Xiaomi and Glory Ventures Back Wi-Fi Chip Maker Senscomm
The wireless connectivity startup carried out its Series A on February 20.
Suzhou-based semiconductor developer Senscomm (速通半导体) has announced the completion of its first venture financing event. In this deal, two investors purchased the company’s shares: Glory Ventures, which has been actively pumping capital into Chinese and Israeli chipmakers, and the Yangtze River Xiaomi Industry Fund, a joint venture of Xiaomi (1810:HKEX), Hubei government and the Yangtze River Delta Industry Fund.
According to the report (in Chinese) by the local media outlet Sina, Lei Jun, chairman and CEO of Xiaomi, made the information public through Weibo, pointing out that the fund is actively seeking projects to invest in across a few industries, including intelligent manufacturing, industrial robotics, advanced equipment and semiconductors.
The amount of funding has not been disclosed yet.
As 36Kr reported (in Chinese), the money raised is said to be mainly destined to attract new engineers and accelerate the R&D process, bringing forward mass production of Wi-Fi 6 System-on-a-Chips (SoC). Besides, the firm intends to intensify its market promotion campaigns.
Founded in July 2018, Senscomm is focused on Integrated Circuit (IC) design, following the fabless model. According to its official website, the core team includes industry veterans with working experience in American and Korean semiconductor enterprises. Business information provider ITjuzi assesses (in Chinese) the total number of the firm’s employees at between 30 and 50.
Though it was founded less than two years ago, the chipmaker has already applied for several international patents (this one, for example) and is now independently developing hardware essential for the next, sixth generation of Wi-Fi.
The maximum data transmission speed of 3.5 gigabytes per second (Gbps), which is achievable with the fifth generation of wireless technology, is projected to reach 9.6 Gbps this time. While this can barely affect the real speed devices exchange information at, the room for overwhelming systems of interconnected sensors, known as the Internet of Things (IoT), might swell significantly. Moreover, the number of gadgets per household has grown dramatically since the Wi-Fi 5 was introduced in late 2013.
For Xiaomi, a consumer electronics giant that is betting big on smart home devices and IoT, this is another ‘ecosystem investment.’ So far, the company has injected capital into mixed-signal SoC designer Amicro (一微半导体), Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) chips startup Intelligence Silicon (智多晶) and wireless solutions provider Chipbetter (芯百特), to name a few.
The Internet of Things, as one of the concepts with the potential to disrupt the industrial status quo, heavily relies upon hardware. Advanced microelectronics thereby loom large in the industry landscape, creating multiple opportunities for fast-growing startups in the sector.