Bill Gates backs startup to bring holographic beamforming

December 18, 2017 // By Peter Clarke
Holographic beamforming (HBF), a communications technique that is claimed to be superior to MIMO and digital beamforming, is being brought to market by Pivotal Commware Inc. (Bellevue, Washington), a company that has secured $17 million in a Series A round of investment.

Pivotal Commware was founded in 2016 as a spin off from Intellectual Ventures Management LLC (Bellevue, Washington) and is an exclusive licensee of IV's metamaterials technology for use in terrestrial communications markets such as cellular, mobile access and defense. The company is the fourth spin-out from Intellectual Ventures (IV) based on metamaterials.

Contributors to the $17 million Series A round of funding include: Bill Gates, The Thermo Companies, DIG Investment, Lux Capital, the family office of Barry Sternlicht.

"The promise of metamaterials is to completely change nearly every aspect of electronic communications, and Pivotal has taken another step toward making that promise a reality. HBF is the ultimate software-defined antenna able to improve communications products across a wide range of applications," said Nathan Myhrvold, CEO of Intellectual Ventures, in  statement issued by Pivotal. Pivotal said it has been generating revenues for over a year as prime contractor to an air-to-ground, in-flight communications service provider.

"We think that travel – whether by plane, train or ship — shouldn't be a broadband dead zone," said CEO Brian Deutsch. He added: "In this market, broadband connectivity worthy of the name means continuous tracking by high gain beams with electronic-speed beam switching."

The larger opportunity, however, is mobile operators of radio access networks. Pivotal said it has generated significant 4G and 5G interest from and field-tested with Tier 1 operators.

Related links and articles:

www.pivotalcommware.com

White paper on holographic beamforming

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