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Scottish firm lands £3.4m to cut power use in wireless communications



Sofant’s radio frequency microelectromechanical systems (RF MEMS) are microscopic devices that integrate mechanical and electromechanical components to perform radio frequency signal processing functions like phase shifting, switching, and tuning. Its platform is said to reduce power consumption by more than 70% compared to existing systems, which stops antennas from getting too and cuts the need for expensive cooling systems.

The Herald: The Sofant antennaThe Sofant antenna (Image: Sofant)

The company is targeting satellite communications and the high-frequency 5G/6G mobile network markets, where power consumption and coverage are the most critical challenges. 

Sofant says that by drastically cutting power demands, satellite and 5G/6G networks could provide more ubiquitous, affordable, energy-efficient, and environmentally friendly wireless connectivity in the future. This is crucial for the anticipated explosion of connected devices and bandwidth-intensive applications.

“The continued support of EMV Capital, Scottish Enterprise and Kelvin Capital as the company transitions to the commercialization phase marks a significant milestone in our journey,” chief executive David Wither said.

“This achievement underscores the disruptive potential of Sofant’s technology in transforming wireless communication and places Sofant’s technology at the forefront of the industry.”

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Customers include Inmarsat Government, a provider of secure mission-critical global telecommunications to the US government.

Last year the two companies unveiled a joint development project to integrate Sofant’s core technology with Inmarsat’s Global Xpress network for use by the aerospace industry. They say this will address a growing demand for efficient, low-profile communication systems.

“Sofant embodies the spirit of innovation and disruption,” said John McNicol, founder and director of Kelvin Capital.

“The company has delivered on its promises and continues to demonstrate the vast potential of its technology. We are proud to support Sofant as it advances towards commercial success.”

Set up in 2011 as a spin-out from the University of Edinburgh, Sofant currently employs 27 people. The company was originally founded by Ahmed El-Rayis, Nakul Haridas and Tughrul Arslan following seven years of research and development at the university.

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Shareholders include Kelvin, EMV, Scottish Enterprise and Old College Capital, plus staff, management and founders.

Ilian Iliev, managing director of EMV Capital and a member of Sofant’s board of directors,  said the fundraising comes at a “critical value inflection point” for the company.

“In line with our capital-light investment strategy, we worked with management and our co-investors to develop the right funding structure for the company as it accelerates development,” he said.

“It is pleasing to see a UK-born semiconductor company make an impact on the global stage as a key enabler for future wireless networks with a growing number of commercial and government applications. We look forward to continuing our important work with the company.”   


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