QUB spin-out AntennaWare raises six-figure seed round

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The Belfast start-up will commercialise its research, which is aiming to boost the range and reliability of wireless wearable devices.

AntennaWare, a wearable tech company based in Belfast, has secured a six-figure sum in its seed funding round.

The investment was led by QUBIS, the commercialisation arm of Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), with backing from Techstart Ventures.

AntennaWare was founded in 2020 as a spin-out from QUB. It focuses on the need for dedicated, high-performance antenna tech for wearables, specifically looking at the medical and sports sectors.

Co-founders Dr Matthew Magill and Dr Gareth Conway have almost 25 years’ experience in the wearable tech sector, conducting research at QUB’s Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT). Their extensive research emerges from the global research institute’s Centre for Wireless Innovation, which is the UK’s largest research, development and exploitation base in physical layer wireless.

Magill said their AntennaWare tech can “greatly increase the range and reliability” of wireless wearables.

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“The wearable devices can transmit further, with less dropouts and using less power, which helps facilitate applications thought previously impossible for medical monitoring, sports and fitness, wireless audio and wireless proximity detection.”

The pair came top in the electronics category of last year’s Invent competition for start-ups in Northern Ireland.

‘Exciting and fast-growing wearables sector’

Conway said the funding from QUBIS and Techstart Ventures will enable the AntennaWare team to commercialise this research.

“We are confident our antenna technology will be the go-to solution in the exciting and fast-growing wearable technology sector,” he added.

Hal Wilson, partner at Techstart Ventures, said the start-up had identified an opportunity to commercialise a “unique technology”. Oisin Lappin, corporate finance manager at QUBIS, added that this tech could have applications in “a variety of markets including healthcare and sports”.

QUBIS has invested in several Queen’s University Belfast spin-outs recently, joining the funding rounds for marine surveying start-up FjordStrong, medtech start-up VascVersa, and cancer testing company GenoMe Diagnostics.