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University of Birmingham tech spinout secures £1m funding

Smart Antenna Technologies is developing a product which aims to prolong the battery life of mobile phones by combining separate antennas

University of Birmingham
Smart Antenna Technologies has secured investment from the University of Birmingham

A company which has developed technology aimed at prolonging the battery life of mobile phones is the first to receive backing from a new £5 million tech fund.

Smart Antenna Technologies has received the capital, as part of a wider £1m funding round, from the Spinout Investment Fund which is run Alta Innovations, the University of Birmingham's technology transfer company.

The scheme provides match funding for spinout companies in which the university is, or will become, a shareholder.

Smart Antenna Technologies was founded in 2013 to develop a new generation of antenna for smart phones and laptops.

Currently mobile devices have separate antennae for things such as GPS and wi-fi.

Smart Antenna Technologies has invented a new system which combines these separate antennas into a single unit, something it says provides a considerable saving in space, battery life and cost.

This technology will extend smart phone battery life by up to ten per cent, according to the company, which estimates the demand from the mobile device market will exceed two billion units per year.

The firm also plans to exploit opportunities in other markets including the Internet of Things and car antenna systems.

The University of Birmingham's investment was part of a £1 million funding round which will enable Smart Antenna Technologies to recruit additional engineering staff and complete product development with a major industry partner.

The Spinout Investment Fund was created to provide capital where there is a clear commercial appetite for the technology or concept and where there is confidence in the management board to deliver to the next stage of planned growth.

James Wilkie, chief executive of Alta Innovations, said: "The technology developed by Smart Antenna has attracted substantial interest and we believe this is an exciting time to invest."

Smart Antenna Technologies was founded by Sampson Hu who has been working on the core technology since 2009, while completing his PhD at the University of Birmingham.

The company has grown from three employees to around 20 since launch.

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