The round for the Oxford-based antenna developer was led by the UK Innovation and Science Seed Fund (UKI2S), managed by Midven, supported by Helix’s existing shareholders and incoming private investors.
The Oxford-based company was part of Wayra’s Intelligent Mobility programme and venture capital investor Seraphim’s Space Camp in 2020. The funding will enable Helix to strengthen its engineering team, build its IP portfolio and launch its first commercial antenna products in mid-2021 says CEO James Lewis. It will also provide the foundation from which Helix can raise further investment to start scale-up to mass production for applications such as driverless cars.
The Helix antennas are multi-frequency resonant devices with tightly targeted frequency discrimination using multiple helical conductor filaments on a high dielectric constant ceramic core. The first versions support the GPS and Galileo GNSS constellations with BeiDou and GLONASS versions in development.
The selective nature of the design assures integrity of data delivered to the receiver enabling positional accuracy to 10cm to be computed, which is demanded by the automotive industry for safe autonomous vehicle deployment. Moreover, the helical antenna pattern’s resonance means that troublesome reflected signals, typical of modern cities’ ‘urban canyons’ are ignored, while the on-frequency accuracy makes the system resilient to ‘noisy neighbour’ spectrum interference and deliberate jamming. All this comes in a compact and robust form factor light enough for drones and small enough for vehicle aesthetics.
“We’re delighted to have the Midven team and the UKI2S fund onboard as an investor in Helix. We are now able to confidently demonstrate our technology to lead customers in defence, aerospace and automotive sectors, and anticipate moving forward into production of our super-accurate GNSS antennas,” said James Lewis, CEO of Helix, who joined the company at the end of 2019.
“We believe this is an important strategic investment for the UK which will unlock safe, autonomous mobility. Helix’s location at our partner Harwell Campus, home to the Harwell Space Cluster, is perfect to aid their growth,” said Andy Muir, director at Midven.
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