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Belgium’s Pharrowtech, promising world’s first viable wireless alternative to fibre optics lands €15M

PharrowTech Team
Image credits: Pharrowtech

Pharrowtech, a leading designer and developer of millimetre wave (mmWave) hardware and software for next-gen wireless applications, has just recently closed its Series A funding attracting €15M from investors. This investment will assist the startup to further the development of its unique wireless connectivity solutions.

The Belgian telco startup designs next-generation solutions for fixed-wireless access, wireless VR/AR and ultra-high capacity wireless links. Pharrowtech builds on more than 12 years of high-level R&D performed at IMEC, the Belgian R&D bigshot. The startup boasts deep technical expertise in algorithms, chips and antenna design for millimetre-wave systems, creating products with best-in-class performance, power and cost features.

This investment round was led by Innovation Industries, a notable Dutch-based deep tech investor, joined by Seed Round investors IMEC.xpand, Bloc Ventures and KBC Focus Fund. Bloc Ventures CTO David Leftley commenting on the need for ultrafast connectivity remarked, “Global network infrastructure is evolving rapidly from costly and cumbersome technology to an agile and easy-to-deploy ecosystem. Pharrowtech is at the forefront of this revolution, improving bandwidth connectivity for all stakeholders. The team’s latest innovations are a testament to their expertise, execution and commitment, and we are delighted to support them in their future endeavours.”

Chasing higher-speed internet connectivity

Driven by fast-paced digital transformation, high-speed internet connectivity has grown to become a crucial asset. Governments want to grow digital economies while overcoming geographic factors that affect the bridging of the digital divide faced by many. Founded in 2018 by Carl De Ranter and Wim Van Thillo, Pharrowtech’s unique & ultrafast solution achieves gigabit-per-second speeds for consumers and businesses wirelessly. The company is designing sub-systems for 60GHz licence-free operations. This frequency range is enabling applications such as remote working and learning, AR/VR, entertainment and gaming owing to its greater capacity and lower latency.

Network operators are examining outdoor Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) solutions as they increasingly prove to be the most effective and economical solution to deliver the required gigabit-per-second speeds link to consumers. Owing to the increasing capabilities of 5G radio base stations, mobile operators are deploying millimetre wave solutions to meet the increasing demand for backhaul network architectures for macro and high-density small cell deployments.    

Pharrowtech just recently announced the availability of the PTR1060, the world’s first IEEE 802.11ay-compliant CMOS RF chip which builds on IMEC’s R&D and prototypes, supporting indoor and outdoor wireless use cases that cover the full 57 to 71 GHz bandwidth. The telco startup also launched PTM1060 (RFM) phased array antenna modules which provide OEM/ODMs with a ready-to-use 60GHz solution. Pharrowtech’s latest RFIC integration levels, performance and capabilities open the full potential of low-cost, small form factor and low-power FWA deployments. There’s also support for 5G and WiFi infrastructure backhauling, next-gen consumer electronics products and IoT devices requiring high-speed links. The programming interfaces and tunable features of the chips and antennas allow for optimal integration by equipment makers.  

Both of these products are presently available to select customers and are already being designed by a tier-one US equipment vendor. The startup is also providing demonstrations and evaluation kits to its potential consumers and will ramp up the production in Q3 2022. Wim Van Thillo, Pharrowtech’s co-Founder and CEO explained his startup’s journey, mentioning, “Despite the challenges brought by a global pandemic, Pharrowtech was able to move rapidly from IMEC R&D Prototypes in 2019 to scale up production of an exceptionally advanced 60 GHz RF solution by 2022. Our agility and capabilities have kept us ahead of the curve, delivering solutions that will shape the future of ubiquitous connectivity.”

This funding will enable Pharrowtech to accelerate the deployment of its 60 GHz CMOS Radio-Frequency Integrated Circuit (RFIC) PTR1060 and phased array antenna Radio-Frequency Module (RFM) PTM1060 for unlicensed 5G fixed wireless access, wireless infrastructure and consumer applications. The capital raised will also be utilised to ensure the best-in-class customer support on top of supporting the expansion of Pharrowtech’s operations to the US. The startup also expects to grow its business & engineering teams to drive the product roadmap and fuel further growth.

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