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Altair Semiconductor Raises $25 Million for LTE-Only Chips

07 July 2013

Altair Semiconductor, a leading developer of single-mode LTE chip sets, has completed a $25 million round of funding from existing investors Bessemer, BRM, Giza, JVP and Pacific Technology.

"Our month over month increase in chip shipments is a testament to the widespread move towards LTE-only across the industry and we intend to use the funds to support our customers as they ramp high volume production and deploy their products in the field," said Oded Melamed, co-founder and CEO of Altair.

The cost of integrating LTE-only is substantially lower than LTE+3G, minimizing the prohibitively high cost delta that exists today between basic Wi-Fi models and those with mobile broadband connectivity. The lower cost of integrating LTE-only connectivity is also a key factor in the enablement of widespread availability of cloud-connected devices in the consumer and machine-to-machine space, driving the "Internet of Things" market.

Since rolling out its first chipset in 2009, Altair has achieved many industry-firsts, including the release of the first FDD/TDD chip set, the first commercial LTE chip set to exceed 100 megabits per second (Mbps) and the first chip set to be certified by the Verizon Wireless 4G chipset certification program.

To date, Altair's products have been integrated into more than 100 different product models designed by more than 30 companies, including tablets, Ultrabooks, portable hotspots, USB dongles and routers.

Altair’s products are based on a novel, proprietary Software Defined Radio (4G Optimized OFDM) Processor that provides a combination of flexibility and performance, with ultra-low power consumption. The company’s 4G portfolio includes comprehensive baseband processors, multi-band RF transceivers for both FDD and TDD bands and a range of reference hardware and product level protocol stack software.

A recent Bloomberg report claims the Israeli startup has a chance at loosening Qualcomm’s stranglehold over wireless-data chips. The Hod Hasharon-based company sells chips that only work on 4G networks thus avoiding legacy issues with other wireless technology networks.

Earlier, Bessemer Venture Partners had invested $100 million in Altair in addition to the recent $25 million from several investors.

Altair was founded in 2005. The company provides chips for devices in Russia, and Verizon Wireless has certified a modem for its U.S. network. Altair’s management and technology executives were among the founding team of Libit Signal Processing, a fabless chip company acquired by Texas Instruments in 1999 for $365 million.

Leading up to their current exclusive 4G offerings Altair’s scientists and software engineers have jointly developed more than 30 complex mixed-signal silicon products, spanning six different broadband wired and wireless technologies.



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