Pharrowtech raises €15m to develop wireless alternative for optical fibre

12th May 2022
Kiera Sowery

Pharrowtech announces the closure of its €15m Series A funding round to continue developing next-gen 60GHz wireless RF transceivers and antenna technology.

This investment round was led by Innovation Industries 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 60GHz 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 utilised to ensure best in class customer support, expanding Pharrowtech’s operations in the US, 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 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 71GHz 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-gen 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, said: “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 60GHz 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, commented: “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, added: “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, said: “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 added: “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.” 

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