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Toronto fabless semiconductor company Peraso raises $20 million Series C

Toronto fabless semiconductor company Peraso Technologies Inc., maker of Wireless Gigabit (WiGig®) chipsets, has announced the closing of a $20 million Series C funding round, co-led by American semiconductor company Integrated Device Technology Inc. (NASDAQ:IDTI) along with previously existing investor Roadmap Capital, with an assist from iNovia Capital.

The investment will be used to increase the company’s capacity to address customer interest in their targeted market opportunities, including smart phones and virtual reality.

Peraso is addressing both next-generation WiFi opportunities in the consumer electronic (CE) space, and in the 60 GHz wireless infrastructure for outdoor devices space.

“The interest we’re seeing in WiGig® is tremendous,” said Ron Glibbery, President and CEO of Peraso. “Multi-Gigabit wireless connectivity is something that more and more CE and wireless infrastructure manufacturers are seeking to incorporate in their products.  Raising this capital allows Peraso to take our sales to the next level. Participation by IDT provides further validation of the market opportunity, and continued participation from Roadmap, as well as iNovia, speaks to the tremendous success the company has demonstrated in getting our first ICs to market.”

Industry watchers suggest that the 5 GHz band will become saturated within two to three years with the increased roll-out of the current 802.11ac wireless networking standard, and that the 2.4 GHz band has already become overly saturated.

So it’s time for a new Wi-Fi protocol operating in the 60 GHz license-free ISM (Industrial, Scientific, and Medical radio) band.

With the proliferation of streaming high-definition video and increased demand on bandwidth from applications like online gaming, the 60 GHz version of Wi-Fi is now beginning to gain traction among original equipment manufacturers.

Peraso is developing 60 GHz chip sets compliant with the IEEE 802.11ad specification, which have seen industry endorsement by Samsung, Qualcomm and Intel, and been adopted for interoperability certification by the WiFi Alliance under the WiGig brand.

“Peraso has demonstrated interoperability with a variety of available WiGig products which are based on either Intel or Qualcomm chips; this is an achievement which is essential to create a robust WiGig ecosystem,” said Roadmap Principal Imed Zine, PhD. “Additionally, Peraso is the only company offering a WiGig® USB stick solution for legacy devices—something which is necessary for backward compatibility of existing WiFi equipment.”

Earlier this month, Peraso announced a partnership with San Jose, California back-end production services firm Presto Engineering Inc., with Presto providing test services at volumes of tens of thousands of parts per month on Peraso’s chip sets, which are now in full mass production.

The first phase of that partnership will culminate in a high-efficiency test solution, capable of supporting high-volume production at a rate of millions of devices per month, later in 2016.
“As wireless video and data volumes continue to explode, we believe WiGig will offer significant capabilities in addressing customer demands,” said Sailesh Chittipeddi, Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Global Operations at IDT. “Peraso has demonstrated its ability to develop the WiGig ecosystem that can address the demands of tomorrow, and IDT is excited to support this industry leader.”
Chinese smartphone vendor LeTV launched the first WiGig-enabled smartphone in early 2016, a development that should drive demand among mainstream smartphone vendors such as Apple and Samsung over the next few years.

“Peraso has demonstrated excellent product execution, which has resulted in leadership in multiple markets,” said Roadmap Co-Founder and Peraso Board member Hugh Cleland. “Roadmap Capital is excited to fund the acceleration of Peraso’s growth, helping to transform Peraso into a global semiconductor company from within the Canadian high technology ecosystem.”

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