Delft-based Qualinx, a fabless semiconductor company, announced on Thursday, October 19, that it has secured $10.2M (approximately €9.6M) in a Series A extension round of funding, bringing the company’s Series A total to $20M (approximately €18.9M).

The investment comes from existing investors FORWARD.one, InnovationQuarter Capital and Waterman Ventures, and includes an Innovation Credit facility from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO.

The Dutch startup says it will use the funds to complete the development of its second-generation GNSS IoT radio system-on-chip (SoC) and to commence mass production in 2024.  

The announcement comes after raising $8.8M (approximately €8.3M) in a Series A round in February. 

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“This next step in our Series A financing round shows the confidence of our existing investors in DRF technology and our successful application for RVOs Innovation Credit facility reaffirms that our technology and market strategy are on track,” says Tom Trill, CEO at Qualinx.

Qualinx: Fabless semiconductor company

Qualinx was founded by Massoud Tohidian, Iman Madadi, and Amir Reza Ahmadi Mehr as a spin-off from Delft University of Technology.

The company developed and tested a new radio chip that can receive geo-positioning information from Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) with a 10 times lower power consumption, smaller chip size, and at reduced costs compared to existing solutions. 

The chip can detect signals from all major satellite systems, including GPS, to accurately determine location and time.

Qualinx’s DRF technology digitises analog functions of wireless chips. This brings CMOS scaling benefits to GPS-like radios and other industry-standard, short and long-range radios. 

In software, DFR functions can precisely configure the radio for each application, reducing power by up to 10x in smaller, lower-cost packages compared to traditional radios.

The QLX300+ is believed to be the world’s smallest and most power-efficient Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) sensor.

The second-generation QLX400 will combine the GNSS sensor with an IoT radio on one chip. 

The GNSS sensors detect signals from major satellite systems including GPS and Galileo to accurately determine location and time. 

The addition of radio creates a low-power system-on-chip that extends the operating life of battery-powered products from months to years.

The investors

FORWARD.one is a venture capital firm that focuses on high-tech hardware startups and scale-ups with €200M in assets under management, including investments in robotics, semiconductors, photonics, sensors, extended reality, and biomanufacturing. 

Arjan Göbel, partner at FORWARD.one, says “Qualinx has not only invented an exceptionally useful technology for solving real-world challenges, but the company has already proven its ability to execute on the milestones in its business plan. In the volatile world of deep-tech investment, we view Qualinx as an example to others of how to commercialise semiconductor innovation and we’re delighted to be alongside them on this journey.”

InnovationQuarter is one of the most active investors in The Netherlands. IQ funds disruptive startups & scale-ups in the province of Zuid-Holland who create a cleaner, smarter, and healthier world. Acting as a lifecycle investor with four funds, the IQCapital (€ 143M) fund has a particular focus on deep tech, life sciences & high-tech.

Marcus Preijde, programme coordinator at RVO’s Innovation Credit, says, “Qualinx put forward a strong proposal for the Innovation Credit, showcasing its cutting-edge technology and its potential to disrupt the semiconductor industry. Based on a well-defined business plan and its experienced leadership, we expect Qualinx to be very successful. Qualinx is undoubtedly a great example of the Dutch innovative companies and projects, which we are so proud to support with the Innovation Credit.”

The Futurum Group is a global technology research and advisory firm for high-tech. The Group offers research, market intelligence, analysis, advisory, lab evaluation, marketing, and lead generation services. 

Steve Dickens, VP and Practice Leader at research and advisory firm Futurum Group, says, “We have been tracking Qualinx and their innovation trajectory for over a year, and the team raising capital in a tough market speaks volumes. The semiconductor and positioning space is ripe for disruption, and we are watching closely as Qualinx comes to market and are excited by the innovation we have seen so far.”

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