A 5G wireless deep-tech startup, Astrome raised $3.4 million in a round led by IAN Fund, Urania Ventures (Germany) and Mr. Lakshmi Narayanan, Founder, Cognizant. Other investors who joined the round include Impact Collective (South Korea), ArtPark (India) and a consortium of US-based angel investors. Previously, Astrome has raised from prominent angel investors and the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. The company has raised this round to expand into the US market, strengthen global operator trials, and further commercialize of its core technology through new products.
Founded by serial entrepreneurs Dr. Prasad H L Bhat and Dr. Neha Satak in 2015, Astrome provides Gigabit speed telecommunication solutions to telecom service providers, enterprises and defense. It is also accelerating the deployment of 5G in suburban and broadband in rural areas through its patented telecom radios and satellite communication products.
In the last decade, there has been a massive in demand for data, thereby driving the need to move to a higher frequency spectrum (millimeter-wave) so that higher data rates can be achieved in wireless communication. Among millimeter-wave frequencies, the E-band frequencies have gained much traction due to their fiber-like data performance and long-range communication. This is where Astrome is playing a game-changing role to make E-band a viable alternative to fiber. Over the years, the company has pioneered the world’s first multi-beam E-band product – GigaMesh, a radio that can wirelessly connect cell towers or base stations to the core network. Currently, this unique product is addressing three major vertical markets such as rural last-mile, urban telecom as well as defense communications.
Speaking on the development, Neha Satak, Co-Founder of Astrome said, “Astrome is the only company that has a product which features Multiple-Point-to-Point communication in E-Band, resulting in a much lower CapEx than the competition. Our first two products, GigaMesh and GigaSat have a combined addressable market of USD 34 billion, globally. This market is expanding quickly due to the rising need for mobile and broadband communication infrastructure as a result of the change in lifestyle in the last 2 years. Moreover, Astrome’s technology is driven by software to make it easy to deploy, maintain and repair remotely. We are grateful to have received this support from marquee investors in our journey to establish GigaMesh as a leading solution for 5G backhaul, mid-haul and front-haul, globally.”
Astrome was the first 5G startup in the world to get selected by EvoNexus, a 5G accelerator program sponsored by Qualcomm and Verizon in San Diego, California.
Further adding, Rajnish Kapur, Managing Partner of IAN Fund said, “The demand for bandwidth is seeing a huge surge fueled by the increased pace of digital transformation and the new normal of remote working. The adoption of technologies like IoT, telemedicine, etc. is also contributing to the surge. Much of this demand and need for increased throughput is from mobile devices which the existing front-haul infrastructure like 4G is unable to deliver, thus accelerating the rollout of 5G across the globe. 5G internet is expected to cover up to 65% of the World’s population by the end of 2025. The 5G rollout will in turn fuel the need for robust backhaul as the number of cell sites go up by nearly 5 times. While the current default choice for the backhaul remains fiber optics, it is also quite difficult and time-consuming to lay especially, in a typical dense urban setting. This is where Astrome’s proprietary mm-Wave technology steps in to provide fiber-like-wireless backhaul connectivity, for both 5G and terrestrial broadband, which is light on both CapEx and OpEx for the telecom operators. Astrome is also using the same technology platform to deliver satellite-based internet access solutions. Through its unique products, the company is pioneering the future of millimeter-wave wireless communication – be it on earth or from space. We wish the founders good luck in their journey and be part of this 5G revolution.”
With offices in Bangalore, India and San Diego, California, the company signed its first overseas deal with a South-East Asian telecom operator in 2021, besides signing a contract with Indian Defence forces to deploy GigaMesh for fulfilling the strategic communication requirements of the country.
The company has experienced significant developments in the last few years such as business leader Venkatesh Kumaran joining the executive team in 2019. Astrome is also in the process of developing GigaMesh-Next, an E-band radio capable of delivering 50Gbps per device, which will be ideal for the next generation deployment of 5G networks.
In the upcoming years, the company will also be launching its Flat Panel Satellite (FPS) terminal, GigaSat that will serve the need for low-cost user terminals required by LEO satellite internet providers to be commercially successful.
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