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Blu Wireless raises £12m for global 5G tech rollout

Bristol 5G technology designer Blu Wireless has raised £12.7m ($16.6m) to boost the rollout of its processor for 5G chips. This doubles the investment so far, bringing the total to over £24m ($30m).

The company joins Graphcore and XMOS as world leading chip companies in the region backed by global investors.

The HYRDA chip design works with the millimetre wave (mmWave) frequencies that are new for 5G. It is already working with leading telecoms companies and 5G chip makers in the US, Japan, the UK and mainland Europe. The customers are using HYDRA high speed modem chip design in 5G software defined ‘network of networks’ as well the latest industrial automation systems, often called Industry 4.0. It is also being used for high-speed transport links on both trains and in cars.

It allows system makers to access the full 14 GHz of spectrum available in the 57-71 GHz band, reducing the cost of 5G equipment in different applications.

The company recently announced a supplier partnership with leading international railway operator FirstGroup to deliver 5G track-to-train infrastructure in the UK. This will allow rail operators to provide super-fast and reliable onboard Wi-Fi connections. It is also part of the Airspan project in the UK that is providing gigabit data to cars at high speed, using vehicles from Mclaren.

The funding round was led by existing investors Arm, Calculus Capital, Kendall and MGL, with new investor Guinness Asset Management. THe money will be used to employ more sales, software and customer applications support teams in Bristol and around the world.

“The strong financial foundation that our investors are giving us will be crucial to our ability to work with our partners to deliver large scale mmWave 5G deployments across a number of key markets,” said Henry Nurser, CEO of Blu Wireless (above).

“Working closely with our partners and their customers, we are seeing a diverse and growing range of emerging applications for our technology – whether it be for drone-to-drone communications or private enterprise networks. We’d like to thank all our shareholders for their continued support at this pivotal commercialisation phase.”

“Blu Wireless’s mmWave technology offers an agility that will help drive the future of 5G connectivity. With their deep expertise and a proven track record, they continue to be an exceptional partner to Arm,” said Noel Hurley, VP Strategy at UK chip design giant Arm, which led the previous investment round.

“Blu Wireless is establishing itself as a world leader in enabling multi-gigabit mmWave connectivity,” said Alexander Crawford, co-Head of Investments at Calculus Capital. “We are very excited about the opportunities and prospects ahead for the company and the management team.”

“We can clearly see the technology’s potential for existing and future applications in 5G. It was a straightforward decision for us to invest,” said Shane Gallwey, Fund Manager at Guinness Asset Management.