Eye tracking in every computer – that’s the vision behind world-leading company Tobii Technology, Almi Invest’s best exit to date. When the company was listed in 2015, Almi Invest sold its holding, generating a return of 54 times the amount of invested capital.
Tobii’s patented eye-tracking technology is used to study human behavior, or as a way of interacting with computers and other devices. For example, it’s possible to use the eyes as a cursor, which allows users who cannot or don’t want to use their hands to use a computer.
The technology has multiple areas of application. The latest are within VR and AI. Tobii has formed a partnership with microchip giant Qualcomm to make eye tracking available for mobile virtual reality and augmented reality headsets.
Tobii Technology, which was founded in 2001, has experienced rapid growth and is now a world leader within eye tracking. The company was listed on the Stockholm Nasdaq Nordic stock exchange in 2015 and now has a workforce of around 800, offices in nine countries, a global distributor network and a turnover of just over SEK 1 billion (2017). The company has a market cap of SEK 3.7 billion (March 2018).
Almi Invest was one of Tobii’s first investors. Almi Invest could see that Tobii had developed innovative technology with huge potential application opportunities, and were impressed by the dedication and single-mindedness of the cohesive team of entrepreneurs that even then knew exactly what they were doing and what they wanted to achieve.
"They were already working along two lines," explains Almi Invest’s CEO Mikael Karlsson, who was responsible for the investment at the time the company was listed. "There was the assistive technology side, which had a clear customer benefit, and building eye tracking into all computers. That’s where we saw that this could be something really big!"
IPO in 2015
It was soon clear that Tobii was a good IPO candidate and when it was listed in 2015, Almi Invest took the opportunity to sell its holding.
"The investment in Tobii generated a total return of 54 times the initial investment, which is the best divestment multiple ever for us," says Mikael Karlsson.
Tobii’s founders Henrik Eskilsson, John Elvesjö and Mårten Skogö are still actively involved in the company as CEO, CTO and Director of Research.
Today, Tobii is made up of the business areas Tobii Dynavox, which offers products for people with disabilities, Tobii Pro, which provides eye-tracking solutions for studying human behavior, and Tobii Tech, which develops eye-tracking technology that can fit in standard computers and tablets.
In all computers
"Right from the start we’ve had the vision of this technology existing in all computers. But only now does it feel like a genuine possibility. We’re hugely proud of what we’ve built, but in Tobii Tech we can really venture out into completely new markets," commented CEO Henrik Eskilsson to Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet in connection with the listing.
More than 2,000 companies currently use Tobii’s technology. They include Procter & Gamble, Microsoft, Alibaba, Ipsos and Gfk, Germany’s largest market research organization, which uses Tobii’s solutions for surveys on consumer behavior, user friendliness, website optimization and packaging design.
Henrik EskilssonFirst investment year:
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