Deal round-up 06/11/01

Speech software form scores £4.3m funding; Belgian VC invests in management systems firm; Waste management firm MBO

Speech software firm scores £4.3m funding

Rhetorical Systems, a Scottish company developing speech synthesis software that turns written words into natural-sounding speech, has raised £4.3m funding. The round was led by Bell Lawrie White and included injections from firms such as Scottish Equity Partners, Pentech Ventures, Artemis and Pennine VCT.

Rhetorical’s software, developed from speech and language engineering work carried out at the University of Edinburgh, offers a wide variety of accents and speaking styles and is currently used by telephony, games and Internet organisations. The latest investment will be used to expand its sales, marketing and support functions, build on its operations in America and Europe, and develop a wider range of languages.

Belgian VC invests in management systems developer

GIMV, one of Belgium's largest VCs, has led the second round of funding of Ormvision, a company developing communication management systems for the telecom industry. Big Bang Ventures also invested in the E2m round. GIMV's portfolio is estimated to be worth about €1.2bn with investments in over 200 companies.

Ormvision, which was formed in December 2000 by operations managers from Unisource and KPN, has developed an IT system that enables telecom companies to better manage communication between operators, service providers and suppliers.

Waste management group MBO

In a MBO deal worth £7m, Limpia, a waste disposal company operating in West Yorkshire and Wolverhampton, has secured £2.3m funding from the mid market VC Lloyds TSB Development Capital (LDC). The group invests in small to medium size businesses, and provides funding for growth, management buy-outs and buy-ins. In 2000, LDC invested £110m in 25 companies, and has a portfolio with an estimated value of £1.25bn.

Limpia offers waste collection and a number of associated environmental services such as site contamination and remediation. The company has seen strong sales growth and consistent profitability, with compound annual growth of 24 per cent for the three years ended 31 March 2001.