Irish chipmaker DecaWave brings in Intel suit

Fabless Chipmaker DecaWave has appointed Jim O’Hara, who was the head of Intel in Ireland, to be its new chairman. It has also raised additional funding of €6 million to start a glorious expansion.

The company, which only has 25 staff, expects to hire more later this year. It specialises in ultra wideband technology for real-time location systems and wireless sensor networks.

As far as ideas go, this one seems to have legs. DecaWave’s ScenSor chip can precisely locate thousands of tagged assets within a narrow radius, it has two patents issued in the US and 14 more applications filed.

The chips run on low power and can perform high precision location of objects. The chip can be used in manufacturing, healthcare, lighting, security, transport, inventory and supply chain management.

The company says that it now aims to “narrow its focus on key customers in specific vertical markets” which is unusual because most Irish outfits are horizontal and really out of focus particularly at 1am in Dublin.

The company has been around for a while. It was founded in 2004 which makes it an old person in terms of technology and is certainly getting on a bit still to be a start up. The company appears to have taken off thanks to the work of the co-founder and chief technology officer Michael McLaughlin, who spent several years on standards committees to develop the IEEE 802.15.4a Ultra-Wideband (UWB) radio standard to make sure that the company gained a technical reputation.

O’Hara is supposed to speed things up. He led the technology and manufacturing group at Intel for 20 years and is a board member of Enterprise Ireland, as well as other public companies. He retired from Chipzilla about a year and half ago.

O’Hara will spend a day per week with DecaWave as it prepares to put its chip into mass production. He sees his role as helping the company with management processes and business development plans ahead of planned growth.