Edinburgh's Sofant Technologies raises £4.2 million for its next-gen satellite and 5G antennae

Lower cost satellites are fuelling a communications boom for IoT networks and other enterprise applications. Sofant Technologies believes it can make in-roads with its machine learning-driven antenna for receiving satellite/5G communications.
Edinburgh's Sofant Technologies raises £4.2 million for its next-gen satellite and 5G antennae

UK-based smart antenna developer Sofant Technologies has just raised a £4.2 million round, and says it's garnering market traction following its first major contract signing with an unnamed defence contractor.

The University of Edinburgh spinout said it recently also sealed a new contract with a "Global Fortune 500" company.

The latest fundraise involves some of Sofant's long-running investors - including the hard tech-focused EMV Capital ( a subsidiary of UK commercialisation firm NetScientific), Kelvin Capital and Scotland's business development agency Scottish Enterprise.

Another existing investor returning at this stage is the British Business Bank's Future Fund, a government-run funding pot that largely deals in convertible loans.

The rise of new communications satellite constellations for near-ubiquitous enterprise connectivity is making things easier for maritime freight trackers, industrial IoT and a number of other applications.

However there's a significant cost and energy involved with terminals and antennae used to receive these satellite communications.

Sofant Technologies' terminal uses a bespoke technology and machine learning stack based on microelectromechanical systems and radio frequencies, which it claims uses 70% less power than traditional receiving terminals.

The funding round will allow Sofant Technologies to compete its first product next year, with commercial sales expected later in 2023.

In addition to saving energy, the Sofant product is said to limit the heat sink effect meaning its antennae could operate more smoothly in 5G phones.

Kerry Sharp, Scottish Enterprise's director of entrepreneurship and investment, said: "“It’s fantastic to see Sofant Technologies reaching these significant technical milestones with its globally competitive, innovative antenna technology with the potential to radically change how we communicate. 

"We’ve worked with the company since it was a spin out back in 2013, and look forward to continuing to support its international growth ambitions.”

Crunchbase data shows Sofant Technologies has raised $23.8 million of equity and grant funding. In October 2021, the spinout said it attracted £843,000 in an EMV Capital-arranged fundraise, backed by NetScientific, British Business Bank Future Fund and unnamed private clients.

Dr. Ilian Iliev, managing director at EMV Capital, said: "We are delighted with Sofant’s tremendous progress in their development roadmap.

"They continue to make a key contribution to the UK’s space tech and telecoms sectors by developing a key component for increased resilience and energy efficiency in SatComs and other telecommunications systems."

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