Tuesday, August 08, 2000
Wireless communications firm receives $1 million seed financing from Waterloo Ventures and Solowave Investments
August 8, 2000
WATERLOO, ON -- Sirific Wireless Corporation of Waterloo announced today that it has launched operations with $1 million in seed capital from Waterloo Ventures Inc. and SoloWave Investments Ltd. The company will use the funds to commercialize its proprietary chip design technology that simplifies the design of multi-band, multi-standard wireless communication devices while improving their performance.
"This is exactly the kind of company Waterloo Ventures was established to assist," said Andrew Abouchar, Waterloo Ventures fund manager. "It has an exciting technology in a pre-product, pre- revenue stage that traditional venture funds will typically avoid."
Sirific was founded by Dr. Tajinder Manku, an associate professor with the University of Waterloo's department of electrical and computer engineering. The company will establish an R&D laboratory and has been actively building a technical team, which now includes eight engineers and designers.
"We were able to raise the amount we needed to launch the company and did it entirely within the local business community," said Manku, Sirific's chief technology officer. "With Waterloo Ventures and SoloWave, we found people who understand the needs of a start-up technology company and who are here in town to provide us with business advice that complements our technical expertise."
Richard Boyer, president of SoloWave Investments, will act as interim president of Sirific while a search is conducted for a permanent chief executive. Boyer is an experienced entrepreneur who was previously founder and CEO of Backyard Products Ltd. and led its growth from a start-up in 1992 to annual sales of $45 million and 300 employees.
Sirific's core technology, invented by Manku, solves a 30-year problem within the wireless industry to perform the conversion of a wide range of radio frequency (RF) signals into digital data. With Sirific technology, multiple wireless communications standards, such as GSM, CDMA, Bluetooth, and HomeRF, can be supported on a single chip and a single circuit board, replacing dozens of components on multiple boards as used in current designs. Devices using Sirific chip sets will not only accommodate emerging third-generation (3G) wireless services, but will retain interoperability with 2G and other legacy services.
The company plans to have a prototype transceiver completed by year-end and expects its first revenues in the fourth quarter of 2001.
Dr. Manku is the leader of UW's RF technology group, as well as a member of the university's Institute for Computer Research and Centre for Wireless Communications. He holds seven patents and is a consultant to Lucent, Motorola, Nortel, PMC-Sierra, and Mitel. In July he was honoured with a Premier's Research Excellence Award to support ongoing research in RF technology.
The financing is the second completed by Waterloo Ventures since its launch last fall. In December, it invested a half-million dollars in eRM application developer Ardesic Corporation. Waterloo Ventures is the only Waterloo-based venture capital fund and provides financing to early-stage highnology companies in the Waterloo area.