Mauna Kea Semiconductors (MKSemi), the low power ultra-wideband (UWB) company, has announced the closing of Series Pre-A+ funding totaling $12.8 million led by Lightspeed China Partners with participation by marquee investors Qiming Venture and Ivy Capital.
Guided by its mission to enable ubiquitous high-precision sensing, MKSemi also launched its new product MK8000 system on a chip (SoC), the world’s lowest power, highest integrated chip solution, currently the best solution that empowers IoT devices with the smallest batteries and size for high-precision sensing. MK8000 also enables OEMs and ODMs to rapidly design, integrate and deploy complete location and direction-finding solutions.
Additionally, the company announced a partnership with world-leading semiconductor solutions provider Infineon Technologies and industrial and automotive system integrator ThinkSeed Systems to enable secure ranging and location in IoT applications.
“This funding close is a resounding validation of MKSemi’s vision, mission, and the tremendous traction gained as the leading low-power UWB company,” said Dr. Yifeng Zhang, Co-founder and CEO of MKSemi. “We are grateful to our investors and partners for supporting and embracing our differentiator — the unparalleled ability to enable IoT devices with high-precision sensing. Already working closely with tier one smartphone OEMs, MK8000 also has wide-ranging potential to dramatically bolster consumer and industrial IoT applications such as smart homes, cities, automobiles, wearables, and health monitoring devices.”
Market research firm ABI Research reveals that despite UWB being early in its ecosystem development, it is fast becoming a major short-range wireless technology. UWB-enabled devices are forecasted to reach more than 1.3 billion shipments by 2026, growing from 143 million in 2020.
“Every once in a while, we see all the necessary ingredients that present itself in one promising startup – industry pioneers evident in the founders’ experience, breakthrough product and tremendous potential with a growing market. MKSemi is one such company that we are proud to support,” said James Mi, Founding Partner, Lightspeed China Partners. “The company has a chance to impact industries and accelerate UWB market adoption, and we’re excited to help them scale globally.”
MK8000 Benefits and Features
MKSemi’s new MK8000 UWB SoC, with its high level of integration and computing power of the system-on-chip, allows customers to implement UWB ranging products with only a handful of external components, ensuring the smallest possible footprint and lowest power consumption. MKSemi’s low power UWB technology significantly extends the battery life of electronics and enables even the smallest wireless devices to have high precision ranging and location capability.
Features and benefits of the MK8000 include:
Ultra-Low power consumption: At 43mA@3V/RX the new SoC is 2X better in power consumption than anything else on the market.
Widest frequency band: Supports widest frequency band, making possible more applications and future proofing next-generation applications.
Highest level of integration: Chip’s highest level of integration lowers BOM cost and helps speed up deployment in era of supply chain shortage.
Unique intelligent signal processor: Features a unique intelligent signal processor that improves computation efficiency 10xs and reduces power consumption significantly.
The newly launched MK8000 SoC is now available to partners and customers.
MKSemi Partners with Infineon Technologies and ThinkSeed Systems
MKSemi’s partnership with Infineon Technologies and ThinkSeed Systems brings together an impressive group of like-minded companies. By joining forces, the three companies will help accelerate the development of secure ranging and locations solutions for IoT applications.
MKSemi and Infineon Technologies will jointly develop a system design that incorporate the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) MCU from Infineon Technologies with the MK8000 SoC. ThinkSeed Systems will take the combined design to add application software and qualify it for industrial and automotive markets. Since Bluetooth LE and UWB coexist and complement each other, using the two technologies creates an enhanced solution for spatial awareness.
“MKSemi chose to pair their low power UWB SoC with Infineon Technologies’ best-in-class PSoC™ 63 Bluetooth® LE MCU,” said Ali Bukhari, Director, Product Marketing – BTBLE IoT Computer & Wireless Division, Infineon Technologies. “Together with MKSemi we are creating an ideal solution for various location-based use cases including asset tracking, passive keyless entry (digital key), warehouse management, and location tags.”