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802.11a chipmaker Bermai lands additional funding

Sun, 07/21/2002 - 8:00pm
Duffy Hayes

The concept of a national wireless "hotspot" network based on 802.11 (Wi-Fi) technology was back in the news last week, once Intel's ambitious Project Rainbow was leaked to The New York Times. And in a general sense, 802.11 chip and gear makers are today in the process of getting their ducks in a row as well.

Start-up 802.11a chipmaker Bermai Inc.. one of about a dozen new firms developing chipset technology for the 802.11 wireless platform, announced that it had received an additional $5 million in Series A funding, bringing its total first round funding to just over $20 million.

The "up round" comes courtesy of STIC Ventures Inc., a Korean investment group backed by the country's Ministry for Information and Communications and the national Bank of Korea. Worldwide consumer electronics maker LG Electronics is a leading investor in the STIC Group, and leading Korean companies Hyundai and Samsung also contribute to the $700 million investment fund.

Total Series A funding for the company now stands at $20.1 million, an impressive number for a startup company like Bermai that currently is pre-silicon and pre-revenue, for that matter. The company expects to deliver its chipset sometime in the 3Q of this year, just five or six weeks beyond the deadline promised to analysts.

"We still have 65 or 70 percent of that money in the bank," says current Bermai president and CEO Bruce Sanguinetti. "An initial $12 million was used in the development of the chip, and there's a little of that left. We're at the fab now, and when the chip comes back, if it's good enough to go to market, we're off to the races."

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