Semiconductors and 5G

oneNav Raises $21M For More Accurate And Reliable GPS

Palo Alto, California-based oneNav has closed a $21 million Series B, as the startup looks to take advantage of improvements coming to GPS.

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The round was led by GV, with participation from Norwest Venture Partners and GSR Ventures. Since being founded in 2019, the company has raised a total of $33 million.

oneNav is developing a new receiver that will leverage the improved signaling from Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) — of which GPS is one. The new L5 signal promises to be more accurate and reliable than the L1 signals originally used by location systems. oneNav is looking to be the first company with a pure L5 mobile GNSS receiver that can be embedded on silicon and used for smartphones, wearables and other connected devices.

“The old signal was designed back in the 1970s,” said co-founder and CEO Steve Poizner. “The new signal is a massive upgrade. It’s like going from an analog phone to a smartphone.”

Going to market

oneNav will use the new money to continue its work on its technology with its 30-person-plus team. The company came out of stealth mode last year and is entering into testing and evaluations with prospective companies that can embed its tech on chips to put in devices. As part of the funding announcement, the company said it has signed a strategic partnership agreement with In-Q-Tel to provide U.S. intelligence and defense agencies with its technology.

This is not Poizner’s first trip into the GNSS and GPS world. He helped found SnapTrack, which helped put GPS into mobile phones. He eventually sold the company to Qualcomm in 2000 for $1 billion in stock. Since then, Poizner said, companies like Qualcomm and Broadcom have continued to buy smaller companies and add to their technology stack, but real advancement has lagged.

“This is a great time to be doing this because no one is focused on the market,” Poizner said. “There’s very little innovation.”

Karim Faris, general partner at GV, said investing in the company seemed obvious as the new technology has too much upside.

“It’s cheaper, it’s more powerful, it’s very unique,” he said.

While large chip makers like Samsung, Qualcomm and Broadcom can be seen as competitors, Poizner said those also are the same types of companies that could be customers as they put oneNav’s tech into new devices.

Poizner said he eventually could see oneNav being to the location and navigation space what Arm processors are to servers.

“We want to be the Arm of the GPS space,” he said.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias.

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