Neul secures $12.8 million for white space network

Ronny Kerr · June 29, 2011 · Short URL:

Cambridge startup raises Series A from DFJ Esprit to lay foundation for Machine-to-Machine Internet

Neul, provider of wireless network technology that uses the TV white space spectrum, announced Wednesday that it has raised a $12.8 million (£8 million) Series A round led by European venture capital firm DFJ Esprit, with participation from IQ Capital, Cambridge Angels and the company’s founders and employees.

In June 2009, TV stations across the United States were required to switch from analog broadcasts to digital transmission, freeing up frequencies in the white space spectrum for other technologies to use. While old media cohorts feared that using those frequencies would interfere with TV, initial tests have proven the contrary.

Like the U.S., much of the world is converting analog TV services to digital, paving the way for a startup like Neul.

The Cambridge-based company is developing a fully FCC-compliant white space wireless system that neither interferes with digital TV signals nor suffers from external interference. NeulNET, the company’s main product offering, consists of a base station, battery powered terminal device, antennas and a set of PC-based network management tools.

“It is actually quite a difficult technical challenge. The space isn’t white, it is actually gray—there is a whole lot of stuff you have to avoid and live with,” said James Collier, CEO of Neul. “Using this spectrum you have to be a good neighbor with other people using the spectrum and you must not interfere with the TV. Also you must not be interfered with by the TV transmitters which are extremely powerful.”

Ultimately, Neul is targeting the burgeoning market for Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications, which the company says could reach 50 billion connections by 2020. Encompassing everything from media broadcasting to tablet and e-readers to car firmware upgrades to rural broadband, the M2M network could literally be understood as the “Internet of everything,” as Neul likes to say.

The new funding will be used to boost manufacturing and further expand the company.

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