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Company: Xceive Corporation

HQ: Santa Clara, CA

Founded: 2001

Management: Pierre Favrat is president, CEO, and co-founder. He was previously with STMicroelectronics, the Geneva, Switzerland-based semiconductor giant. Alain-Serge Porret is vice president of engineering and a co-founder. He was a technical manager at Electronics Laboratory (LEG) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, a science and technology university, and he has authored numerous scientific papers on tradeoffs and design to optimize power usage in semiconductors.

Investors: In June, the company raised $13.5 million from Sequoia Capital, Alliance Ventures, BA Venture Partners, and The Ignite Group.

Business Model: The company has developed an integrated circuit for consumer electronics products, including analog and digital TVs, set-top boxes, VCRs, and personal video recorders that act like TV tuners. These integrated circuits are often known as a “TV-on-a-chip.” The core technology, QuickTune, allows device manufacturers to incorporate live digital television into a variety of products, including some logical spots like TVs, PC TVs, and set-top boxes, as well as more creative platforms like mobile phones, PDAs, and other small consumer electronic devices. As with many developers of chip technologies, Xceive claims one of its strengths is low power consumption, which is essential for small mobile devices that run on battery power.

Competitors:  Microtune, Texas Instruments, Freescale

Dirt: The idea of bringing TV to small mobile devices has been around for a while, but the technology has been slow to keep pace with the promise of the idea. Interest persists because wireless providers are looking to add data services to user plans in order to increase revenues, and mobile TV provides that opportunity. The good news for Xceive is that the stars may be aligning for its products. A new wireless standard called Digital Video Broadcast-Handheld (DVB-H) has been designed to bring TV to smaller devices, and it’s being embraced by major players such as Nokia, which recently launched a pilot project in Helsinki to test the concept of delivering a television broadcast to a mobile phone. In the United States, Sprint and Verizon have already launched forays into streaming television programming to wireless devices.  While Xceive also develops its products for more traditional platforms, like TVs, PC TVs, and set-top boxes, we suspect that venture capitalists see the big growth coming from the mobile opportunity.

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Tagged: Communications

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