Running Rampant, On-Ramp Wireless Raises $11.5M in Equity Round

San Diego’s On-Ramp Wireless, which has been on quite a romp over the past year or so, recently raised $11.5 million of a planned $14.7 million round from investors, according to a regulatory filing yesterday. The investors were not disclosed in the filing.

On-Ramp, which was founded in 2008 to develop low-power wireless networking technology for smart grid and other utility-scale applications, previously raised at least $16.5 million.

Last week, the company also landed an undisclosed dollop from a $63 million pool that GE and four VC firms awarded to 10 cleantech companies as part of the “GE ecoimagination Challenge.” The U.S. Department of Energy awarded On-Ramp a $2.1 million grant in November as part of an initiative to help modernize the nation’s electric grid infrastructure.

On-Ramp also has been drawing increased attention. MIT’s Technology Review (popular among techies) profiled the company this week, and in December, CEO Joaquin Silva gave a presentation at Xconomy’s very own “5×5: Five Cities, Five Big Tech Ideas” in Boston.

And then there was the recognition that On-Ramp got last September from no less than the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, which named On-Ramp to its 2011 global list of “technology pioneers.”

On-Ramp’s wireless network technology uses the same frequency as Wi-Fi, but the system operates with much less power, using advanced algorithms to filter extraneous radio interference and keep the network locked onto its own signals. It sounds a bit like modern Astronomy.  On-Ramp says its “Ultra-Link Processing” technology transmits data at a trickle, just 50 bits a second compared to 5 million bits for a Wi-Fi Internet connection. But the system can collect sensor data from an underground utility vault, and is capable of transmitting its signals 45 miles. The company told Tech Review a trial network in San Diego County requires just 35 strategically located access points across a 4,000-square-mile area to collect data from smart meters and other sensors.

Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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