Kymeta raises $85.2 million led by Bill Gates to speed growth of its satellite-cellular antenna tech

Global communications startup Kymeta has raised a new $85.2 million funding round, led by Bill Gates. The Redmond-based company has developed a new type of smart, powered, flat-panel antenna that can be used to vastly improve satellite and cellular connection signal strength.

Kymeta’s new funding is intended to help it continue with new product development efforts, and also to speed the commercialization of its technology. Since its debut in 2015, Kymeta has productized its technology and added a significant number of customers, particularly in industries like defense, mobility and public safety.

The company’s tech is electronically steered and requires no moving parts to operate, which is a huge advantage over traditional satellite reception dishes — particularly in applications like on aircraft, on ships and in other transportation methods where having a satellite dish attached to the outside of your vehicle doesn’t make any sense or is impossible.

Kymeta’s tech also has significant potential advantages when it comes to working with the new generation of low Earth orbit communications satellite constellations that are coming online today and in the near future. Because of the dynamic nature of its flat-panel antennas, it can track and adjust position when maintaining connection with these satellites as they move across the sky — a task that requires more flexibility when compared to maintaining connections with the large, fixed-position geostationary communications satellites that form the backbone of legacy satellites internet networks.