FocalPoint raises £6m to improve the world’s GPS signals

15 Mar 2021

Image: FocalPoint

The British start-up is developing tech to improve the accuracy of satellite positioning systems in cars, smartphones and other devices.

FocalPoint, a British start-up building software to improve GPS accuracy, has raised £6m in a Series B round led by Draper Esprit.

The start-up is developing ways of improving the accuracy of GPS and other global navigation satellite systems like Europe’s Galileo.

GPS inaccuracies can be caused by weak or reflected satellite signals that can lead to positioning errors. This can often happen in built-up urban areas and can cause havoc for devices and services, from cars to IoT applications, that rely on them.

FocalPoint is building tech that measures the direction that satellite signals arrive in, which is then built into chipsets in devices like smartphones and wearables. It has developed two chief products, called Supercorrelation and D-Tail.

Supercorrelation is a chipset-level software product that calculates the angle of a satellite signal. It is installed in smartphones, cars and wearables and can improve positioning up to 10 times, according to the company. Last year, FocalPoint partnered with semiconductor firm U-blox to integrate Supercorrelation into its commercial chips.

D-Tail, meanwhile, is a firmware product that uses an AI model to enable positioning down to the centimetre in indoor and outdoor settings.

Greater accuracy of positioning systems will be essential as more and more smart devices come on track. These systems can also be subject to spoofing and security breaches and as technologies like autonomous cars eventually take to the road, accuracy and security will be crucial.

“This is an important moment for our team. Signing our first deal with U-blox to integrate Supercorrelation into a commercial chip has increased the demand for our products from a multitude of different industries and use cases,” Ramsey Faragher, chief executive of FocalPoint, said.

“This funding will help us to meet that demand and enable Supercorrelation and D-Tail to improve the lives and businesses of people across the globe.”

FocalPoint is based in Cambridge and Bristol, with team members that previously worked at Cambridge University, BAE Systems and the European Space Agency.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin