Where it's based: Louisville, Colo.
When it was founded: 2014
Why it's Fierce: These days, wireless connectivity is being added to all kinds of devices. But what if you're not a wireless expert or can't hire an RF engineer to help make sure the radios in your new gadget work properly? For hardware and device companies that don't have deep RF expertise but want to break into wireless, BluFlux offers a wide range of services. The company offers RF, antenna and electromagnetic design, as well as engineering, testing and measurement services with the ultimate goal of speeding up time-to-market for customers.
The business model is pretty simple: Companies pay for BluFlux's consulting services and guidance through the process of pre-certification, RF and antenna design and OTA testing for mobile and other connected devices. The company also has a handful of technologies that are licensable, including a cellular signal strength enhancement product and an antenna designed for use in areas with limited connectivity.
Ben Wilmhoff, BluFlux's founder and president, has a background in the defense and aerospace industries, as does Eric Roth, the firm's director of product development. The pair also has years of RF experience, and so does the company's engineering team.
"We've got a team of engineers and technicians and the most sophisticated prototyping and retesting facilities you can imagine," Wilmhoff said. Although the company does not design its clients' hardware, its testing process includes modeling, simulation, analysis and what Wilmhoff said is "hardcore" electromagnetic testing using an anechoic chamber.
The company has worked with Otterbox, the well-known maker of durable and water resistant cell phone cases, as well as several other accessory makers, Wilmhoff said. Wilmhoff added that the company does have an investor in Blue Ocean Enterprises, Inc., which was founded by Curt Richardson, who had been the longtime CEO of Otterbox.
What's next: In addition to its existing work, BluFlux is also looking to create an indoor navigation product for public-safety workers. Wilmhoff said that BluFlux is going to add signal processing technology to mitigate multipath propagation, which can interfere with or distort signals indoors. The device would be a single, bullet-proof and bomb-proof node attached to a truck outside of a disaster area. It would provide relative location coordinates, at least, to a commander on the scene so he or she would know where to send first responders. The goal would be sell it to fire and then police departments, Wilmhoff said. The company is looking for a manufacturing partner for the product, he added.