Keeping tabs on the ever-changing global connectivity map isn’t easy, particularly for the businesses spending billions to secure wireless spectrum. It’s this gap in strategic intelligence that motivated the founding of Aurora Insight, a Washington, D.C. startup using a sensor network and machine-learned digital signals to continuously sample the full radio spectrum.
Aurora Insight has achieved a measure of success in the three years since it emerged from stealth, attracting unnamed clients across four continents. In anticipation of accelerated growth, the company today revealed that it’s raised fresh venture capital following a series A earlier this year led by Alsop Louie Partners and True Ventures. (True Ventures initially invested in 2017.) The round — which also saw participation from Tippet Venture Partners, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, Promus Ventures, Alumni Ventures Group, ValueStream Ventures, and Intellectus Partners — brings its total raised to $18 million.
“The boundaries of wireless are being redrawn,” said cofounder and CEO Brian Mengwasser. “It’s not just about phones anymore. Buildings have become base stations, factories operate their own LTE and 5G networks, and connected cars have five integrated receivers for different networks. Our customers don’t have the time or money to deploy fleets of trucks and spectrum analyzers to determine if their wireless solutions are going to work. We enable more companies to design-to-reality and get more out of limited spectrum, which is part of everyone’s technology stack now.”
At a high level, Aurora Insight’s product suite taps a combination of maps, near-real-time radio spectrum data, and analytics to help clients identify gaps in service. Its products are designed to help network operators and carriers deploy and optimize their spectrum, and to anticipate rollouts in the course of planning for expansion.
Alsop Louie Partners and Aurora board member Gilman Louie asserts that conventional ad hoc spectrum measurement methods are “outdated” and provide only snapshots of connectivity. By contrast, Aurora Insight claims its approach reveals different patterns of spectrum occupancy (i.e., where operators have excess spectrum) and detect unused spectrum available for unlicensed use, as well as drill down to extract carrier and band information for individual cells (land areas served by at least one fixed-location transceiver) or clusters of cells.
“The reality of … techniques employed by … networks means it’s both more difficult and more important to quantify the radio spectrum,” he added. “Having the accurate and near-real-time feedback on the radio spectrum that Aurora’s technology offers could be the difference between building a … network right the first time, or having to build it twice.”
True Ventures partner and fellow Aurora Insight board member Rohit Sharma added, “Wireless spectrum is one of the most critical and valuable parts of the communications ecosystem worldwide. To date, it’s been a massive challenge to accurately measure and dynamically monitor the wireless spectrum in a way that enables the best use of this scarce commodity. Aurora’s proprietary approach gives businesses a unique way to analyze, predict, and rapidly enable the next-generation of wireless-enabled applications.”