Comms chips

Video-Over-Wi-Fi Startup Bags $79M More

Video-over-Wi-Fi chipmaker Quantenna Communications Inc. has raised US$79 million in a round led by Rusnano, a Moscow-based firm that invests in nanotechnology projects.

Quantenna, which has now raised more than $169 million and has yet to turn a profit, will use the new funds to expand its 802.11n technology and to target new markets. The company, founded in 2006, claims its current 802.11n 4x4 MIMO platform can deliver speeds of 40 Mbit/s at distances of more than 200 feet and penetrate concrete walls. Motorola Mobility LLC , Netgear Inc. (Nasdaq: NTGR), Sigma Designs Inc. (Nasdaq: SIGM) and Technicolor (Euronext Paris: TCH; NYSE: TCH) are among vendors that have integrated its chipsets. Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) is a strategic investor. (See Quantenna Touts Wi-Fi Video Chip.)

Among lead investors, Rusnano will pitch in as much as $40 million, while the Sequoia Capital Growth Fund will add $20 million. All of Quantenna's existing major investors, along with another new investor, Bright Capital, are also participating in the new round.

Why this matters
The big cash infusion comes as consumers gravitate to Wi-Fi to feed video to tablets, phones and other connected devices to avoid cellular connections that rapidly eat away at monthly data consumption caps. MSOs and other pay-TV providers are also starting to use high-end Wi-Fi chips to shuttle managed HD video services wirelessly in the home via gateways and set-top boxes, viewing them as a complement to or potential replacement of wired home networking platforms such as Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) , HomePlug Powerline Alliance and Home Phoneline Networking Alliance (HomePNA) . (See Mobile Bubble, Mo' Trouble.)

The new round should also give Quantenna more ammunition to use against Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) and startups that specialize in video-grade Wi-Fi silicon such as Celeno Communications .

For more

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:36:16 PM
re: Video-Over-Wi-Fi Startup Bags $79M More

Told that this is the company's *sixth* round of funding. Is that some kind of record?  Anyway, those shares are getting pretty diluted. JB

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:36:15 PM
re: Video-Over-Wi-Fi Startup Bags $79M More

Should also mention that Quantenna has applied its 4x4 MIMO 802.11n silicon to the  outdoor Wi-Fi 3G/4G offload market as well. JB


rhr 12/5/2012 | 5:36:09 PM
re: Video-Over-Wi-Fi Startup Bags $79M More Jeff, the Wi-Fi space is confusing. I see this start-up is using MIMO, I am aware of 802.11ac which, I believe, comes after .11n. Then there is WiGig, an alliance not a standard. Wi-Fi has become such a key technology yet it is not clear how much of a roadmap it has or what impact having to add smarts like MIMO to boost performance has on cost and its attractiveness. One thing is for sure, that is a lot of VC investment in one company.
Flook 12/5/2012 | 5:36:05 PM
re: Video-Over-Wi-Fi Startup Bags $79M More

The 802.11n standard has been around for a while, right? And this company is getting loads of money. So what's so cool about its technology or company that it is getting all this funding?

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:36:04 PM
re: Video-Over-Wi-Fi Startup Bags $79M More

Yes, i think the size of the investment around WiFi is really what caused people to do a double-take here... and flook brings up a good point as to what is it that's exactly so special about them when other startups like Celeno are also out there, not to mention big companies like BRCM, and they're all going to chase after  802.11ac technology and speeds of 1Gbit/s+. JB


Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:36:04 PM
re: Video-Over-Wi-Fi Startup Bags $79M More

I think they are gravitating to their purported ability to use MIMO and beamforming to mitigate interference so the Wi-Fi can  spray uninterrupted HD streams around the house and still keep the video flowing as it goes through walls.  There's already a bunch of much bigger WiFi chip makers out there that I suppose will be able to do the same thing,  but these investors are apparently seeking something special in a startup that's focused on video-optimized WiFi technology. But the bet does seem fairly excessive based on my own personal experience. My Roku box sits two floors below my basic Cisco hotspot and it seems to work pretty well without any bells and whistles... but it's not in HD.  JB

Net Worthy 12/5/2012 | 5:36:03 PM
re: Video-Over-Wi-Fi Startup Bags $79M More

BelAir Networks went up to E round (and they were just acquired by Ericsson). I have never heard of an F round before.

I don't understand the appeal of video over Wi-Fi. Most of the potentially interesting applications would require multicast, and if you're multicasting then there's no benefit to MIMO.

Being able to stream HD video wirelessly from computer to TV would be useful, and MIMO might be needed in a noisy environment like an apartment building, but I don't see how that justifies the investment in Quantenna.

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