PicoChip Raises $20 Million

PicoChip, a Bath, England-based provider of signal processing products for wireless communications, has raised $20 million in sixth-round funding. Return backers include Atlas Venture, Highland Capital Partners, Intel Capital, Pond Ventures, Rothschild, Samsung and Scottish Equity Partners. The company previously raised over $84 million.


picoChip, the leading supplier of semiconductors and software for femtocells, today announced that it has passed the milestone of one million chips sold and is on track to achieve over 50% quarter-on-quarter sequential revenue growth this calendar quarter. To support expansion plans and strengthen the company’s balance sheet during this period of exceptional growth the company has secured $20m of additional equity funding.

The growth in demand for the company’s products is driven by the picoXcell™ product family that is powering the global deployments of 3G femtocells. With the growth in mobile data traffic, these low-cost plug-and-play infrastructure devices are increasingly viewed as the key to the architecture of all future cellular networks, and have created a multi-million-unit opportunity for picoChip products. picoChip is the only company today shipping large volumes of femtocell silicon, with 25 femtocell customers and products supporting the HSPA+, LTE and TD-SCDMA cellular standards.

“As we execute against our plan we have raised additional equity funding that will set the company on an even steeper growth curve,” said Nigel Toon, CEO of picoChip. “A major shift is happening in the cellular market, creating big opportunities for picoChip. With our field-proven technology, volume shipments and fast revenue growth, this investment allows us to move aggressively to grasp those opportunities.”

As part of its growth plans, picoChip is adding engineers at its development centers in Bath and Beijing, and will move to a new headquarters in Bath, UK. The plans also include accelerated product development in key areas such as LTE, HSPA+ and self-organizing networks.

In a heavily over-subscribed funding round, picoChip’s existing investors Atlas Venture, Highland Capital Partners, Intel Capital, Pond Ventures, Rothschild, Samsung, and Scottish Equity Partners all participated.

“This is an exciting time in picoChip’s life,” commented Jonathan Brooks, picoChip’s Chairman. “Our newly strengthened balance sheet gives us a solid platform on which to base the next phase in the company’s development.”

“The rapid take-up of smartphones and other always-connected devices, the huge growth in data traffic on 3G HSPA networks and the transition to LTE and 4G are disruptive changes for the cellular market,” added Nigel Toon. “Technology advances like ‘flat architecture’ and ‘small cell’ will mean a radical shake-up in the established landscape.”

In addition to residential and enterprise applications, femtocells’ plug-and-play self organizing network technology is also being applied to extend high speed 3G/4G services into buildings and public spaces and to expand coverage and capacity in metro and rural areas.

Twelve cellular network operators, including Vodafone, Softbank and AT&T, have launched femtocell offerings. Of these, the majority use picoChip silicon. picoChip has secured over twenty-five femtocell customers including Alcatel Lucent, Sagem, Ubiquisys and ip.access.

Research from industry analyst ABI indicates that over 60 carriers around the world are engaged in femtocell trials and evaluations, that more than 50% of US households are interested in femtocell products, and that femtocell shipments will exceed 40M units by 2014.

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About picoChip
picoChip is enabling the next generation of wireless infrastructure. Its picoXcell™ family of optimized silicon devices is the leader in the fast growing market for femtocell access points. Its picoArray™ family of flexible wireless processors is the leading solution for OFDMA-based network equipment, and is backed by comprehensive software support for global standards such as EDGE, HSPA, HSPA+, TD-SCDMA, WiMAX, LTE, cdma2000 and GSM. Located in Bath, UK and Beijing, China, picoChip is re-shaping mobile networks.

For more information, visit www.picochip.com