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Originally published July 9, 2013 at 5:49 PM | Page modified July 11, 2013 at 6:39 AM

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Redmond antenna company raises $50M in venture capital

Local tech firm Kymeta isn’t even a year old, but its plans for enabling more widespread, on-the-go Internet accessibility have investors excited.

Seattle Times staff reporters

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Kymeta, a fast-growing, Redmond-based developer of satellite antennas, said Wednesday it has raised $50 million in new financing.

The company spun out of patent firm Intellectual Ventures last August when it raised $12 million in funding for its mTenna product line, designed to simplify satellite connections for faster broadband Internet around the world.

New investors Osage University Partners and The Kresge Foundation have joined earlier backers Bill Gates, Lux Capital and Liberty Global in putting money into the technology firm.

The company is using patented synthetic materials to make antennas and receptors lighter, smaller, cheaper and more efficient. It aims to enable easier on-the-go Internet access, with receptors built for boats, trucks, trains, cars and airplanes.

Kymeta says a portable unit designed for use with a laptop could take the place of the truck-mounted systems used by TV crews, for instance.

“There are many applications where our technology can take time, cost, power consumption out of the current solutions that are in the marketplace,” said Bob McCambridge, president and chief operating officer.

Kymeta will use the new funding to get to “its next major inflection point — to commercial revenue from branded products,” McCambridge said.

“It will get us to commercial revenue in early 2015,” he said.

Altogether the company has raised $62 million from investors, plus the intellectual-property contributions from Intellectual Ventures.

McCambridge expects the company’s workforce to nearly double over the next two years. It now employs 57 and should have 110 employees by the end of 2014.

Along with the new funding came a handful of executive promotions: McCambridge was tapped as president and chief operating officer; co-founder Nathan Kundtz was promoted to executive vice president and chief technology officer; and John Schilling became executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Kymeta is likely to go public eventually, but McCambridge declined to say when that may happen.

It’s not the only local company to strike big venture-capital money recently.

In November, Seattle-based retailer Zulily, a flash-sale website aimed at busy moms, raised $85 million in a financing round led by Silicon Valley venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. With that money, the company had raised to $139 million in three years and was valued at $1 billion.

Colin Campbell: 206-464-2033 or ccampbell@seattletimes.com

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