News By Wire

Bristol University spin-out Forefront RF receives £6.7-million investment

Forefront RF, a fabless semiconductor company and Bristol University spin-out, has raised £6.7 million in a new funding round.
The investment was led by BGF, one of the largest and most experienced growth capital investors in the UK and Ireland, alongside existing investors Science Creates Ventures and Foresight Group.
Forefront RF was established by Dr Leo Laughlin and Julian Hildersley to make multi-band smartphones, wearables and IoT Devices simpler to design and more globally accessible. Much of the research leading up to the creation of Forefront RF was conducted at Bristol University’s Communication Systems and Networks Laboratory.
Now based in Cambridge, Forefront RF raised £1.5 million in 2021 to recruit a world-class team to accelerate the launch of its products. The initial round was led by Bristol-based Science Creates Ventures with BGF and Foresight Group also participating.
This latest round will help the company capitalise on strong industry trends and take advantage of global market dynamics to drive further growth.
Commercialising the academic research conducted at Bristol University, Forefront RF has developed a unique Adaptive Passive Cancellation technology that uses software control to enable connected devices to operate effectively across the increasingly wide range of XGen (3G to 6G) mobile telephony frequency bands, removing the need for a bank of switched SAW and BAW crystal filters. This enables manufacturers to simplify the design and deliver frequency agnostic products, whilst reducing cost and supply chain waste.
The company is led by a highly talented and specialist team. Ronald Wilting was appointed CEO in 2022, bringing 25 years’ experience in radio frequency technology, having worked in engineering, marketing, sales and leadership roles for firms including Ericsson, Qualcomm, NXP and SemiBlocks. Ronald works closely with Forefront RF’s founders Dr Leo Laughlin and Julian Hildersley to deliver on the company’s ambitious growth strategy.
They are in turn supported by experienced Chair Phil O’Donovan, co-founder and MD of CSR plc (formerly Cambridge Silicon Radio) – a multinational fabless semiconductor company which delivered 4 billion chips and became the market leader in Bluetooth chip technology before being acquired by Qualcomm for $2.5 billion in 2015.
Dr Leo Laughlin, founder and CTO of Forefront RF, remarked: “We’re delighted to receive further funding to support the delivery of the next stage of Forefront RF’s growth strategy. Forefront RF is well positioned to capitalise on strong global growth prospects, addressing an industry wide challenge with our cutting-edge technology.”
Phil O’Donovan, Chair of Forefront RF, added: “Forefront RF has built an experienced and highly specialised team to bring its pioneering technology to market. We are excited to embark on this next chapter of the company’s mission and are grateful to our investment partners for their continued support.”
Dennis Atkinson, investor at BGF, commented: “Forefront RF has developed a leading technology solution and highly compelling proposition for a rapidly growing global customer base. We look forward to continuing our work with Ronald and the talented Forefront RF team as they embark on their next stage of growth.”
Harry Destecroix, investor at Science Creates Ventures, commented: “We’re delighted with the progress Forefront RF has made since our early investment in 2021. It has been great to support the company to date and we look forward to its continued growth and success.”
Bill Yost, investor at Foresight WAE Technology Funds, commented: “Forefront RF’s technology has the potential to disrupt a significant market, and we are pleased to support the company in its continuing commercial and technical progress.”

Press release information


Image File:

LEADING THE WAY (from left): Cambridge-based Forefront RF has embarked on a new chapter of the company’s mission

Area / Region:

Notes to editors

About Forefront RF Forefront RF, a Cambridge-based fabless semiconductor company, was co-founded in 2020 by Dr Leo Laughlin and Julian Hildersley to change the way global smartphones, wearables and IoT devices are designed. Commercialising academic research from the University of Bristol, Forefront RF’s chip enables connected devices to operate across the increasingly wide range of XGen (3G to 6G) mobile telephony frequency bands. Forefront RF’s Adaptive Passive Cancellation technology redesigns the radio frequency (RF) system in a wireless enabling manufacturers to simplify the design and deliver of frequency agnostic products, whilst reducing cost and supply chain waste. About BGF BGF was set up in 2011 and has invested over £3.5bn in more than 500 companies, making it one of the most active growth capital investors in the UK and Ireland. Investing from a balance sheet of c. £2.5bn, BGF is a minority, non-controlling equity partner with a patient outlook on investments, based on shared long-term goals with the management teams it backs. BGF invests in growing businesses in the UK and Ireland through its network of 15 offices. BGF models have now been set up in Canada and Australia, with other countries evaluating the opportunity to replicate this.

Media contact

Media contact name:

Robert Stewart

Media contact business / organisation:


Media contact telephone:

0117 905 1177

Media contact email:

All done!
Thank you for subscribing.

Email Subscription