28 May 2019: Australian semiconductor IoT start-up, Morse Micro, has secured $23.8 million in Series A funding to take its ultra-low power Wi-Fi HaLow chip to mass production.
Uniseed invested alongside Ray Stata, Main Sequence Ventures, Skip Capital, Blackbird Ventures, Right Click Capital and Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
The cash injection will be used to take Morse Micro’s Wi-Fi HaLow chips to mass production and to double the team size across multiple local and overseas markets. The company will also move its headquarters from Eveleigh to Sydney’s CBD to accommodate for its ambitious growth plans for 2019 and beyond.
Morse Micro’s HaLow chip uses the 900MHz radio band. This is lower than the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands used by conventional Wi-Fi. The lower frequency allows the signals to reach further and pass through objects better, whilst requiring less power than conventional Wi-Fi.
In addition to extended range and low power consumption, Morse Micro’s HaLow chips support high bandwidths and very large networks. Over 8,000 devices can be connected to a single access point, with data rates of many megabits-per-second. This enables use in a wide range of applications; beyond the traditional IoT use cases of smart homes and sensor networks. For example, industrial controls, asset management, video, retail signs and displays.
Anthony Musumeci, Investment Manager at Uniseed said “Morse Micro have a truly world class team, a disruptive technology capability that is perfectly suited to the emerging IoT marketplace. Uniseed look forward to working with the other investors to support the team as they roll out their technology globally.”
Ray Stata, founder and chairman of semiconductor multinational Analog Devices (NASDAQ: ADI) will be appointed to the Board and believes Sydney is an ideal location for the company to headquarter its operations.
“Given its historic roots in Wi-Fi, it’s unsurprising that Sydney has such a large pool of engineers with Wi-Fi experience to support Micro Morse’s ambition to be the leader in Wi-Fi HaLow chips – this certainly gives the company a head start,” said Mr. Stata. “Morse Micro founders, Andrew Terry and Michael De Nil, are two of the industry’s most talented and experienced Wi-Fi chip designers.”
Mike Nicholls, Partner at Main Sequence Ventures said “Since funding their seed round in 2017 the team has outperformed their plan both on the delivery of the processor and on customer business development. The new chip fills a gap in a number of fast-growing segments that need higher speed at much longer range, higher density and lower power.”
“The funding will fuel our growth as we take our product to mass production.” said Andrew Terry, Co-CEO of Morse Micro. “Designing for the IoT is challenging, the requirements are different from other markets. That’s why we wiped the slate clean. Starting from scratch, we came up with an architecture specifically designed for the demands of the IoT. Our technology is ready and the market is ready. This funding will allow us to take our technology to the market.”
For more information on Morse Micro: www.morsemicro.com
Morse Micro (www.morsemicro.com) was founded in 2016 by Andrew Terry and Michael De Nil, two Wi-Fi chip designer who left US Wi-Fi chipmaker Broadcom to start Morse Micro. Their mission was to develop a new breed of ultra-low power Wi-Fi chips with extended range suitable for the Internet Of Things. The company was initially funded by Startmate and a group of Angel investors in December 2016 and raised a $4.5m Seed round in October 2017 from Main Sequence Ventures, PAN and Blackbird. After nearly three years of development the design phase is complete and Morse Micro is getting ready to ramp to mass production.
Morse Micro consists of a team of industry experts and Wi-Fi heavyweights including Dr. John Sullivan, inventor of the underlying Wi-Fi technology, Prof. Neil Weste, founder of Radiata – the first company to commercialise Wi-Fi chips – acquired by Cisco in 2000, and Dr. David Goodall, one of the original authors of the IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi standard.
Morse Micro’s customers are global, but the company will keep R&D in Australia. Australia is a great location to do deep tech R&D, it has a good base of talent, particularly in Wi-Fi chip design, and it’s an attractive destination for people looking to emigrate. Morse Micro has sales offices in the US and China and will expand headcount in both of these to increase both sales and customer support capabilities. The company will be moving to a new office in Surry Hills, Sydney, to allow for expansion to its Sydney based team.
Uniseed (www.uniseed.com) is Australia’s longest running early stage commercialisation fund that makes investments in research emanating from five of Australia’s leading research organisations – The University of Queensland, The University of Sydney, The University of New South Wales, The University of Melbourne and the CSIRO. Uniseed is a mutual fund, owned by research organisations, for research organisations. The fund facilitates the commercialisation of its research partners’ most promising intellectual property and secures targeted investment in resulting products and technologies. Several of Uniseed’s investee companies have gone on to become successful and profitable commercial enterprises.