Inmarsat Supplier Kymeta Raises $50M for Metamaterial Satellite Ground Antenna

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PARIS — Satellite ground antenna designer Kymeta, whose products use metamaterials that promise dynamic steering with no moving parts, has completed a $50 million financing round with new investment coming from Osage University Partners and the Kresge Foundation, Kymeta announced July 9.

Redmond, Wash.-based Kymeta, whose initial $12 million in capital came from Liberty Global, Lux Capital and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, among others, this year announced a partnership with mobile satellite services provider Inmarsat of London to provide Kymeta-designed antennas for business jets using Inmarsat’s Global Xpress Ka-band mobile broadband service. The three Global Xpress satellites are scheduled to be in orbit by late 2014.

“In just the last few months, Kymeta has entered into commercial development agreements with several of the satellite industry’s leading service providers and we’re really only getting started,” Lux Capital managing partner Josh Wolfe, who is on the Kymeta board, said in a July 9 statement.

Kymeta in March formed a development partnership with mobile satellite services provider Inmarsat of London. The two companies said the exclusive relationship is intended to develop a Kymeta Aero Antenna technology for use on business jets linking to Inmarsat’s Global Xpress Ka-band mobile communications system.

Kymeta was spun off from patent-mining expert Intellectual Ventures in August 2012.

Kymeta Chief Executive Vern Fotheringham said the company “is now positioned to move from our period of technology refinement into the product development stage, leading to the commercial launch” of the antenna design.

Kymeta’s design employs metamaterials, which use microscopic components arranged in a specific way to achieve a given capability. The flat-panel antennas electronically orient the beam to the satellite with no mechanically moving parts, which helps reduce production cost and power consumption.