Bermai Goes Bye-Bye

On the cusp of making a major announcement of chip availability, the company’s venture capital funding was pulled, forcing the doors to close on a once-promising wireless video chip maker.

Based in Palo Alto, Calif. with a development center in Minnetonka, Minn., Bermai had spent the years since its launch in March 2001 developing wireless 5GHz 802.11a chipsets that would specifically target the home market of televisions, DVD players, set top boxes and media center PCs.

Calls to the company were not returned by press time, but a source says that the shutdown caught most of the 55-person staff completely by surprise — it had been business as usual up to this point. In fact, next week, Bermai was set to make an announcement regarding general availability of its first chipset, which would have been the first to have full support for the (currently in draft phase) 802.11e standard. 11e will have two aspects: Enhanced Distributed Channel Access (eDCA, aka WMM) and Hybrid Controlled Channel Access (HCCA, aka WMM-Scheduled Access). The chipset has been demonstrated around the world at trade shows and conferences, and the company had lined up Gemtek Technology as an original design manufacturer (ODM) .

Bermai was also part of the WWiSE group of companies offering a proposal to the 802.11n Task Group, which is tasked with creating a next generation high speed wireless standard.

There’s no word on what will happen with Bermai’s assets and intellectual property at this point.

The company was in the process of closing its series C funding round. Bermai got $12 million in series B funding last summer from Advanced Technology Ventures, Blueprint Ventures, Mobius Venture Capital, STIC Ventures, and Walden International Investment Group. Many of the same players had provided Bermai’s initial $15 million in funding. By last summer, the company had received a total of about $34 million in the time since its inception.

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