The spirit of innovation should be rewarded, so it is gratifying to see UK company picoChip securing $20.5 million in third round funding. The round brings the company's total funding to $41.5 million. Scottish Equity Partners, Rothschild, and Intel Capital joined previous investors Pond Venture Partners and Atlas Venture to put the deal together. Intel Capital's Sriram Viswanathan said, "Intel clearly believes in ubiquitous broadband wireless communications, with the appropriate standards-based technology fitting the need." (Intel is making its own contribution to ubiquitous anywhere-anytime-any-platform communication with its new unified solution).
Forward Concepts' Will Strauss says this is a good investment for Intel. "PicoChip has the only massively-parallel, fully reprogrammable architecture out there -- with the development tools to go with it... It really works," Strauss said. The WiMax Forum's interoperability tests will begin next month, so reconfigurability is especially important.
picoChip's Rupert Baines told CommsDesigns that the new infusion will be used to hire more engineers to work on developing the company's WiMax and W-CDMA. Baines said that Intel's presence among the investors does not mean that picoChip is beginning to lean more heavily in the direction of WiMax at the expense of W-CDMA. "Intel probably invests more in W-CDMA, but it's not reported as much," he said.
I agree with Strauss that if Intel and others are looking for versatile and nimble products, picoChip is a good bet. The company's silicon offers flexibility to address several wireless standards, including WiMax, and allows operators to offer voice, video data and services, and mobility. The five-year-old company, located in Bath, England, has developed the world's highest performance DSP tuned for wireless, and it supplies complete reference designs for WiMax and HSDPA.