picoChip, maker of semiconductors for femtocells, has raised $20 million, bringing its total venture capital raised to $110 million. The Bath, UK-based company provides the radios for femtocells which sit inside a user’s home or business and boost cellular coverage. Femotcells use the home’s or business’ wired broadband connection as backhaul to connect back to the web.
Both Om and I have outlined why the femotcell market has so far failed to thrive, even though carriers are searching for ways to improve capacity on their networks — something with which femtocells could help. Then earlier this month I wrote about new silicon from picoChip that might help femotcells break out as a business opportunity. I still wonder if Wi-Fi could provide a similar service for a lower cost to both consumers and operators, but picoChip’s investors are certainly confident in the femto opportunity. picoChip raised its over-subscribed round from existing investors Atlas Venture, Highland Capital Partners, Intel Capital, Pond Ventures, Rothschild, Samsung and Scottish Equity Partners.
Related GigaOM Pro Research: Femtocells Won’t Last Long