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Wiliot -- Battery Free Bluetooth ICs  
Founded: Jan 2017
Status: Private
Source: Semiconductor Times, 12/17
11440 West Bernardo Court Suite 300
San Diego, CA 92127
Tel: 858.753.1722

Wiliot (see 6/17 issue) was founded in January 2017 to develop ICs for the IoT market. The company’s mission is “to scale the Internet of Things with Battery Free Bluetooth.” The team’s previous start-up, Wilocity, was acquired by Qualcomm in 2014 and was a Gigabit Wi-Fi pioneer. Wiliot has a R&D team in Israel and business development headquarters in San Diego, CA.

When it was founded, Willot raised $14M in Series A financing from Grove Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, and 83North Venture Capital. In Q4’17, the company closed an investment round with Qualcomm Ventures and M Ventures, the strategic, corporate venture capital arm of Merck, bringing the total to $19M to date, enough to take the company to market. The company has 20 employees.

After more than five years, the current Bluetooth beacon market has reached a floor on reductions in cost, size and ease of maintenance, according to Wiliot, which has hindered widespread adoption. Wiliot’s technology will eliminate a reliance on batteries or wired power to accelerate the IoT with the vision of creating a world of “Smart Everything.” Wiliot’s solution will enable everything to be intelligent by embedding sensing, connected, passive devices with an unlimited lifetime.

The company’s Battery Free Bluetooth SoCs combine energy harvesting, passive communication and mesh networking technologies to enable the deployment of self-sustaining sensors in areas such as smart clothing, consumer medical, smart packaging, and industrial applications. The technology is based on harvesting energy from radio waves.

The range will depend on the RF energy that the chip can harvest. From a phone, the goal is a personal area range of roughly one meter. A BLE 5 hub should enable room level range of roughly 10 meters. Infrastructure devices designed to emit higher RF energy could enable warehouse level range.

Leveraging RFID-type lessons, the Wiliot chip uses Bluetooth RF energy back scatter, remodulates it, and bounce back. It also uses conventional energy harvesting techniques to power the ARM M0 processor. The device can harvest any RF energy and weak signals in the ISM band. The Wiliot chip is designed for intermittent energy wave processing by processing and saving state/results, as energy comes and goes.

The Bluetooth radio portion of the IC is clockless. For sensing applications, the device integrates a temperature sensor on chip. Antenna impedance measurement can be used to sense moisture and movement.

The single die chip will be packaged in an RFID style inlay and will be priced at less than $1.00. Proof of concepts are scheduled to start in 2H’18 with delivery to market planned for early 2019.

Tal Tamir, Founder & CEO (previously VP Product Management at Qualcomm via the acquisition of Wilocity where he served as CEO)

Yaron Elboim, Founder & VP of R&D (previously Sr. Director Engineering at Qualcomm and VP R&D at Wilocity)

Alon Yehezkely, Founder & VP of Analog and RF (previously Sr. Director of Engineering at Qualcomm)

Stephen Statler, SVP of Marketing & business Development (previously Senior Director of Strategy at Qualcomm Retail Solutions)

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