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kymetaterminalKymeta, which has been described as the next billion-dollar idea bankrolled by Bill Gates, has raised another $20 million in venture capital financing.

Vern Fotheringham
Vern Fotheringham

The Redmond company also announced that CEO Vern Fotheringham — a veteran telecommunications entrepreneur — plans to step down at the end of the year. He will be replaced by CTO Nathan Kundtz as the company looks for a full-time CEO.

Kymeta’s products include a portable satellite broadband receiver, about the size of a laptop, that promises to make it easier, less expensive and more energy-efficient to get a strong wireless signal anywhere in the world. That means wireless Internet signals could be delivered to moving cars, trucks, boats or remote locations.

The startup raised $50 million last year from Bill Gates and Lux Capital, the investors who are returning to back Kymeta in this round. The technology behind Kymeta’s Metamaterials Surface Antenna was created by Intellectual Ventures, the patent-holding company and invention lab led by former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold.

The company was recently chosen as a Seattle 10 startup company, featured at the GeekWire Gala at MOHAI. More on the technology in this overview from the company:

Here’s the full release:

Kymeta Corporation, a privately held company commercializing a new, innovative metamaterials-based antenna for satellite communications, announced today that it is closing a $20 million financing to continue on its successful growth trajectory. Existing Kymeta investors including Bill Gates and Lux Capital are participating in the financing.

Kymeta also announced that Nathan Kundtz, president, CTO and co-founder has been appointed CEO on an interim basis as the board of directors begins a search for a new permanent CEO as the company sets the stage for its next phase of growth.

“This is a very exciting time for our company,” said Kundtz. “World-class customer partnerships have guided our technology’s development since our founding. Those partnerships, along with the financial support of our investors, have positioned us well to execute on the promise of our technology.”

Vern Fotheringham, Kymeta’s current CEO, will step down at the end of the year.

“We are extremely grateful to Vern for his contributions to Kymeta and for building a foundation for growth and success,” said Bill Gates, investor and board member. “The board and I are incredibly optimistic and confident with Kymeta’s team, breakthrough technology and its market opportunities ahead.”

“We are impressed with Kymeta’s achievements and excited to further invest to fuel key technology, product and customer milestones in the years ahead,” said Lux Capital’s Josh Wolfe, director and investor of Kymeta.

“It has been a privilege to lead Kymeta from its earliest stages through its successful market introduction,” said Vern Fotheringham, current CEO of Kymeta. “The company is well positioned to dramatically transform the satellite communications industry and I am incredibly proud of everything the team has accomplished.”

About Kymeta Corporation

Kymeta is a pioneer in the use of patented metamaterials technology that dynamically steers antenna beams with no moving parts, resulting in flat, thin, light, and highly adaptable antennas and communication terminals. This unique capability opens numerous new opportunities in the satellite industry to provide new broadband mobile services and highly-flexible portable and fixed services to a wide range of applications. Both CNBC and MIT Technology Review recently recognized Kymeta as one of the “Top 50 Most Disruptive Technology Companies in the World.”

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