Pharrowtech, an imec spin-off, closes €6M+ Seed investment round with imec.xpand, Bloc Ventures and KBC Focus Fund



Pharrowtech, an imec spin-off, closes €6M+ Seed investment round with imec.xpand, Bloc Ventures and KBC Focus Fund

Pieter Vorenkamp, former SVP at Broadcom and Cadence, has joined as Independent Chairman


Leuven, Belgium, 25 June 2019. Pharrowtech, the designer of chip and antenna solutions for high-speed wireless applications, today announces that it has raised more than €6 million for its Seed investment round. This ambitious investment round led by imec.xpand and Bloc Ventures with participation from imec and KBC, will allow Pharrowtech to further enhance the leading-edge capabilities of its products and prepare for high-volume production ramp-up aimed at Fixed Wireless Access, 5G, AR/VR and other bandwidth demanding wireless applications.

Pharrowtech also announces that Pieter Vorenkamp, former SVP at Broadcom and Cadence, has joined as Independent Chairman of the new board to accelerate this upcoming growth phase.

Pharrowtech has been spun out of imec, the world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies, where the team led IP generation and prototype development in wireless sub-systems encompassing all analog and RF circuits as well as phased-array antennas and related electronic components.

Wim Van Thillo, Pharrowtech CEO and co-founder, said: “In early 2018 we identified the emerging millimeter-wave business opportunity with a leading operator and telco equipment vendor. During the past year, the team has been focused on taking the widely-recognized IP developed at imec with contributions from Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) from development prototype into Fixed Wireless Access system demonstrator.

Today, we are adding senior industry leadership and significant investment by Europe’s prominent early stage tech investors and industry veterans in hardware, semiconductors and telecom, which validates our approach and our technology. We are now ready for this next growth phase and look forward to working together with our new partners.”

Pieter Vorenkamp said: “This is an exciting time to be joining such a young and innovative team, and at such an early stage with such a significant level of backing. My 18 years at Broadcom provide me a unique insight into what’s required to outperform incumbent players and I’m confident we will achieve this with the Pharrowtech team.”

David Leftley, co-founder and CTO of Bloc Ventures said: “We believe Pharrowtech, with a world leading RF semiconductor team, is uniquely positioned to succeed in the millimeter wave space – a key area of growth for the sector in the coming years.

Bloc is delighted to add Pharrowtech to its investments, especially as this is the first investment we have made outside the United Kingdom, and we look forward to collaborating with them to make their dreams a reality.”

Peter Vanbekbergen, Partner at imec.xpand said: “We are investing in companies that have the potential to become global players by disrupting the domain they are active in. We are convinced that the Pharrowtech team, also thanks to the close co-operation with imec, has all the tools, skills and expertise to disrupt the FWA market.”

Rudi Severijns, Investment Director at KBC Focus Fund added : “At KBC, we’ve set ourselves as primary goal to actively support the DeepTech ecosystem in Belgium and our surrounding countries.  We are delighted to support such a top team spinning out of imec in cooperation with imec.xpand and Bloc Ventures. KBC Focus Fund will actively support Pharrowtech through the network and expertise of KBC Group.”

Jo De Boeck, Chief Strategy Office at imec stated: “We are very proud with this significant investment in our spin-off Pharrowtech, as it is the confirmation of the value of the 60GHz wireless communications technology  in which imec has been investing for over 12 years, leveraging on our world-class R&D teams and infrastructure. This investment is the promise of a bright future for Pharrowtech. It will enable the company to further mature the technology and disrupt the Fixed Wireless Access application space.”


For further information, please contact:

Pharrowtech: Wim Van Thillo, CEO, +32 486 90 59 77,

Notes to Editors

Pharrowtech designs wireless sub-systems for 60GHz license-free millimeter wave high-speed wireless applications. Increasingly network operators are looking to the millimeter-wave band as the principal way to economically deliver Fixed Wireless Access solutions for the final connectivity link at gigabit-per-second speeds to customers. In parallel mobile operators are looking to the millimeter band as the solution to meet the greater demand that 5G puts on their backhaul network architectures.  Along similar lines in the consumer applications space, the nascent IEEE 802.11ay standard is aiming to address the extremely challenging ultra-high bandwidth, low latency requirements of augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) applications.

Showcasing their prototype chip at the TIP (Telecom Infra Project) London event, the Pharrowtech team demonstrated the capability of their electronically steerable phased array transceiver chip to achieve greater spectral efficiency and better power performance at a lower cost of production driven by the CMOS-based design, bringing consumer wireless applications at gigabit-per-second speeds closer to reality.

About Pharrowtech

Pharrowtech designs next-generation solutions for fixed-wireless access, wireless VR/AR and ultra-high capacity wireless links. It builds on more than 12 years of pioneering R&D performed at imec, the world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies, where the team led IP generation and prototype development in wireless sub-systems. Leveraging deep technical expertise in algorithm, chip and antenna design for millimeter-wave systems, it creates products with best-in-class performance, price and features.

About imec.xpand

Imec.xpand is an early stage and growth venture capital fund with a game-changing approach to turn hardware driven nanotechnology innovation into successful global companies. The fund is independently managed by a team of entrepreneurs, seasoned venture capitalists and business experts and is targeting ambitious tech start-ups that meet all the criteria to become a successful, scalable venture with the potential to change the world.

Imec.xpand contact: Peter Vanbekbergen, +32 497437741,

About Bloc Ventures

Bloc Ventures, founded by industry veterans from ARM and Vodafone, is an investment company which targets early stage ‘deep’ technology companies, working with them closely to build world leaders. Structured to identify and build on compelling investment opportunities, Bloc’s collaborative approach creates long term value and mitigates risk for investors.


Bloc Ventures contact: Tom Buchanan/Catriona Woolner-Winders : +44 (0)20 3012 0241,

About KBC Focus Fund

The KBC Focus Fund is a € 50 million venture capital fund that focuses on deeptech. We have the ambition to boost the sector of nanotechnology, microelectronics and IoT. We mainly focus on Belgium and surrounding countries where well-known expertise centers in this technological area are located.

The KBC Focus Fund leverages on the network and expertise of KBC Group and is managed by KBC Securities. KBC Securities has a solid knowledge of the tech ecosystem in Belgium and beyond with experienced teams in the M&A, Corporate Finance and Research & Sales departments. As part of KBC Group, the KBC Focus Fund aims to be long-term partners for entrepreneurs.

KBC Focus contact: Koen Schrever, Tel +32 476468371,

About imec

Imec is a world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies. The combination of our widely acclaimed leadership in microchip technology and profound software and ICT expertise is what makes us unique. By leveraging our world-class infrastructure and local and global ecosystem of partners across a multitude of industries, we create groundbreaking innovation in application domains such as healthcare, smart cities and mobility, logistics and manufacturing, energy and education.

As a trusted partner for companies, start-ups and universities we bring together more than 4,000 brilliant minds from over 97 nationalities. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and has distributed R&D groups at a number of Flemish universities, in the Netherlands, Taiwan, USA, and offices in China, India and Japan. In 2018, imec’s revenue (P&L) totaled 583 million euro.