Wireless power seems like one of those things everyone always dreams about. I mean, how great would it be to have your phone just charge while it’s sitting in your pocket with no need to plug it in? That’s the premise uBeam is setting out to deliver on, and to do so, it’s raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Upfront Ventures.
The investment brings total capital raised to about $12 million, with other investors that include Founders Fund, Andreessen Horowitz, CrunchFund*, Ludlow Ventures, Marissa Mayer, Zappos co-founder Tony Hsieh, Troy Carter, Shawn Fanning and Mark Cuban. With the new funding, Upfront managing partner Mark Suster will join the uBeam board.
uBeam is just one among a large number of companies we’ve seen over the years that have sought to solve the problem of charging your devices without having to plug them in. So far most seem to have been focused on magnetic resonance charging, which still requires devices to be close to the charger.
By contrast uBeam wants to enable users to charge their phones without plugging in, and they’re looking to do that through the use of ultrasonic sound waves. Those waves can’t be heard by human ears, but can be converted to energy through the technology that uBeam has developed.
To start, the company is looking to offer up a consumer-facing product that would resemble any protective phone case but have the side benefit of being able to charge a device while in range of a uBeam transmitter. Unlike Mophie battery packs, uBeam wants to make its product as light and unobtrusive as possible — there will be no big battery sitting on the back of its case.
It’s filed a number of patents related to its technology, and founder and CEO Meredith Perry — seen above with a VERY early prototype — says uBeam has a working prototype of the product and hopes to have product in customers’ hands within the next two years. That might seem like a long time, especially for technology that the company has already been working on for a while.
The funding should help accelerate things, as the company has hired 11 new employees recently and is getting ready to actually move into production. The startup graveyard is littered with wireless charging companies, as the technology always sounds great but takes a good deal to get going.
With so much capital raised, hopefully uBeam won’t meet the same fate as those that came before it, because yeah, I’d like to just charge my phone while it’s in my pocket.
* Of course CrunchFund invested. But I wrote about this because I really just want wireless charging in my life.