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The future of wireless communication: University spinout secures financing

Sofant’s smart antenna technology dramatically reduces the cost of producing and operating wireless network equipment while improving performance, simplifying design and reducing power consumption

Spinout company Sofant Technologies, which is developing low-energy antenna technology for 5G and satellite communications, has secured £2.3 million in an investment round that includes Old College Capital.

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Sofant is a leader in radio frequency microelectromechanical systems (RF MEMS). It is building a highly efficient radio technology platform that addresses challenges facing wireless communication systems.

Old College Capital (OCC) is the University of Edinburgh’s in-house venture investment fund. It aims to support the University’s research, staff and students by investing in high-growth, early-stage businesses associated with the University. OCC partners with experienced private sector investors to leverage the greatest support for companies within the University of Edinburgh ecosystem.

Low-power tech requires no cooling system

Sofant’s unique solution steers radio signals towards 5G receivers, improving range and performance of the antenna while reducing the power required, which avoids the need for cooling systems. Sofant is initially targeting applications in the Satcom and 5G markets where its technology reduces the power consumption of electronically scanned antenna arrays by more than 70%.

Sofant was incorporated as a University of Edinburgh spinout in 2011 to commercialise work that began at the University by academic founders at the Institute for Integrated Micro and Nano Systems (IMNS). The company is now led by tech industry veteran David Wither, who joined in 2016 as CEO.

“We are very pleased to have supportive investors who understand the value of semiconductor-based hardware. This funding will be used to complete the development of our core RF technology platform. It will also support our activities with an ecosystem of corporate partners who share Sofant’s belief that RF MEMS will disrupt the market for high-frequency satcom and 5G antenna applications,” explains David Wither, CEO, Sofant Technologies.

Growing market

OCC, which is managed by EI’s Investment team, has been a stakeholder in Sofant since 2013. Investment Executive Simon Durrant said the completion of the investment round in the current market was a testament to the company’s recent progress and the rapidly developing market applications across Satcom and 5G.

“We’re delighted to support Sofant alongside our co-investment partners. We continue to believe in Sofant’s high-calibre team and the potential of the company’s underlying antenna technology, built on research originally conducted at the University of Edinburgh,” says Simon Durrant, Investment Executive, Old College Capital.

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Edinburgh University

Edinburgh Innovations is the University of Edinburgh's commercialisation service. We benefit society and the economy by helping researchers, students and industry drive innovation. We seek opportunities, we build partnerships for mutual benefit, we make the journey easy, and we add value at every stage.