Helix Geospace, the Harwell Campus, Oxfordshire company developing antenna and RF (radio frequency) technology, has raised £3 million in seed funding in a round led by Bloc Ventures, and supported by the UK Innovation and Science Seed Fund (UKI2S), managed by Midven, part of Future Planet Capital, and private investors including a group of high net work individuals’s introduced by Tony Best, who’s background is in finance and high-end electronics manufacturing.
Helix builds precision GPS antennas that enable GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) product designers to create the smallest, most accurate positioning, navigation and time synchronisation products.
Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) technology is ubiquitous in modern life. Most of us use it every day without a second thought and global economies depend on it. Knowing centimetre-exact location and nanosecond-accurate time data is critical for national infrastructure, commercial and consumer applications. However, almost all PNT systems have inherent issues which cause inaccuracy and security breaches leaving the system susceptible to spoofing and jamming.
Helix Geospace has acknowledged these issues, analysed the severity of inaccurate and corrupted data. This has resulted in the development of pioneering antenna and electronic systems technology, which enables the design and development of resilient and precise Position, Navigation, Timing (PNT) applications.
PNT (Position, Navigation and Timing) services delivered by satellite systems have become the lynchpin of global economies, with critical infrastructure, transportation, cyber-security and defence being dependent on them. These dependencies are vulnerable to the operating environments – busy cities and crowded RF spectra – and are under threat from malicious attack. Helix Geospace has invented and developed antenna technology that defends against these vulnerabilities and threats.
In addition to this £3 million round Helix has previously raised £2.5 million investment from UKI2S and angel investors, and has participated in Wayra UK’s Intelligent Mobility Accelerator programme and Seraphim Capital’s Space Camp Mission 6. Helix has also received additional grant funding for advanced antenna development from the European Space Agency, and for anti-jamming/spoofing technology from UKI2S.
As a result of this funding round Helix CTO and DielectriX inventor, world-reknown GNSS antenna and receiver specialist Oliver Leisten will be growing his team of RF engineers, and COO Nick Filler, who had led operations groups at Nokia and Jaguar Land Rover, will build Helix’s operations team to drive the manufacturing ramp-up.
James Lewis, CEO of Helix, who has founded and led a series of technology start-ups said: “We started manufacturing DielectriX antennas using state of the art laser/robotics equipment developed in-house, and we are now set to scale up rapidly through partnerships with electronics manufacturing service providers in the UK. Future manufacturing growth plans will roll out our ‘factory-in-a-box’ to deliver global capability required to meet the expected demands for autonomous vehicles and systems where absolute resilience and precision of location data is essential for safety.”
David Leftley, CTO and Co-founder of Bloc Ventures, added: “Over 10 billion devices make use of satellite GNSS signals for geolocation, from simple consumer location services to critical aerospace applications. But the challenge of reliable, resilient location in demanding environments remains the same. Helix has gone to the root of the problem, the antenna, with a design made possible by the company’s world leading advances in AI, applied to advanced 3D manufacturing of ceramics. The result is the highest signal sensitivity from the smallest physical size, and the lowest implementation complexity and cost for a GNSS receiver. We’re really excited to support the team as they begin scaling the company and developing the product alongside their initial customers.”
Andy Muir, Investment Director at UKI2S, added: “We are pleased to continue of our support of the UK space initiative at Harwell Campus through our investment in Helix. Their growth opportunity in the roll-out of highly resilient PNT is global, and they are well positioned to provide the ground-based capability for next generation UK or international satellite-based PNT constellations.”