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BGF backs Forefront RF to launch disruptive technology for the global smartphone market

BGF News 08.11.2021

BGF has invested in Bristol University spin-out Forefront RF, in partnership with a consortium of investors including Science Creates Ventures, Foresight Williams Technology and The Cambridge Angels

Forefront RF which is headquartered in Cambridge is a fabless semiconductor company, which is set to change the way global smartphones, wearables and IoT Devices are designed.

The business was founded in 2020 by Dr Leo Laughlin whose academic work in this field is widely cited, together with Julian Hildersley who brings 30 years of experience in the development and marketing of ground-breaking RF mobile phone technologies.

The deal, which totals £1.5 million, represents the first substantial external funding secured by the business, and will enable Forefront RF to boost its technical delivery team and accelerate the launch of its products.

The Forefront RF chip enables connected devices to operate across the increasingly wide range of 3G to 6G mobile telephony frequency bands. Forefront RF’s cancellation technology redesigns the radio frequency (RF) system in a wireless device, enabling manufacturers to simplify the design and delivery of frequency agnostic products, whilst reducing cost and supply chain waste.

Phil O’Donovan who as Managing Director and co-founder helped CSR plc become the Bluetooth chip market leader, has joined the founding team as company Chairman.

Dr Leo Laughlin, director of Forefront RF, said: “The growth in mobile networks driven by the ever-increasing demand for data means that available frequency bands vary from region to region and, using today’s technology, has driven the need for region-specific smartphone variants each including multiple RF components. The space consumed within each smartphone adds cost and leads to inefficiencies in the supply chain.

“Today’s funding round is a clear validation of the future potential of this technology, and we look forward to asserting our leadership in the fast-paced, multi-billion smartphone market.

James Skade, investor at BGF, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to back a disruptive technology business that has the potential for rapid growth on a global scale. We look forward to working with Leo, Julian and Phil on the next exciting stage of growth for the business.”