Pharrowtech raises €15 million in Series A funding to develop world’s first viable wireless alternative for optical fiber
Pharrowtech, a leader in the design and development of millimeter wave (mmWave) hardware and software for next-generation wireless applications, today announces the closure of its €15 million Series A funding round to continue developing next-generation 60 GHz wireless RF transceivers and antenna technology.
This investment round was led by Innovation Industries, a highly reputed deep tech investor based in the Netherlands, and joined by Seed Round investors imec.xpand, Bloc Ventures, and KBC Focus Fund. The funding will enable Pharrowtech to accelerate deployment of its recently launched 60 GHz CMOS Radio-Frequency Integrated Circuit (RFIC) PTR1060, and phased array antenna Radio-Frequency Module (RFM) PTM1060 for 5G unlicensed fixed wireless access, wireless infrastructure, and consumer applications. The capital raised will also be utilized to ensure best in class customer support, expanding Pharrowtech’s operations in the United States, and growing its engineering and business teams to drive the product roadmap and fuel further growth.
In a world led by digital transformation, high-speed internet connectivity has become a crucial asset. Various economic and geographic factors are leading governments and corporations worldwide to seek solutions that can bridge the digital divide and provide ultrafast connectivity. Pharrowtech delivers a unique solution, offering gigabit-per-second speeds to consumers and businesses wirelessly. The company designs sub-systems for 60GHz licence-free operations. This frequency range is becoming increasingly important for applications such as remote working and learning, augmented and virtual reality, and entertainment and gaming, thanks to its greater capacity and lower latency. Increasingly, network operators are looking at outdoor Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) solutions as the most effective and economical solution to deliver the required gigabit-per-second speeds link to consumers. In parallel, due to the increasing capabilities of 5G radio base stations, mobile operators are deploying millimeter wave solutions to meet the increasing demand of backhaul network architectures for macro and high-density small cell deployments.
Building on imec’s R&D and prototypes, Pharrowtech recently announced the availability of the PTR1060, the world’s first IEEE 802.11ay-compliant CMOS RF chip for indoor and outdoor wireless use cases that supports the full 57 to 71 GHz bandwidth. The company also launched PTM1060 (RFM) phased array antenna modules to provide OEM/ODMs with a ready-to-use 60GHz solution. The integration levels, performance, and capabilities of Pharrowtech’s latest RFIC open the full potential of low-cost, small form factor and low-power FWA deployments, 5G and WiFi infrastructure backhauling, next-generation consumer electronics products, and IoT devices requiring high-speed links. The programming interfaces and tunable features of the chip and antenna allow for optimal integration by equipment makers.
Both products are currently available to select customers and are already being designed-in by a tier-one US equipment vendor. The company is also providing demonstrations and evaluation kits to the consumers and will ramp up the production in Q3 2022.
Wim Van Thillo, CEO and co-founder, Pharrowtech, says: “This year has started on a great note for Pharrowtech and this investment is another significant milestone in our journey. Despite the challenges brought by a global pandemic, Pharrowtech was able to move rapidly from imec R&D Prototypes in 2019 to scaling up production of an exceptionally advanced 60 GHz RF solution by 2022. Our agility and capabilities have kept us ahead of the curve, delivering solutions that will shape the future of ubiquitous connectivity. We would like to thank our team, our investors, partners, and especially our customers for their faith in us. With the next phase of our growth underway, we are committed to providing RF solutions to multi-GHz links to enable low-cost infrastructure and consumer applications.”
Sander Verbrugge, Partner, Innovation Industries, comments: “Pharrowtech leads the way in enabling the next generation of connectivity with its cutting-edge technology and products. Connectivity and high bandwidth fuel innovation and are essential to modern society. We are proud to be part of this journey and to support this world-class team in achieving its global ambitions.”
