Ossia, the wireless charging technology start-up from Washington-state in the USA is reportedly seeking to raise a final private investment round worth £39 million ($50 million) ahead of a prospective listing on London’s AIM exchange. While plans are yet to be confirmed, and the location and timing could change, Ossia is said to be planning a £600 million float on the junior exchange at some point next year, subject to market conditions and its own development. The company’s ground breaking technology allows electrical devices to charge wirelessly without the need for either cables or a ‘charging pad’ devices need to be placed upon.
Over the past decade there has been a huge surge in the number of electrical devices we use on a day-to-day basis. And much of that rise has been concentrated in devices that are either mobile or cordless. Mobile phones, tablets, lightweight laptops and wearables are all now a standard part of tech kit many of us carry with us wherever we go. And in the home and office environment, a significant part of the latest generation of technology is cordless. Robot vacuum cleaners, lawnmowers and other kinds of cleaning or maintenance robots that are by nature independently mobile are the prime examples.
Unfortunately, battery and charging technology has developed at a slower pace than much of the tech we now regularly use. That is compounded by the fact that as both software and hardware becomes more sophisticated, it uses more energy. Improvements in chips and other energy use efficiencies help but our electronic tech is still increasingly power hungry.
It’s one of the biggest challenges faced by tech companies who also often prioritise lighter, sleeker hardware. That design requirement means often compromising on battery size. Which means devices have to be charged more frequently. That’s an inconvenience as we have to have chargers to hand and also often interrupt the functionality of devices while charging them. Anyone with an even mid-sized home will be familiar with a robo-vacuum cleaner having to return to its dock to recharge between sections – unable to vacuum floor space of any significance in one go.
Ossia’s technology wirelessly sends power from a transmitter to a silicon chip installed in a device, from which its battery is then charged. That means a smartphone can recharge sitting on a desk or even in a pocket, as long as it’s within range of a transmitter. A robo-vacuum cleaner can also continue to charge while going about its job, meaning it doesn’t have to ‘take a break’.
The company licenses its patented technology to device manufacturers who can then include it in their gadgets. The investment being targeted is earmarked for increasing its sales and marketing reach and getting its technology into more devices around the world, especially those manufactured by the world’s biggest tech and electronics companies. Investment bank Lazard is said to have been contracted to advise on and manage the investment round.