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AccelerComm: Supercharging wireless technology

AccelerComm: Supercharging wireless technology

AccelerComm is a spin-out from the University of Southampton. It offers game-changing technologies to enable 5G wireless systems to be 10-times faster than 4G, laying down the foundations for the future of wireless applications and services. Their technology will enable smart devices to process and display information at speeds compatible with the forthcoming 5G technology.

AccelerComm: Supercharging wireless technology

FACT FILE

Start date: 2015

Website: Visit website

Location: Southampton

Employees: 35

Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe)

Funding: Grants: £550k; Equity: £8.8m

KEY MILESTONES

September 2015

Started on ICURe programme

March 2016

Limited company

April 2016

Innovate UK AFSU (aid for start-ups) grant secured

December 2016

Private investment secured

December 2017

Private investment secured

February 2018

Public funding projects secured

December 2018

Series A funding raised

September 2020

£5.8m Series A investment

“The ICURe funding enabled me to devote a significant amount of time to investigating how our research could address the real problems of the industry. During that market validation phase I met with potential customers, including major multinationals in Europe, USA and Asia, and attended industry events to gain insight and fine-tune our target markets – it was a huge eye-opener for us.”

“After the Options Roundabout we had three months to develop the business plan to apply for Innovate UK Aid for Start Ups funding. We followed up a number of leads that were a direct result of the ICURe project. These were large international companies – Qualcomm, Huawei and Altera. We also started targeting for venture capital funding and building the team to lead AccelerComm.”

“The feedback gained from the market validation phase enabled us to make our research more compelling and enhance our technology. We originally were thinking about the cellular market as well as specialist industries such as defence, satellite and drones but then we realised during Pivot that we shouldn’t spread ourselves too thinly and so we decided to focus our resources on the 4G and 5G cellular market. Since then, we have been able to broaden into other markets gradually with time.”

“A key part of the ICURe training and development was Bootcamp, during that we gained an enormous amount of understanding about the commercial side of research. The mock-interviews were instrumental in our approach to meeting big companies and how to explain our technology and build a relationship with them.”

“Since taking part in the ICURe programme, we have built up a great technical and commercial team and successfully demoed our unmatched channel coding technology to the industry at Mobile World Congress 2017 & 2018 and 5G World 2017 & 2018. These truly create promising dialogues with some blue-chip companies – some of which have already led to commercial contracts and partnership.”

“In September 2020 we secured £5.8m in Series A funding to expand the current team, drive US and global expansion, and develop our technology further as demand for our digital signal processing IP grows among mobile operators, telecoms equipment vendors, satellite operators and connected device manufacturers”.

“The funding has given us the challenge of navigating the tricky path to scaling up. We’ve doubled the size of the company to 35 people in just the past two years, so there has been a lot of focus on how we build processes in the team so that we can scale effectively. When we were very small everyone knows everything that’s going on, but now we put a lot of focus on developing process so that it doesn’t require everybody to know everything. That has allowed us to be more predictable in our planning for the future. It helped us this year too with COVID, as remote working has been a real challenge. The processes that we put in place were invaluable to ensuring it was business as usual throughout these challenging times”.

“We’ve also been focusing on strategy. In the past, we built the company by being reactive to opportunities that have come our way. That’s been a really useful way of building credibility and having impact, but now that we’ve got a new investment that will give us some runway. Our focus is on strategy and creating our own opportunities rather than waiting for them to come our way”.

“Over the next 2-3 years we want to execute on the business plan that we developed as part of this investment round. We want to broaden the scope of what we do, to include more parts of 5G so that we can integrate them together and find better solutions. In general, we want to be more outward looking. When we started up we were building things that we had been researching for years and we knew all the answers. Now, as we expand the scope of what we’re doing, we want to make sure that we’re solving real problems”.

Dr Taihai Chen, Accelercomm Ltd

SETsquared is a partnership between

  • University of Bath
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Southampton
  • University of Surrey