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Optical/IP

Friday Funding Roundup

It's been a relatively quiet week for wireless venture capital activity, but ultra-wideband chipmaker Artimi Ltd. and convergence contender Reef Point Systems Inc. raked in $30 million between them.

Reef Point Systems: Fixed/mobile convergence continues to rake in the funds. This week Burlington, Mass.-based Reef Point, which makes what it calls "convergence gateways", closed $25 million in its so-called "series two" round. The funding was led by new investor One Equity Partners , the private equity investment arm of JP.MorganChase

Reef Point is now styling itself as an FMC vendor but has an interesting past as a wireless and wireline security play called Quarry Technologies. Since its foundation in 1998, Reef Point/Quarry has raised $146 million in six rounds of funding -- four as Quarry and two as Reef Point -- and driven through several CEOs. (See Reef Point Lands $21M, Gets Woody.)

The company says that the new funds will be used to expand the distribution network for its Universal Convergence Gateway (UCG) product line. The company already has a deal with Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU).

Reef Point is just the latest FMC startup to get money for developing products that can facilitate users moving between cellular, WiFi and other networks. Agito Networks Inc. and Tango Networks Inc. have also both recently announced funding. (See Friday Funding Roundup and Friday Funding: Agito Steps Out.) Artimi Ltd: Legendary VC Vinod Khosla is giving short-range ultra-wideband tech a lift with a $5 million investment in Artimi Ltd. , which is developing Bluetooth-over-UWB chipsets that can be used to transmit data from cameras, printers and other devices really, really fast over a few feet.

Khosla Ventures is chipping in an extra $5 million to bring Artimi's series B round to $31.5 million. The Cambridge, U.K.-based company has so far raised $50 million in venture capital.

The funding marks the end of another quiet stretch for ultra-wide band. Some analysts were hoping that 2007 will be the year were the so-called "personal broadband" technology, which can transmit data at up 1 Gbit/s over 10 feet or less, would finally emerge. The funding is one of the first real signs of life in UWB this year, however. (See UWB: Hot Chips?)

Artimi has demonstrated its "next-generation Bluetooth over ultra-wideband" silicon handsets and cameras at the 3GSM World Congress and other shows. It says that consumer electronics manufacturers are now developing portable products based on its chips and this funding will allow it to maintain volume production through 2008.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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