French startup Tempow has raised a $4 million funding round. Balderton Capital led the round, with C4 Ventures also participating. The company has been working on improving the Bluetooth protocol to make it more versatile.
Smartphones, speakers and connected devices all use Bluetooth in one way or another. There are only a handful of Bluetooth chipset manufacturers in the world, such as Qualcomm and Broadcom. While Bluetooth chips have become incredibly efficient as they use much less power than they used to, it’s been stagnant on the software front.
Tempow is a software company that wants to rewrite the Bluetooth stack from scratch. The company started with an audio profile.
Thanks to Tempow’s technology, you can connect a phone to multiple Bluetooth speakers at once. This is just a software improvement — it works with standard Bluetooth chipsets and all Bluetooth audio devices out there.
Lenovo liked this idea and licensed the technology for its Moto X4 handset. More than 5 million devices with Tempow’s Bluetooth stack have been sold.
With today’s funding round, the startup wants to tackle more use cases. For instance, Tempow wants to optimize the pairing process, enhance the security of the protocol and work on battery consumption. “Maybe you could pay using Bluetooth instead of NFC,” co-founder and CEO Vincent Nallatamby told me.
At the same time, the startup is negotiating with multiple manufacturers. You can expect to see Tempow’s technology in more devices in the future.
The company currently has 7 patents pending and just got its first patent last week. Eventually, Tempow thinks it can build a team of Bluetooth experts who push the protocol forward.