Sequans Scores $9M

WiMax chipset minnow Sequans Communications has snagged a further €7 million (US$9.26 million) in VC investment as it attempts to battle larger rivals in the 802.16 silicon market.

The French startup today announced its latest cash injection, taking total investment to approximately €9 million ($11.9 million). The round was led by Add Partners and Vision Capital, and included SGAM (the investment arm of French bank Société Générale) as well as previous investors I-Source Gestion and CapDecisif.

“I had a choice of partners to pick from in this oversubscribed round,” CEO Dr. Georges Karam tells Unstrung. “I didn’t want to have just French VCs but really wanted to push for international companies.”

Founded in September 2003 with a headcount “now above 35,” Sequans is competing against the likes of Fujitsu Ltd. (OTC: FJTSY; Tokyo: 6702), Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), TeleCIS Wireless Inc., and Wavesat Wireless Inc. in the nascent WiMax chipset market. (See Fujitsu Readies WiMax Chip, Intel's WiMax Drive, TeleCIS Maxes on MIMO, Wavesat Breaks Into WiMax, and Chip Battle Maxes Up.)

The company already lays claim to two signed deals at Airspan Networks and Cambridge Broadband Ltd. and expects to launch WiMax chipsets -- based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE)’s fixed-wireless 802.16d standard -- in June this year (see Sequans Wins Customers and Sequans Maxes Up).

Sequans then plans to deliver "single-chip" silicon based on the 802.16e mobile WiMax standard. “Our target is to have a full product available at the beginning of '06,” notes Karam.

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

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