David Leftley, CTO, Bloc Ventures, adds: “Global network infrastructure is evolving rapidly from costly and cumbersome technology to an agile and easy-to-deploy ecosystem. Pharrowtech is at the forefront of this revolution, improving bandwidth connectivity for all stakeholders. The team’s latest innovations are a testament to their expertise, execution and commitment, and we are delighted to support them in their future endeavors.”
Peter Vanbekbergen, Partner, imec.xpand, says: “Pharrowtech is a prime example of how a product focused imec spin-off can accelerate the introduction of advanced technologies into the marketplace. This investment supports this accelerated market introduction and will in addition strengthen the strategic positioning of Pharrowtech in the wireless eco-system. We are proud to support Pharrowtech to become a world class player in this eco-system.”
Rudi Severijns, Investment Director, KBC Focus Fund, further adds: “As a leading investor in DeepTech with a clear focus on semiconductors and leveraging the network of KBC group in its ventures in Belgium and surrounding countries, KBC Focus Fund is committed to supporting the ecosystem actively, working closely with like-minded investors like imec.xpand, Bloc Ventures and Innovation Industries. Pharrowtech’s industry leading technology will change the current trajectory of the wireless ecosystem and we are proud to have partnered with them from the start and continue supporting their growth journey.”
Pharrowtech designs and develops mmWave radio frequency (RF) technology for next-generation wireless applications, with products including RFIC semiconductors, phased antenna arrays and software solutions. Pharrowtech’s leading products serve fast growing markets including broadband 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), consumer electronic (CE) products such as virtual reality (VR) headsets and TVs, as well as smart city IoT applications.
About Innovation Industries
Innovation Industries is a leading deep tech VC fund that invests in Deep Tech, MedTech and Agri-food tech. Its team lives and breathes technology, with diverse and complementary backgrounds in (bio)physics, physiology, chemistry, engineering, and more, combined with extensive industry experience. Industrial Industries have a hands-on approach, actively supporting its portfolio companies.
Imec.xpand is an early stage and growth venture capital fund with a game-changing approach to turn hardware driven nanotechnology innovation into successful global companies. The fund is independently managed by a team of entrepreneurs, seasoned venture capitalists and business experts and is targeting ambitious tech start-ups that meet all the criteria to become a successful, scalable venture with the potential to change the world.
About Bloc Ventures
Bloc Ventures, founded by industry veterans from ARM and Vodafone, is an investment company which targets early stage ‘deep’ technology companies, working with them closely to build world leaders. Structured to identify and build on compelling investment opportunities, Bloc’s collaborative approach creates long term value and mitigates risk for investors.
About KBC Focus Fund
The KBC Focus Fund is a € 50 million venture capital fund that focuses on deeptech. We have the ambition to boost the sector of nanotechnology, microelectronics and IoT. We mainly focus on Belgium and surrounding countries where well-known expertise centers in this technological area are located.
The KBC Focus Fund leverages on the network and expertise of KBC Group and is managed by KBC Securities. KBC Securities has a solid knowledge of the tech ecosystem in Belgium and beyond with experienced teams in the M&A, Corporate Finance and Research & Sales departments. As part of KBC Group, the KBC Focus Fund aims to be long-term partners for entrepreneurs.
Imec is a world-leading research and innovation center in nanoelectronics and digital technologies. Imec leverages its state-of-the-art R&D infrastructure and its team of more than 5,000 employees and top researchers, for R&D in advanced semiconductor and system scaling, silicon photonics, artificial intelligence, beyond 5G communications and sensing technologies, and in application domains such as health and life sciences, mobility, industry 4.0, agrofood, smart cities, sustainable energy, education, … Imec unites world-industry leaders across the semiconductor value chain, Flanders-based and international tech, pharma, medical and ICT companies, start-ups, and academia and knowledge centers. Imec is headquartered in Leuven (Belgium), and has research sites across Belgium, in the Netherlands, and the USA, and offices in China, India, Taiwan and Japan. In 2020, imec’s revenue (P&L) totaled 680 million euro.