Aurora Insight raises $18M for spectrum mapping

Aurora Insight, a startup focused on mapping and measuring spectrum, is emerging from stealth mode, announcing $18 million in funding led by Alsop Louie Partners and True Ventures.

Trippet Venture Partners, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, Promus Ventures, Alumni Ventures Group, ValueStream Ventures and Intellectus Partners also participated in the round.

The company, which has been quietly delivering spectrum intelligence across four continents to select clientele, will use the funding to scale deployment of its data-as-a-service offering.

According to CEO Brian Mengwasser, the company’s target market includes the providers of wireless connectivity, such as wireless operators, tower/building owners, smart cities and more, and next-generation applications that depend on connectivity, such as connected cars and IoT solutions.

“We’re aiming to be a common reference point for both sides of the wireless link, so to speak,” he told Fierce Wireless via email. “Wireless providers are looking for an edge to make smart investments and get more out of their network and applications are looking for ways to optimize and have confidence in this part of their stack. By providing a clear picture of the usable connectivity everywhere, we can lower the friction and accelerate next generation wireless.”

He declined to name clients for confidentiality reasons, but said the company is working with industry leaders in the space.

The company says it has developed an autonomous sensor network, powered by machine learning and digital signal processing, to continuously sample and render the full radio spectrum environment into the first “dynamic map” of connectivity.

The need for spectrum measurement solutions is on the rise, given the shared spectrum in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) 3.5 Ghz band and other sharing paradigms being discussed.

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The tech ecosystem needs dynamic solutions to get more connectivity out of limited spectrum, whether it’s through Massive MIMO beamforming, shared bands and dynamic spectrum access (CBRS and beyond), or improved waveforms—and some of these approaches will need measurement and feedback systems to work properly. “Our view simply put is if we measure it, we can improve it,” he said.

The company was founded and took its first venture capital money in December 2016. The first thing they did was turn on a sensor in the garage of one of the founders and started measuring the spectrum across Colorado.