British-Chinese tech company wins University funding boost

A British-Chinese tech company is the first company to raise investment funds from a leading UK university.

Smart Antenna Technologies (SAT) has secured significant new investment from the University of Birmingham as part of a £1.2 million investment raise.

SAT, which was found founded in 2013 by Dr Sampson Hu, has developed a new generation of antenna for smart phones and laptops. 

A typical smartphone has up to six antennas for GPS, Wi Fi, BlueTooth, 2G, 3G and 4G(LTE). Coupled to this there are new radio standards such as 5G just around the corner.

Dr Hu, from Guangdong in China, has invented a new antenna system that replaces a smartphone’s six separate antennas and combines them into one single antenna.

With more efficient antennas reducing power consumption from a smartphone’s battery, Smart Antenna’s says a phone’s battery life can be boosted by up to 10%.

The potential market for SAT’s new antenna system in the smart phone device market is estimated to be around two billion units.

The investment raise is the first investment by the University of Birmingham’s Spinout Investment Reserve, a £5m investment fund set up to invest in commercial applications derived from the University’s research.

Dr Hu, said: ‘This investment will enable Smart Antenna to increase the world class team of engineers who are joining the company.

‘We are also expanding the uses of our technology into other areas such as the internet of things and in car antenna systems.

‘We are at a very exciting stage of the company’s development. This investment will enable the company to complete product development with a major industry partner.’

Dr James Wilkie, CEO of the University of Birmingham’s tech transfer department, Alta Innovations, said: ‘The technology behind Smart Antenna is world beating and we are sure that it will be eventually found in every smart phone and lap top.

‘We created an investment reserve to co invest in exciting spin outs of the University and that we have made Smart Antenna our first investment demonstrates our absolute confidence in their technology and their route to market.

‘They are well advanced in their commercial plan and we believe this is an exciting time to invest.’

Senetas Corporation, an Australian developer of certified high-assurance encryption hardware and Mercia Technologies, a VC firm based in Warwickshire have also announced they would be investing in SAT.

SAT is based in Edgbaston, Birmingham and has a separate office in Bath. The company has grown from three employees to around 20 in three years.

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