SETsquared has announced the first of its Enterprise Zone companies to successfully close a multi-million dollar funding round. Blu Wireless Technology has raised $3.1 million (£2m) through angel investors and funding acceleration groups.
The company is the first occupier of SETsquared’s new Engine Shed facility, formerly Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s drawing office at the Bristol Temple Meads station that he designed and built in 1841.
The station was created by Brunel to speed communications between London and New York. And this same drawing office is again helping to create the next generation of communications technology through Blu Wireless.
Blu Wireless will use the money to drive further growth and double its staff numbers to 30, in order to accelerate it’s the development of its next generation WiFi (801.11ad WiGig) baseband intellectual property and is working with several of the world’s leading semiconductor and system companies to take it to market.
Blu Wireless’s 60GHz baseband IP for WiGig and 4G backhaul applications enables transfer speeds of 10Gbps for the near instantaneous transfer of media files, such as 1080p HD or 4K-resolution video. It also allows mobile operators to reduce their operational costs through the use of small cells with high throughput and frequency re-use.
Smartphones and tablets exploiting next generation 802.11ad WiFi technology are soon to be introduced, each capable of downloading full HD videos within seconds.
These WiGig technologies are in very short supply, with only a handful of teams worldwide having the combination of skills required to succeed in developing these products.
The funding, completed this month, was led by Qi3 Accelerator and included a $0.9 million (£0.6m) contribution from the Angel Co-Fund, and investment from Wren Capital, the London Business Angels 2013 EIS fund and several experienced private investors.
Blu Wireless has been a member of the University of Bristol’s SETsquared Centre, the award winning business incubator, since May 2009 and is now the largest tenant in the centre’s space within the new Engine Shed facility at Temple Meads.
Blu Wireless’s CEO Henry Nurser said: “With the completion of this funding round, we will be executing our plan to become the leading supplier of baseband system IP to manufacturers in the 60GHz sector.
Nick Sturge, Director of the Bristol SETsquared Centre, added: “We have supported Blu Wireless over the last couple of years in the challenging and tortuous process of raising the investment they needed to exploit the exciting technology that they have. This proves that high quality companies WILL get funded with the best support, the best team and the best advisers. We are delighted to be helping Henry, Ray and the team through the next phase of growth.”