founded by Dr. Gerhard Troster and four of his students: Dor Claus Habiger, JP Wyss, Daniel Ammann, and Andreas Thiel from ETH. The company's core IP was in producing compact and low-power GPS modules. Dr. Troster and his students did not stumble much in generating the early revenue, tapping onto their prior engagement with commercial partners in ETH. However, this soon reached a plateau.
Their initial foray into the US and Asia markets in 2001 made little headway. Additionally, u-blox's relationship with their key IC supplier had deteriorated as co-marketing partnership for the chipset failed to meet initial targets.
In late 2003, iGlobe was approached to invest to assist the company in penetrating the Asia market. Confident in u-blox products, which were on par with or superior to industry leaders, and convinced by the company's market positioning and the team's execution ability, iGlobe made an investment in u-blox in 2004.
A new VP Sales for Asia was hired and u-blox's Asia HQ was incubated in iGlobe's office. From Singapore, a network of distributors and direct offices sprang up in China (Beijing, Shenzhen), Taiwan, Korea and Japan. An Asia Development Centre was set up in 2007 in Singapore to better service its Asian customers for their local needs.
Today, Asia accounts for 30% of u-blox's revenue. The company's baseband ICs are fabricated at Chartered Semiconductor in Singapore. Present in 18 countries, with revenue of CHF 270.0 million in 2014, u-blox remains true to its core since the early days. The spirit of excellence and curious minds continue to pave the way for its success, and sometimes even push them past the frontiers of science. u-blox is now a fabless company with heavy investment in R&D to drive cutting-edge technology solutions for the Internet of Things.