£2million funding for Bristol-based WiFi company
Press release issued: 10 September 2013
The University of Bristol’s SETsquared incubator has announced the first of its Enterprise Zone companies to successfully close a multi-million dollar funding round. Blu Wireless Technology has raised $3.1million (£2million) through angel investors and funding acceleration groups.
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 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 enable 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 $0.9million (£0.6million) 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."
Further informationAbout SETsquared
The SETsquared Partnership is the enterprise collaboration of the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey. Together, the universities employ 8,500 academic staff; earn £450m of the UK’s higher education research budget; and produce 11 per cent of all UK university patents.
The partnership has a 10-year track record of supporting companies through its innovation centres, which provide access to industry specialists, investors and experienced entrepreneurs. SETsquared currently supports over 250 early stage high-tech, high growth potential businesses, and 90 per cent of its incubated companies are still in business three years on. In the past five years, nearly £0.75bn in investment funding has been raised by spin outs and incubated companies.
The Bristol SETsquared Centre, now located within the Engine Shed in the heart of Bristol's Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone, supports over 60 members who between them employ over 650 people and have raised over £80m in the last six years.
A full list of the businesses currently supported by the Bristol SETsquared Centre can be found at www.setsquared.co.uk/companies/bristol-centre-members.