BGF backs Forefront RF for future growth

We’ve committed a £3.75m follow-on investment into the Cambridge-based fabless semiconductor company, having first invested in 2021.

4 April 2023

BGF has committed a £3.75 million follow-on investment into Forefront RF, to support its continued disruption of the global radio frequency market for mobile technologies. The investment is part of a £6.7 million round alongside existing investors Science Creates Ventures and Foresight WAE Technology Funds.

Forefront RF, headquartered in Cambridge, is a fabless semiconductor company established to make multi-band smartphones, wearables and IoT Devices simpler to design and more globally accessible. BGF originally backed Forefront RF in 2021, helping to boost its technical delivery team and accelerate the development of its technology. This latest funding round will help the company capitalise on strong industry trends and take advantage of global market dynamics to drive further growth.

Commercialising academic research from the University of Bristol, Forefront RF has developed a unique Adaptive Passive Cancellation technology that uses software control to enable connected devices to operate effectively across the increasingly wide range of XGen (3G to 6G) mobile telephony frequency bands, removing the need for a bank of switched SAW and BAW crystal filters. This enables manufacturers to simplify the design and deliver frequency agnostic products, whilst reducing cost and supply chain waste.

In addition to the investment, Forefront RF is launching a fully Tunable Duplexer using the company’s patented adaptive passive cancellation technology. The demonstrator, specifically designed for the 600-1000MHz bands, will show Forefront RF’s Tunable Duplexer technology suitable for the 4G and 5G standards.

The company is led by a highly talented and specialist team. Ronald Wilting was appointed CEO in 2022, bringing 25 years’ experience in radio frequency technology, having worked in engineering, marketing, sales and leadership roles for firms including Ericsson, Qualcomm, NXP and SemiBlocks.

Ronald works closely with Forefront RF’s founders Dr Leo Laughlin and Julian Hildersley to deliver on the company’s ambitious growth strategy, supported by experienced Chair Phil O’Donovan, co-founder and MD of CSR plc (formerly Cambridge Silicon Radio) – a multinational fabless semiconductor company which delivered 4 billion chips and became the market leader in Bluetooth chip technology before being acquired by Qualcomm for $2.5 billion in 2015.

Ronald Wilting, CEO, Forefront RF, remarked: “We’re delighted to receive further investment from BGF to support the delivery of the next stage of Forefront RF’s growth strategy. Forefront RF is well positioned to capitalise on strong global growth prospects, addressing an industry wide challenge with our cutting-edge technology.”

Phil O’Donovan, Chair of Forefront RF, added: “Forefront RF has built an experienced and highly specialised team to bring its pioneering technology to market. We are excited to embark on this next chapter of the company’s mission and are grateful to our investment partners for their continued support.”

Dennis Atkinson, investor at BGF, commented: “Forefront RF has developed a leading technology solution and highly compelling proposition for a rapidly growing global customer base. We look forward to continuing our work with Ronald and the talented Forefront RF team as they embark on their next stage of growth.”

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