BELLEVUE, Wash., Aug. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Intellectual Ventures (IV), the leader in the business of invention, announced today that its newest spin-out company, Kymeta™, has closed a $12 million funding round to develop and bring to market IV's Metamaterials Surface Antenna Technology (MSA-T). Backed by investments from Bill Gates, Liberty Global and Lux Capital, Kymeta's mTenna™ product line will simplify the satellite connection needed for broadband Internet on the go, anywhere in the world.
Metamaterials are artificial materials that can manipulate electromagnetic radiation in a variety of useful ways. mTenna uses this unique capability to electronically point and steer a radio signal toward a satellite. This provides a continuous broadband link between a satellite and a moving platform such as an aircraft, car or boat. Manufactured using established lithographic techniques, mTenna's metamaterials-based approach also allows it to be thinner, lighter, more efficient and less expensive than traditional antenna technology.
"Metamaterials were an early focus for IV, so the spinout of Kymeta marks an important milestone in our invention work," said Casey Tegreene, executive vice president and chief patent counsel at IV. "As groundbreaking as it is, the satellite antenna technology behind Kymeta only scratches the surface of what metamaterials can do. Thanks to nearly a decade of work with scientists like Sir John Pendry of Imperial College and Professor David Smith of Duke University, we have a portfolio of metamaterials inventions that cover a variety of industries and applications."
Kymeta is the second company to spin out of IV since the invention capital company was founded in 2000. The first, TerraPower, was created in 2008 to develop a new class of nuclear reactor. In addition to selling and licensing its extensive portfolio of IP assets, IV creates new companies like these that bring to market new products based on particularly promising inventions. The intellectual property behind these companies is invented by IV's team of more than 100 inventors and refined at IV Lab to demonstrate the technology's feasibility.
"We pride ourselves on backing truly groundbreaking companies – Kymeta's ambitious vision and unique metamaterials technology make for a perfect fit," said Josh Wolfe, co-founder and managing partner of Lux Capital. "Kymeta's 'broadband-anywhere' product focus will transform a market that's already poised for incredible growth."
In addition to mobile applications in the aerospace, transportation and maritime industries, Kymeta also plans to develop a portable satellite hotspot product for individual users. The laptop-sized antenna will open the door for high speed Internet and other satellite broadband services wherever they're needed. The device has potential benefits for news reporters in the field, emergency responders in disaster areas, or even just average consumers looking to untether from public Wi-Fi and mobile broadband signals.
"The disruptive form factor, performance and cost advantages of Kymeta's mTenna products, based on advanced metamaterials technologies, will enable users to access a wide variety of mobile, portable and fixed satellite services beyond the capabilities of existing antenna solutions," said Vern Fotheringham, Kymeta president and CEO.
Kymeta's mTenna products are currently in development at the company's Redmond, Wash. headquarters with commercial availability expected by 2015.
About Intellectual Ventures
Founded in 2000, Intellectual Ventures (IV) is the global leader in the business of invention. IV collaborates with leading inventors, partners with pioneering companies, and invests both expertise and capital in the process of invention. IV's mission is to energize and streamline an invention economy that will drive innovation around the world.
About Kymeta Corporation
Kymeta spun out from Intellectual Ventures in 2012 to commercialize a new form of metamaterials-based satellite antenna. Kymeta's mTenna products simplify the connection between mobile users and high capacity communications satellites, providing passengers in cars, planes and other vehicles with a similar broadband experience to what they have at home or in the office.
About Lux Capital
Lux Capital is a leading venture firm focused on founding, seed and early stage investments in emerging technologies. Lux takes an active role in helping entrepreneurs build successful businesses in Energy, Life Sciences and Technology. The Lux investment team has founded more than 20 companies from scratch, including Caliper, Genocea, Illumina, Kala, Kurion, Lux Research, Nanosys, Neurocrine Biosciences, and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. For more information please visit www.luxcapital.com.
SOURCE Intellectual Ventures