11 Aug 21
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Science Creates Ventures Leads £1.5m Round Into Forefront RF to Enable Better Global Cellular Connectivity

The investment will allow Forefront RF to develop their smaller and cheaper alternative to the numerous radio frequency (RF) filters currently needed by smartphones and Internet Of Things (IoT) devices.

Have you ever stepped off a plane and noticed that you only get 2G or 3G and that your phone is grinding to a halt? This problem will worsen as networks expand to 5G, and we become more reliant on data-consuming apps and cloud connections.

Because of the ever-increasing number of frequency bands used by mobile phones worldwide, manufacturers have to use incredibly complex filter sets and switches that they tailor for each network and location. Smartphone space is at a premium, and this will only increase with the roll-out of 5G, making the filters a limiting factor in the progression of smartphones and IoT devices.

Cambridge-based Forefront RF are developing a chip that could tune to any network, anywhere in the world, just by adjusting its software. The hardware could potentially provide much more flexibility, at a tenth of the size and price of the current technology.

For manufacturers, this might prevent them from needing to design phones to work in specific regions around the world. For consumers, this could mean that your phone will work much more effectively while travelling, as it will be able to connect to networks over a much wider range of frequencies.

 

Forefront RF founders Julian Hildersley and Dr Leo Laughlin

Image: Forefront RF founders Julian Hildersley and Dr Leo Laughlin

Harry Destecroix, General Partner at Science Creates Ventures, said: “Forefront RF’s technology has the potential to revolutionise smartphone design, allowing for smaller components, more flexibility and reduced number of product variations. At SCV, we look for technology that has the potential to create new markets, and Forefront RF’s chip has the power to make big changes.”

Dr Leo Laughlin and Julian Hildersley founded forefront RF in 2020. Dr Laughlin developed the technology at the University of Bristol, and Hildersley brings over 30 years of industry experience developing RF technologies. Their Chairman is Phil O’Donovan, who was a co-founder and Managing Director at CSR plc, one of the early market leaders in Bluetooth chips.

Leading the investment round, Science Creates Ventures were also joined by Foresight Williams Technology, BGF, and The Cambridge Angels. The investment will allow Forefront to grow their team and develop their prototype chip.

To find out more about Forefront RF, visit their website.

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