Wilocity Works to Develop World's Fastest Wi-Fi

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Article Summary
The Israeli startup Wilocity is approaching close to $100 million in capital raised from investors.

Another big round of fund-raising for an Israeli startup: The startup Wilocity, headquartered in the town of Caesarea [midway between Tel Aviv and Haifa] [and] is developing the WiGig, the world's fastest WiFi network, has in recent weeks completed a fourth round of fund-raising, [bringing in] $35 million. The Israeli startup thus approaches a threshold of close to $100 million in capital raised from investors. The round was led by two new investors in the company — Alan Feld’s Vintage Investment Partners and Jerusalem Global Ventures of Rabbi Shlomo Kalish. Several current investors in the company also took part in the latest round, including Sequoia Capital, which is one of the venture capital funds that invested in [the Israeli startup] Onavo, acquired earlier this week [Oct. 14, by Facebook], as well as Benchmark Capital, Tallwood Venture Capital, and Qualcomm Ventures [the investment arm of Qualcomm Inc.]. Another strategic investor, whose identity will be disclosed in a few weeks, was also involved in the fund-raising round.

Alan Feld and Shlomo Kalish, who led the recent fund-raising round for Wilocity, are veteran investors. The two have lately boosted their investments in Israeli startups. In June, Feld completed a fund-raising round of $161 million on behalf of Vintage Investment Partners, while Kalish, who is one of the veteran venture capital investors in Israel, last year resumed investments in local startups, through both the longstanding Jerusalem Global Ventures and the Vaizra Seed Fund. Michael Eisenberg, a partner at Benchmark Capital, which is one of the investors in Wilocity, worked together with Alan Feld in the previous decade in the framework of Israel Seed Partners and had earlier partnered with Kalish in Jerusalem Global Ventures.

Wilocity recently launched the world's fastest WiFi chip, which allows the high-speed wireless transfer of data between devices, at a rate of 4.6 gigabit per second (Gbps). The chip, which is based on futuristic WiFi technology — the WiGig — was incorporated, for the first time, into Dell devices unveiled last February – the Dell 6430u Ultrabook and the D5000 Wireless Dock. These are the first devices to incorporate WiGig chips. Other Dell devices are projected to be introduced with the Wilocity [super fast] chipset — including the Dell Latitude 7500 laptops, the Dell Precision M4800 and M6800 [mobile workstations], and the Dell Latitude 5000 Series laptops — which are all scheduled to be launched by the end of the year. In addition to Dell, Samsung has signed an agreement with Wilocity on a future launch, and according to reports, Apple is also examining the [innovative Wilocity] chipset.

In the first stage, Wilocity launched its chips for ultrabook mobile computers, and by the end of next year, the company is expected to launch similar chips for smartphones as well. In fact, the recent fund-raising round is designed to support its marketing efforts in this sector. By the end of 2015, tablets with embedded Wilocity chipsets are expected to be offered for sale on the market.

Two companies are currently racing to launch WiGig chips for high-speed home networking [offering] multi-gigabit per second wireless communication between devices — the multinational Intel Corporation and the Israeli startup Wilocity, which is backed, among others, by Qualcomm, Intel's rival. So far, Wilocity has the upper hand in the race, having been the first to launch a commercial WiGig chip. 

The WiGig chipset is based on the familiar WiFi standard, however, its data transfer rate is 10 times and even more than today's typical Wi-Fi transmission rates. The Wilocity chipsets can currently transmit data at a rate of 4.6 Gbps, and its trial versions reach a data transfer rate of 7 Gbps.

The incorporation of the Wilocity chipsets into smartphones, tablets, laptops, projectors, and TV sets will enable super high-speed communications between devices. Thus, for instance, it would be possible to download an HD quality movie from a computer to a cell phone in less than a second, to back up the contents of a tablet to a drive at lightning speed, or, likewise, to stream a movie directly from a tablet to a projector. Yet, wireless communication [at multi-gigabit speeds] at the frequencies compatible with the technology is not enabled through concrete walls, and it is limited to a single space, typically a single room. The Wilocity chipsets are compatible with all three WiFi frequencies — 2.4, 5, and 60 GHz — and thus conform to both the common WiFi standards and the newly ratified fast WiGig [60GHz] standard. According to assessments, Intel is expected to launch a rival to the Wilocity chip in the middle of next year.

Wilocity was co-founded by Tal Tamir, who serves as its chief executive officer, Dany Rettig [the company’s chief operating officer], Jorge Myszn [vice president of products and sales], and Gal Basson [vice president of communications architecture]. It currently has a workforce of 70 employees. The four co-founders of the company previously held senior executive positions at Intel Haifa, where they led the development of the popular WiFi-based Centrino chip.

Wilocity Vice President of Marketing Mark Grodzinsky confirmed the report to Israeli daily Calcalist.

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Found in: startup, israeli technology industries, israeli economy, investment, high tech
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