The Redmond startup is developing small, mobile antennas for broadband connections in boats, cars and planes.
Kymeta, a Redmond startup, has inked another funding round from Bill Gates and other existing investors to build small, mobile satellite antennas that bring new meaning to the “connected” industry.
Kymeta announced the $62 million round Monday. The funding comes from Gates, Lux Capital, Kresge Foundation and Osage University Partners — all previous investors in Kymeta.The company spun out of patent-licensing company Intellectual Ventures in 2012, and has raised a total of $124 million in just more than three years.
The 110-employee company is developing lightweight antennas that can access the broad satellite spectrum, rather than the narrower cellular spectrum, and are much smaller and cheaper than existing satellite dishes. The idea is that the antennas will eventually bring broadband Internet to boats, cars and planes.
“Really, these days, anything that moves needs to be connected, and for the first time we’re able to access that spectrum in space (while on the go),” CEO Nathan Kundtz said.
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Existing satellite dishes are often large and expensive, making it difficult to maintain them on boats or in cars. Kymeta is using metamaterials, or materials engineered to have certain properties, in this case to help steer antenna beams without using mechanical parts.
Kymeta has announced a number of partnerships in the past several months, including with Intelsat and Sharp, to create the antennas. The startup also announced a deal with Panasonic Avionics, which ordered a “significant volume” of Kymeta’s antennas early this month to make use of in its maritime division.
Kymeta is making its way through the beta and pilot phase of developing the antennas this year, and plans to enter into full commercial production at the beginning of 2017.
This latest funding will be used to take Kymeta through development to the commercial phase.