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Austin’s Uhnder Raises $45M Series C

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Uhnder, a startup looking to transform radar from analog to digital,  raised $45 million in a Series C round of funding, the company announced Tuesday.

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The company’s digital Radar-on-chip detects and tracks objects and is able to predict what they’ll do next. That makes it useful for technologies like autonomous vehicles, for example. 

The company, which was founded in Austin in 2015, is aiming to transform radar from its traditional analog modulations to the digital world. 

“Once you’ve gone digital, you can do three things,” CEO Manju Hegde said in an interview with Crunchbase News. “One, it’s much more programmable. Two, you can store and you can process it, which you can’t do with analog. Three, with digital you can get rid of noise almost completely.” 

The market for digital radar is large, according to the company. As Hegde puts it, “If it moves, it will be automated.”

“If they’re trying to automate it, they need perception,” he said, “and what our radar does is help them to perceive more.”

The company’s competitive edge is not only its technology–Uhnder says it makes the only digital radar–it’s also its business model. Uhnder is a pure play radar company, meaning it not only builds the chip, but it builds the full sensor, module and software structure. 

In a way, there’s been some competition between lidar (another remote sensing method) and radar. Lidar has been seen as a new, exciting technology, whereas radar has been around for a while and is seen as less exciting, Hegde said. Uhnder is making radar new again.

The Series C, which closed in November and was led by Sensata Technologies, will be used to fund the company’s growth next year while its chip is fully in production. Its signature product, called Voxel, is expected to be automotive qualified next year, according to a statement from the company. The company also plans to expand into other industries that are looking for better perception, such as the delivery and logistics space.

Sands Capital Ventures led Uhnder’s Series A in 2017 and Khosla Ventures led the company’s Series B in 2019. 

Other investors in the company include Magna, ACME Capital, Lockheed Martin, SAIC, EDOM, TDK Ventures and Qualcomm Ventures.The Series C brings the company’s total funding to $145 million. 

“Uhnder’s 4D sensing can quickly detect, track, and generate a digital image of obstacles with precision that hasn’t been seen in the past,” Sven Strohband, managing director at Khosla Ventures said in a statement. “Our investment in Uhnder brings the market increasingly closer to realizing autonomous transportation.” 

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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