Jim Disanto, managing director of Motus Ventures and Metawave investor from the start, shares his thoughts on the Company’s accomplishments, the market, and why he believes in Metawave.
Why did you choose to dedicate your time and resources to Metawave in the early days?
I was attracted by the prospect of disrupting the automotive radar industry by introducing an analog radar antenna, based on its patented, proprietary design, and related algorithmic control technology. At first, there was a lot of skepticism around developing a new kind of radar, since today’s radar is affordable. In order to see the promise of self-driving cars, however, all of the auto sensors needed innovation. In 2017, lidar was the star, a few companies were raising tons of capital, and it seemed like lidar would fulfill the promise on its own. Lidar hasn’t been able to meet affordable price points, and it has difficulty working in inclement weather, so that technology is still under development for wide commercialization.
We’re seeing evidence now that existing radar wasn’t accurate enough. We decided to make the investment, and it soon became obvious that radar is an excellent technology and can be improved and built to meet the needs of the automakers. Metawave’s SPEKTRA radar is an advanced analog radar that is able to see in higher resolution than today’s radar, and at very long ranges, so vehicles can drive at normal speeds. It also uses proprietary AI for object classification, including other vehicles, road objects, and pedestrians.
What has Metawave accomplished over the past 2 years?
With a focused team, Metawave built and continues to perfect the technology and winning design, hired a great team, established a strong customer and partner pipeline, and secured its IP with a mountain of patents. Metawave has also applied similar antenna technology to the nascent and fast growing 5G industry. For a start-up its size, their focus and determination is incredible.
What has shifted in the industry (automotive & wireless) since you began working with Metawave?
The sensor problem isn’t an easy one to solve, clearly. Sensors and software are critical, focus on development is critical, while small, innovative technology companies remain in alignment with the leading auto company’s expectations around delivering safety. Of course, as we see in many industries, especially those seeing tremendous change and disruption, it is taking longer to bring self-driving cars to market than originally expected. It could be good news for Metawave for two reasons: 1 -- it gives Metawave time to perfect and deliver the radar, working hand in hand with the auto industry, and 2 -- it is an indicator that the problem needs advanced
technology solutions - like high-resolution, long-range radar from Metawave!
As 5G follows its predicted course of rapid growth and adoption, it is also important for Metawave to stay in close contact with the carriers to help them deploy with economical relays and reflectors.
What advice do you have to give to Metawave at this juncture in their journey?
Three KEY pieces of advice: build a great product and deliver it, build a great product and deliver it, and build a great... (need I continue?)