July 1, 2013
By Kevin Fitchard
Israel’s homegrown LTE device chipmaker Altair semiconductor has raised another $25 million from its existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, BRM Group, Giza Venture Capital, Jerusalem Venture Partners and Pacific Technologies.
This would technically be its Series E round. The company last tapped VC funding more than two years ago when it secured a $26 million Series D. In total Altair has raised just shy of $100 million.
Altair is a 4G specialist producing a single-mode LTE chip that lacks support for older 2G and 3G networks. The radio chip market is a tough one to crack since it’s dominated by handful of large vendors like Qualcomm, Broadcom and Intel, but the trend in the industry is to move toward integrated silicon, combining the processor, the baseband and as many legacy radio technologies as possible.
Altair is stubbornly moving against the grain of the industry, but it’s also targeting a segment of the industry where specialty chips make more sense: tablets, laptops, mobile hotspots and modems and eventually the machine-to-machine modules that will connect objects to the internet of things.
The Hod Hasharon-based company is also keeping ahead of its larger competitors when it comes to its technology. Its latest generation LTE chipset supports two LTE-Advanced techniques: carrier aggregation and enhanced inter-cell interference coordination (eICIC), which will give LTE devices faster speeds as well as help them navigate the dense small cell clusters of future networks. Most of the new LTE chips out there only support carrier aggregation.
Altair may not have a full “LTE-Advanced” chip as it claims, but it’s definitely a step ahead of the competition.