As Scottish startup pureLiFi rolls out its first products to industry customers worldwide, the company reports that is has raised $2.25 million in its latest round of investment.
Li-Fi, a term coined by pureLiFi's co-founder and Chief Science Officer Harald Haas, is a technology based on visible light communication (VLC) that provides full networking capabilities similar to Wi-Fi but with significantly greater spatial reuse of bandwidth.
In the fourth quarter of 2014, the pureLiFi team launched and shipped what it describes as the world's first Li-Fi network product--Li-Flame--to industry customers worldwide. "Li-Fi is increasingly viewed as a transformative technology that can change the way we use the mobile Internet as part of future 5G cellular networks and at the same time be an enabler of the emerging Internet of Things," Haas said in a press release.
Various universities around the world are studying light fidelity, or Li-Fi, as a complement to capacity-challenged Wi-Fi and cellular networks. Li-Fi uses light, which runs on a much higher frequency, instead of radio waves to transmit data.
As Venture Beat points out, Haas popularized the term "Li-Fi" in a TED talk he gave back in 2011 to describe networked, bi-directional wireless communication that uses visible light instead of traditional radio frequencies.
The system developed by pureLiFi, formerly known as PureVLC, turns off-the-shelf light fixtures into Li-Fi access points that can simultaneously communicate to multiple users in a bi-directional fashion, the company explained in the release. It also consists of the world's first battery powered Li-Fi mobile unit that is attached to a laptop screen and allows user roaming within a room--or an entire building.
Investors participating in pureLiFi's latest round were led by London & Scottish Investment Partners (LSIP), a Scottish-based angel group supported by investors from London and Scotland, with additional funding from the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) and Old College Capital, the venture investment arm of the University of Edinburgh. The process was managed by Edinburgh-based corporate finance firm Quest Corporate.
The investment will be used to support the development and rollout of the product roadmap and growing the marketing and sales function. The company expects to make a related announcement on additional funding during the second half of 2015.
Li-Fi supporters contend that using the vast amounts of readily available free and unlicensed visible light could not only solve issues of limited and congested RF spectrum but also deliver much faster wireless speeds.
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