Wirepas secures €10m funds to hasten launch of non-cellular private ‘5G’ system
Wirepas has received an additional €10 million cash injection from Estonia-based early-stage venture capital firm Karma and Finnish state-owned investment firm Tesi to accelerate development of its new mesh-based non-cellular industrial ‘5G’ technology. Both Karma and Tesi are existing investors in Finland-based Wirepas.
Wirepas is readying its new IoT mesh technology, called Wirepas Private 5G, to go up against traditional cellular-based private 5G systems. Wirepas Private 5G, based on the new DECT-2020 NR standard, is set to be absorbed as the first non-cellular technology into the International Telecommunication Union’s 5G family of technologies. It uses the license-free 1.9 GHz spectrum band.
The DECT-2020 NR standard was developed to support “broad and diverse” wireless IoT applications, including both massive machine-type (mMTC) and ultra-reliable low-latency (URLLC) communications, as also defined in cellular 5G. It was signed off by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) in October 2020, with major input from Wirepas.
The Finnish firm, also responsible for the proprietary low-power Wirepas Massive (formerly Wirepas Mesh) technology, which has found decent support in the smart buildings space, notably for lighting-as-a-platform systems, has hailed the DECT-2020 NR standard, the basis for its Wirepas Private 5G system, as an “infrastructure-less and autonomous non-cellular 5G technology”.
It claims “increased client demand”, including from “several world-leading clients” with live installations. Wirepas Private 5G is “now slated” for commercial launch in 2022, it said. The funds will will also go to expand its team in Finland, with a focus on development, testing, and delivery of Wirepas Private 5G. It also cited “longer-term research”, plus support for the continued development of Wirepas Massive.
The likes of Austin-based Silicon Labs, Switzerland-based IoT module maker u-blox, and Norway-based IoT chip maker Nordic Semiconductor have thrown weight behind Wirepas Massive in recent months. Wirepas claims 200-odd clients have deployed Wirepas Massive, including Fujitsu, Prologis, Wurth, Schaeffler, Orange and Fagerhult.
Teppo Hemiä, chief executive at Wirepas, said: “Thanks to the great market interest and lead customers’ fast time-to-market targets, we have decided to accelerate the first non-cellular 5G product development. We knew our solution was special and the need has become even more apparent and urgent over the past several months. This new injection of funds will help us continue to do what’s in our customers best interest, and that’s getting it done efficiently and as soon as possible. We target to have the commercial launch in 2022.”
Tommi Uhari, partner at Karma, said: “Karma focuses on deep tech and the impact it can have. Wirepas, with its solid team, technical strength, massive traction, and amazing steps in 5G, is in an ideal phase to benefit from more funding. We are convinced that Wirepas is changing the IoT landscape forever.
Juha Lehtola, head of direct venture capital investments at Tesi, said: “This is exactly what an investor hopes to see. We knew Wirepas had a great read on the needs of its clients and industries that have been struggling to find a solution that truly works for them. We’re excited to see the technology deployed and true impact realized.”