Leuven, Belgium-based Pharrowtech, a company that designs and develops millimetre wave (mmWave) hardware and software for next-generation wireless applications, announced on Thursday that it has raised €15M in its Series A round of funding.
The round was led by Innovation Industries, a Netherlands-based VC fund that invests in deeptech, medtech and agrifood tech. The round also saw participation from Seed round investors imec.xpand, Bloc Ventures, and KBC Focus Fund.
Peter Vanbekbergen, Partner at 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 ecosystem. We are proud to support Pharrowtech to become a world-class player in this ecosystem.”
The raised capital will help Pharrowtech to accelerate the 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 funds will also be utilised to ensure “best in class” customer support, expand operations in the US, and grow its engineering and business teams to drive product roadmap and accelerate growth.
CEO and co-founder of Pharrowtech, Wim Van Thillo, says, “Despite the challenges brought by a global pandemic, Pharrowtech was able to move rapidly from imec R&D Prototypes in 2019 to scale up production of an advanced 60 GHz RF solution by 2022. 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.”
What does Pharrowtech offer?
Digital transformation and high-speed internet connectivity has become a crucial asset. Various economic and geographic factors are leading governments and corporations to seek solutions that can bridge the digital divide and provide ultrafast connectivity. This is where Pharrowtech steps in.
Founded in 2018 by Carl De Ranter, Wim Van Thillo, Guerric de Streel, Khaled Khalaf, and Qixian Shi, Pharrowtech designs sub-systems for 60GHz licence-free operations. Due to its greater capacity and lower latency, this frequency range is important for applications such as remote working and learning, augmented and virtual reality, and entertainment and gaming.
The company says, “We have created the first high performance, low-cost carrier-grade radio frequency (RF) chip for the Wireless Infrastructure market, delivering the same reliable and robust service as wired alternatives. Our technology enables high-speed internet in urban, suburban and rural locations alike, at a fraction of the roll-out cost and deployment time of fibre.”
Network operators are looking at outdoor Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) solutions as the effective and economical solution to deliver the required gigabit-per-second speeds link to consumers. Also, due to the increasing capabilities of 5G radio base stations, mobile operators are deploying millimetre wave solutions to meet the demand for 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 being designed-in by a tier-one US equipment vendor. The company is also providing demonstrations and evaluation kits to consumers and will ramp up production in Q3 2022.