Artemis Networks - pCell - wireless startups - Fierce 15 2014

Fierce 15

Where it's based: San Francisco
When it was founded: 2002

Why it's Fierce: With its new pCell technology, Artemis Networks hopes to completely revolutionize the design and operation of wireless networks. And then maybe other industries after that: "Stay tuned. We've only scratched the surface of a new era. Hint: pCell technology isn't limited to just communications," the company said on its website.

Revolution is a tall order, but at this point Artemis has all the elements lined up to do just exactly that.

First up is Artemis' founder and CEO, Steve Perlman. During his 30 years of work, Perlman has been an Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) Principal Scientist and a Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Division President, he counts 140 patents and has been involved in markets ranging from video gaming to special effects production to, now, wireless. Perlman said Artemis' technology got its start in 2002 in his Rearden Companies incubator, where he helped develop the technology over the course of a decade. Then, in 2013, when Verizon (NYSE: VZ) executives acknowledged that the carrier was already facing capacity issuesin its newly constructed LTE network, Perlman decided the time was right to bring Artemis out into the light. (Perlman's longtime friend, former Apple CEO John Sculley, compared pCell's potential impact to that of the original Macintosh computer. The pCell system, he said, "is an authentic 'moon shot' disruptive invention, one of those rare but extraordinary moments when what previously seemed improbable in science becomes possible.")

"This is the definition of disruption," added Perlman.

Perlman said Artemis' technology makes use of software-defined radio functions to create signals that intentionally interfere with each other--the result are tiny, 1-centimeter "personal cells" around the antenna of each subscriber's receiver. The upshot is a network that can work in any band, licensed or unlicensed, and in any access point configuration, and it can supply the system's maximum capacity to all of the subscribers in range--meaning, speeds won't be slowed by the addition of more users in the area.

Today, Artemis counts around 10 employees and is working to begin licensing its technology to wireless carriers and network vendors (Perlman said the company's business model aligns more closely to Dolby than Qualcomm(NASDAQ:QCOM)). "We're super happy to work with anybody," he said. "We've got this incredibly powerful thing. We've got to find a way to interface with this gigantic customer set."

What's next: Artemis said it is currently engaged with "dozens" of mobile operators worldwide and expects its first city and stadium trials in the fourth quarter of 2014, with larger scale deployments in 2015. Indeed, Artemis is already using spectrum controlled by Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) to conduct wireless tests in the San Francisco Bay Area.

But, Perlman cautioned, "this is a big, big change, and there should be some absorption time."

Perlman said Artemis expects to work with both traditional venture capital firms and the financing arms of vendors and carriers to raise additional cash for its work.

And what of revenues? Perlman said Artemis is in the pre-revenue stage now, but that the "revenues will begin at the end of this year or early next year."

Artemis Networks - pCell - wireless startups - Fierce 15 2014