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Intel joins picoChip's $20.5 million funding round

Posted: 24 Jun 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wireless? picoarray processor? software? wimax? w-cdma?

PicoChip Designs Ltd has raised $20.5 million in third-round funding, led by Scottish Equity Partners and joined by Rothschild and Intel Capital.

The funding, announced Wednesday (June 22), will go a long way toward aiding the company's efforts to apply its massively-parallel picoArray processor and software architecture to WiMax, W-CDMA (3G), TD-SCDMA and other wireless applications.

According to Rupert Baines, vice president of marketing at picoChip (Bath, England), the funding will be used to hire more engineers who will quickly be put to work developing the architecture for WiMax as well as W-CDMA. The company has long advocated both, though it has been working hard on WiMax over the last four months, Baines said.

While the addition of Intel Capital to the round might indicate a move in the direction of WiMax, Baines refuted that notion. "Intel probably invests more in W-CDMA, but it's not reported as much," he said, emphasizing that the newly hired designers will be spread across both technologies.

Will Strauss, president and chief analyst for Forward Concepts (Tempe, Ariz.), said it was a good investment from Intel's perspective. "PicoChip has the only massively-parallel, fully reprogrammable architecture out there - with the development tools to go with it," he said. "It really works."

Reconfigurability is particularly important, he added, given that the WiMax interoperability tests have yet to begin. "Plus, the investors need that reconfigurability because they need to see a roadmap to 802.16e." The IEEE 802.16e standard is still being developed. When finished, it will be the mobile version of IEEE 802.16d, the standard upon which WiMax is based.

Baines added that the company feels vindicated. "It's a really healthy signal from some really good VCs," he said. "It shows we're doing the right thing."

- Patrick Mannion

EE Times

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