Kymeta Raises $62 Million In Investment Led By Bill GatesBy MICHAEL J. de la MERCED JAN. 11, 2016 SAN FRANCISCO — Kymeta is a start-up focusing on using tiny satellite antennas….
The roughly four-year-old Kymeta announced on Monday that it had raised $62 million in a new investment round, led by Mr. Gates, the venture capital firms Lux Capital and Osage University Partners, the Kresge Foundation and what the start-up described as new strategic partners.
Tiny antennas — using lightweight “metamaterials” to produce small, flat devices instead of traditional antennas — may seem like a smaller start-up idea than, say, shaking up the cab or hotel industries.
But Kymeta, which is based in Redmond, Wash., says that its product will greatly expand connectivity throughout the world, because its antennas tap into the huge swaths of available satellite bandwidth, rather than the more limited cellular spectrum used by smartphones.
The company was borne of research into metamaterials by Nathan Kundtz, who is now the start-up’s chief executive, at Duke University. It first found a home in Intellectual Ventures, the patent holding company co-founded by Nathan Myhrvold, the former chief technology officer of Microsoft.
Kymeta then spun out of Intellectual Ventures in 2012, taking in money from investors like Mr. Gates, Liberty Global and Lux.
Since its last fund-raising round in 2014, Kymeta has struck partnerships with companies like Intelsat, Sharp and Panasonic that are aimed at both improving the manufacturing of the start-up’s tiny antennas and using them in applications like on ship terminals.
“We continue to be impressed with Kymeta’s achievements, growth and momentum,” Josh Wolfe, a co-founder and managing partner of Lux, said in a statement. “With new partnerships, rollout of its smart antenna, technology and customer milestones ahead and growing industry buzz, Kymeta is inventing and delivering a future I can’t wait to live in.”