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Quantenna Communications, seeking to exploit the rising number of mobile device users globally, says it is building a better semiconductor chip for wireless signal transmission in phones, laptops and other devices.

The chip includes multiple inputs and outputs for wireless signal transmission, and will be smaller, less power-hungry and more reliable than what competitors currently offer, the company claims.

Sunnyvale, California-based Quantenna has just announced a $12.7 million funding round from high profile investors: Sigma Partners led the round, with participation from Grazia Equity, Sequoia and Venrock. Amidzad was an earlier, seed investor.

It will spend its money on further chip development as well as on efforts to obtain its first customers. Quantenna hopes to launch in mid-2008.

Potential customers range from Nokia to Motorola to Cisco, founder Behrooz Rezvani told us yesterday.

The company is being secretive about the specifics of its technology, in the meantime. Rezvani wouldn’t reveal any more information, except to boast about the company’s technical prowess : More than a third of its 75 employees have PhDs. Farrokh Farrokhi, the company’s senior director of systems, was previously chief scientist at wireless transmitter company Optichron Inc. Quantenna’s chief technology officer is Andrea Goldsmith, a professor of electrical engineering at Stanford.

Rezvani himself previously founded Ikanos Communications, a broadband semiconductor company that went public in 2005.

Quantenna company previously raised a $12 million round in 2006.

Sigma Partners managing director Fahri Diner will join Quantenna’s board of directors.

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