Blu Wireless raises $16m for 5G chip design roll out

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The mmWave system IP specialist, based in Bristol, UK, is working with leading telecoms infrastructure providers and 5G chip makers in the US, Japan, the UK and mainland Europe. They are using BW’s HYDRA high speed modem chip design in 5G software defined ‘network of networks’ as well Industry 4.0 and high-speed transportation.

The funding round was led by existing investors Arm, Calculus Capital, Kendall and MGL, with new investor Guinness Asset Management, to scale the deployment of devices using HYDRA across a range of 5G chip designs in a range of applications. The deal brings the total investment to over £24m ($30m).

The company recently announced a supplier partnership with leading international railway operator FirstGroup to deliver 5G track-to-train infrastructure in the UK. The partnership deal will enable rail operators to provide super-fast and reliable onboard Wi-Fi connections. It is also part of the Airspan project in the UK that is providing gigabit data to cars at high speed, using vehicles from Mclaren. 

THe HYDRA modem and system IP enables carrier grade connectivity using unlicensed spectrum to deliver multi-gigabit, fibre-level connections. It allows system makers to access the full 14 GHz of spectrum available in the 57-71 GHz band, reducing the cost of 5G equipment in different applications.

“The strong financial foundation that our investors are giving us will be crucial to our ability to work with our partners to deliver large scale mmWave 5G deployments across a number of key markets,” said Henry Nurser, CEO of Blu Wireless (above). “Working closely with our partners and their customers, we are seeing a diverse and growing range of emerging applications for our technology – whether it be for drone-to-drone communications or private enterprise networks. We’d like to thank all our shareholders for their continued support at this pivotal commercialisation phase.”

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The investment by ARM in October 2017 was a key boost for the company in system designs. “Blu Wireless’s mmWave technology offers an agility that will help drive the future of 5G connectivity. With their deep expertise and a proven track record, they continue to be an exceptional partner to Arm.,” said Noel Hurley, VP Strategy at Arm.

Alexander Crawford, co-Head of Investments at Calculus Capital, stated: “Blu Wireless is establishing itself as a world leader in enabling multi-gigabit mmWave connectivity. We are very excited about the opportunities and prospects ahead for the company and the management team.” Shane Gallwey, Fund Manager at Guinness Asset Management said: “We’re delighted to be backing Blu Wireless. We can clearly see the technology’s potential for existing and future applications in 5G. It was a straightforward decision for us to invest.”

The funding will be used to scale the sales, software and customer applications support teams around the world.

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