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Wavesat raises C$11.7m to develop ‘4G’ platform

Wavesat, a privately-held fabless chipset supplier headquartered in Canada, has raised C$11.7m in its latest round of VC funding.

Existing investors, led by BDR Capital, BDC Capital and Multiple Capital, participated in the round. The additional funds will be used to strengthen the company’s ‘4G’ growth strategy, which revolves around its Odyssey platform. Introduced in May 2008, the Odyssey 4G multi-protocol architecture is based on Wavesat’s baseband chipsets, which are software-programmable to mobile WiMAX or XG-PHS. (XG-PHS is the next-generation PHS (personally handyphone system) standard, which has been adopted by Willcom, a PHS operator in Japan). Plans are also afoot to make the Odyssey platform software-programmable to LTE by April 2009.

This flexibility allows Wavesat not only to serve multiple markets (and hedge its 4G bets) but enables its OEM and ODM customers to design and manufacture end-user devices to different ‘4G’ standards without needing to change the format of the device. The Wavesat proposition to its OEM/ODM customers is that all they need do is upload software in the factory to make the device adhere to the ‘4G’ standard of their choice, which gives them flexibility in responding quickly to market demand without increasing their BOM (bill of materials) cost. The switch between the standards can only happen, though, if the same frequency band is used.

In recent months, Wavesat announced that Compal, an ODM for handheld devices, selected the Odyssey for mobile WiMAX USB dongles. Also, Willcom in Japan has chosen Wavesat to help develop XG-PHS services and equipment in that country.   “We are impressed by the great strides the company has made since the introduction of the Odyssey chipset and how they are executing and adapting their 4G strategy in this challenging environment,” says Jean Bédard, managing partner at BDR Capital. “The Odyssey architecture and product roadmap is right for the times, providing real world benefits to many customers in multiple markets and multiple geographies.”

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