According to its website, Ambarella (NASDAQ:AMBA) is:
a leading developer of low-power, high-definition video compression and image processing solutions. Ambarella's products are used in a variety of high-definition cameras including security IP cameras, sports cameras, wearable cameras, and automotive video camera recorders.
In addition, the company produces television broadcast encoding\decoding chips. With high-definition displays becoming common place, Ambarella has a bright future ahead of it. Founded in 2004, the company started in the broadcast infrastructure market, then brought the technology to consumer, sport, security, and automotive camera markets. Here is a graph of the Ambarella timeline:
Ambarella has a strong leadership team with a proven track record. This is not the first company that co-founders Fermi Wang, CEO, and Les Kohn, CTO, have started. Before Ambarella, the duo created Afara Websystems, a pioneer in server throughput computing. In July 2002, Sun Microsystems purchased Afara Websystems, and incorporated Afara's technology in the UltraSPARC system. Prior to Afara, both worked at C-Cube Microsystems, where they presumably worked together.
Three more members of the Ambarella leadership team worked at Afara Websystems, C-Cube Microsystems, or both. The long working relationship of the leadership team across multiple companies leads one to think that they work well together and enjoy it.
According to the July 5, 2013 Proxy Statement 14A, the co-founders hold slightly more than 10% of the company's common stock. This is a good indicator of the confidence level they have in the company.
Most people won't recognize the Ambarella name, but they will recognize many of the products that use the Ambarella chip sets. In October 2013, it announced a partnership with DropCam, a maker of Wi-Fi monitoring cameras for the home. Engineers from both companies worked closely together to create the DropCam Pro. Another name frequently seen is the GoPro camera. Many professional and extreme sports athletes use GoPro cameras.
In December 2013, Ambarella announced a partnership with Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL). Together the companies are working to create a wearable camera for use with the Google Helpouts, a service that allows people to assist others via a live video stream.
In January 2014, Ambarella announced the "MotorVu™ 360 automotive surround view and recording reference design. The new MotorVu™ 360 reference design features four full 1080p30 HD camera modules that can be embedded at the front, rear and side mirrors of the vehicle, providing 360° surround view for driving or parking assistance as well as simultaneous four-channel "black box" recording of road incidents."
Ambarella is a fabless design shop. This means that it hires other companies to manufacture the actual products. It works with Original Design Manufacturers and Original Equipment Manufacturers to create innovative new products to bring to the market. Ambarella is involved in both the hardware and software design.
The company has no long-term debt, and it has over $128 million in cash and cash equivalents.
Things to watch
Due to the constantly changing nature of the business and the specialized solutions it offers, no long-term contracts are made with suppliers or customers. The sales cycle takes from 12-24 months, depending on the product, and customers can walk away from a project without penalty. This makes predictions difficult, but so far, the team has managed this cycle well. Looking at the third quarter of 2014, revenue was up nearly 30% over last year.
This company looks promising for long term investors. A report by Cisco reveals that mobile video data made up 51% of Internet traffic by the end of 2012. This should only increase in the next few years, creating more demand for high-definition cameras. The team continues to innovate with new and exciting products, and it continues to look for new markets to enter. Ambarella is definitely a company to check out.