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Big acquisition: Quorvo to acquire location company Decawave


Decawave announced today that Qorvo, a provider of RF solutions, is acquiring the company, as well as Custom MMIC. Financial details have not been disclosed.

“This acquisition is by far the biggest in the indoor location industry,” according to Bruce Krulwich, founder of Grizzly Analytics. “While the price is not disclosed, I and others have estimated it at $400-500 million.”

“Apple is using their own UWB chips in upcoming iPhones, but their own chips are too big and use too much power to be used in smartwatches or other small devices,” Krulwich said. “Decawave’s chips will enable Qurvo to sell compatible UWB chips to a much wider range of markets.Apple’s use of UWB in iPhones is the tipping point for UWB. With Apple’s stamp of approval, UWB will be incorporated into a wide range of location-aware electronics, including robots, drones, wearables, smartwatches and more.”

“The biggest implications for this acquisition are not only in the RTLS market, but also in the areas of internet of things, wearables and location-aware electronics,” Krulwich said. “UWB is being used in next-generation products like drones by Intel, robots by iRobot, and autonomous vehicle movement by Segway.”

Bob Bruggeworth, president and chief executive officer of Qorvo, said in a third-quarter financial release that the company was “looking forward to welcoming two industry-leading teams, Decawave and Custom MMIC, to the Qorvo family, expanding our technology portfolio and product offerings.”

Decawave is an Irish fabless semiconductor company specializing in precise location and connectivity applications. The acquisition will advance market penetration of IR-UWB and enable broad global adoption of the technology.

Decawave was founded in Dublin in 2007 by current CEO Ciaran Connell and CTO Michael McLaughlin. The co-founders had a vision that the new IR-UWB technology, based on a nascent IEEE standard, could deliver ultra-accurate location in a way that would revolutionize people’s lives like GPS did in the 1990s.

Twelve years later, IR-UWB is on the verge of becoming the next essential component technology, like GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth before it. Already shipping in millions of smartphones and cars, and across more than 40 other verticals, IR-UWB is enabling accurate indoor location services, secure communications, context aware user interfaces and advanced analytics.

“We are thrilled to announce the acquisition of Decawave by Qorvo,” said co-founder and CEO Ciaran Connell. “We have created an incredibly unique technology, but we understand that to embrace the opportunity in front of us, we will need greater resources to execute at scale, accelerate our innovation and product launches and to continue to support our growing customer base with the same level of service.

“Joining forces with Qorvo’s leading expertise in RF technology, their experience in serving very high-volume markets like Mobile but also the thousands of customers in Industrial and Enterprise, is, for Decawave, a perfect combination to scale and further accelerate the adoption of IR-UWB.”

Eric Creviston, President of Qorvo Mobile Products, said, “We’re very pleased to welcome the Decawave team, which we believe will enhance Qorvo’s product and technology leadership while expanding new opportunities in mobile, automotive and IoT. We look forward to building on the groundbreaking work that Decawave has done and helping to drive new applications and businesses using their unique UWB capability.”

Decawave co-founder Michael McLaughlin added, “From proving a new technology, to building new markets and to today joining a Tier 1 semiconductor company, the past 12 years have been a challenging and fantastic journey.

“None of this would have been possible without the dedication and passion of Decawave employees as well as the constant support from our lead investor Atlantic Bridge, Act Venture Capital, Summit Bridge, Enterprise Ireland and our business angels. To all others who accompanied us on this journey we also say a sincere and profound thank you and we look forward to the next chapter for IR-UWB.”

In the coming months and years Decawave and Qorvo will:

  • Continue to contribute to the IEEE, Car Connectivity Consortium, FiRa and UWB alliance to define next-generation PHYs and protocols, ensuring interoperability across applications and fueling IR-UWB adoption,
  • Accelerate the roadmap of ICs and modules, leveraging their respective R&D strengths and product portfolio to bring even more IR-UWB solutions to the market,
  • Pursue existing partnerships and investments in enablement to offer flexible and easy to integrate IR-UWB solutions to our customers.
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