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19 May 2008


MMIC Solutions secures £2.7m round-A funding

MMIC Solutions Ltd of Ledbury, UK has secured £2.7m in round-A funding from new investor YFM Group, joined by existing investor Scottish Enterprise (via the Scottish Venture Fund) along with others including NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) and the Advantage Early Stage Growth Fund (AEGF).

MMIC Solutions was formed in 2004, and raised seed funding of more than £1.5m in March 2007. The firm designs and manufactures modules and subsystems for commercial millimeter-wave applications.

Wavelengths of 1-10mm have similar dimensions to those of the components, interconnects, and the module packaging itself, resulting in resonance effects and spurious signals that can severely degrade performance and even prevent modules functioning altogether, says the firm. Such millimeter-wave products are usually manually assembled and tuned, requiring experience and skill (often with considerable rework). MMIC Solutions claims that its technology (developed by QinetiQ UK Ltd of Malvern, UK since the late 1980s and licensed exclusively in August 2005) controls the spurious signals and in resonance effects, enabling automated assembly and low cost.

Millimeter waves can penetrate a few millimeters of most clothing fabrics. Imaging therefore allows detection and identification of metallic and non-metallic materials (including weapons, explosives and illegal goods) concealed under clothing. The firm says that this ability is generating much interest, with systems being deployed at many commercial and civic infrastructure locations, as well as at airports in the US and Europe. MMIC Solutions made its first customer shipments in May 2007 (the MSi105 direct detection receiver for a security imaging system operating at 94GHz).

The company is also developing low-cost modules for high-capacity communications links supporting data rates of 1Gb/s and more, and operating in unlicensed and ‘light-licensed’ bands between 60 and 80GHz.

“The demand for our innovative technology continues to grow in applications such as weapons detection and high-bandwidth communications, and this significant investment allows us to expand our team and production capabilities to address the many opportunities our customers are presenting to us,” says CEO Rodger Sykes.

MMIC Solutions’ engineering activity is in Ledbury, near QinetiQ, but the firm is registered in Scotland, where it has its operational capability. “By establishing its UK production operations in Scotland, MMIC Solutions joins the growing number of cutting-edge technology companies choosing Scotland as their base,” says Scottish Venture Fund investment manager Jonathan Lloyd-Hirst.

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