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Columbia Technology Ventures Announces Series A Funding for MixComm
MixComm Inc., a wireless communications technology company co-founded by Electrical Engineering Professor Harish Krishnaswamy of Columbia University's Engineering School and Frank Lane, formerly Senior Director at Flarion Technologies and Vice-President of Technology for Qualcomm, has received Series A funding from Kairos Ventures to fund the development of next-generation wireless technology.
"MixComm is very excited to partner with Kairos Ventures to bring disruptive wireless solutions to the market. The demand for wireless data is growing exponentially every year, and Kairos’ investment will accelerate the development of MixComm’s wireless solution, which will be a key enabler for the next wireless revolution," said Dr. Krishnaswamy, CEO and CTO of MixComm.
Wireless technology is used for communications in smartphones, laptop computers, Wi-Fi routers, smart TVs, game consoles, and virtual-reality headsets and for radar systems in vehicles and defense electronics. The market for wireless devices is enormous, ranging in the tens of billions of units. MixComm’s development solves one of the major stumbling blocks that have limited the throughput of wireless technology and paves the way for the reliable transmission of orders of magnitude more data at higher data rates and with manageable power requirements. The company is working with chip foundries and expects to have prototype chipsets and modules ready for insertion into vendor devices in 2018.
Columbia Technology Ventures is the technology transfer office for Columbia University and a central location for many of the technology development initiatives, entrepreneurial activities, external industry collaborations, and commercially-oriented multidisciplinary technology innovations across the university.
Did you set out to develop a next-generation wireless technology or is that just one of the applications of your research?
HK: We definitely set out to develop next-generation wireless - that is a big part of what we do. My group looks at building integrated circuits for various new wireless communication paradigms, including millimeter-wave wireless, full-duplex wireless, MIMO (multi-input, multi-output) wireless, etc.
What aspects of wireless communication will be affected by your research and how?
HK: We are looking to transform both the cellular communication space as well as the Wi-Fi space, and we are developing new techniques that will enable orders-of-magnitude higher data rates for both. Many of the new ideas that people have been investigating to increase the data rate compromise the range or the reliability of the link. Our core technology and IP allows increasing the data rate and increasing the range and reliability of the wireless link at the same time.
What are MixComm’s next steps?
HK: Having already done several rounds of fabrication, we will be developing product-grade ICs and working with vendors to design modules to be inserted into their devices.
Who do you expect will be your customers?
HK: Obviously, the biggest customers are cell-phone manufacturers, like Apple and Samsung. But there are many other devices that are wireless-enabled that are part of the ecosystem, including gaming consoles, smart TVs, set-top boxes, video conferencing systems, etc. There are also new applications that are very exciting that are uniquely enabled by our technology, such as wireless virtual-reality/augmented-reality headsets, such as those made by Facebook Oculus and Sony.
How competitive is this market and where does the competition come from?
HK: Very competitive. There is a lot of hype around the next generation of cellular networks (the so-called “5G”) and around next-generation Wi-Fi as well. The competition for this space is global; mostly in the US, Korea, Japan, China, and some in Europe.
But we have core technology that has been developed at Columbia that leads the industry in performance, and a leadership team that mixes radio-frequency R&D excellence with extensive experience in delivering product-grade chips in both major companies as well as successful startups for the wireless market. So, we are confident of our ability to capture the market.
For further information, please contact: Columbia Technology Ventures [email protected]