CNBC Disruptor 50

44. Movandi

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Founders: Maryam Rofougaran (CEO), Reza Rofougaran
Launched: 2016
Headquarters: Irvine, California
Funding:
$73.4 million
Valuation: $250 million
Key technologies:
5G
Industry:
Telecom
Previous appearances on Disruptor 50 List: 1 (No. 14 in 2020)

Persephone Kavallines

Though Covid-19 accelerated the transition to 5G connectivity, it's nowhere near complete. And with broadband at the center of President Biden's $2 trillion infrastructure plan, it's unsurprisingly a top priority for tech and telecom companies. Enter Movandi, a company building the "interface of the internet" through a millimeter wave system of extremely high frequency radio signals, used in high-speed wireless broadband services like 5G.

Movandi is the brainchild of Maryam and Reza Rofougaran — siblings who brought the California-based company to life in 2016 after their first, Innovent Systems, was sold to Broadcom in 2000. The successful exit of Innovent Solutions inspired a 15-year career at Broadcom for Maryam, now Movandi's CEO, who helped build the chipmaker's wireless business from the ground up.

Short for the fifth generation of cellular wireless technology, 5G is designed to provide high-bandwidth connectivity that can be up to 100 times faster than 4G LTE connections. The wireless network has been rolling out slowly since 2019, with giants AT&T and Verizon spending billions in February to buy key airwaves for running the next-generation service.

By offering 5G and other multigigabit networks, antenna technology and cost-effective systems, Movandi says it can ensure that their proprietary wave technology be broadly deployed in real-world scenarios. This past year, the company announced partnerships with both Verizon and KT Corporation, South Korea's largest telecommunications company. As a result of the collaborations, Verizon and KT have expanded 5G coverage for their customers, who increasingly look to add more devices, and use those devices at a greater distance through Movandi's BeamXR extender technology.

Since ranking No. 14 on last year's CNBC Disruptor 50 list, the company has raised an additional $6.4 million, led by WRVI Capital and Alumni Ventures Group. Movandi's existing investors include Cota Capital, Sierra Ventures and DNX Ventures.

Contributed by Riley de León

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