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Pinyon Technologies’ antenna points toward profitability

Pat Patera

Reno start-up company Pinyon Technologies has developed a product that users will never see but the antenna designed to improve reception for wireless communications has already attracted $1.8 million in capital to fund development.

This year, says Debashis Bagchi, president and chief executive officer, “Pinyon will go into revenue and

become cash flow positive in 2010″ as it pursues sales of the antenna to more than a dozen OEMs (original equipment manufacturers.)

Research and development work is handled at a 4,600-square-foot office and lab on Riggins Court in south Reno where Forrest Wolf, vice president of product development, polished up the patent-protected device.

It’s manufactured overseas.

Meanwhile, Gerardo Gonzalez, the company’s Texas-based managing director of sales, lives next door to Dallas Fort Worth Airport.

Selling the antenna is a challenge, he says, because it’s difficult to describe over the phone. So he flies out to prospects and gets people to use it.

But before that happens, adds Gonzalez, “People automatically try to pigeonhole our product into a certain existing facet of the industry. And, its ease of installation belies the fact that it can really deliver way beyond what they expect of performance.”

As WiFi equipment increasingly is used indoors, people want better wireless coverage in homes and workplaces, says Bagchi. Pinyon designs antennas for all wireless standards.

Unlike outdoor antennas, such as cell phone towers mounted on hilltops, says Wolf, indoor antennas get bombarded by waves that have become multiplied, bouncing off walls and ceilings, and coming from all directions to confuse the primary signal. That situation, troublesome for existing antennas, is what the Pinyon team sought to solve.

Bagchi discovered a need for the product back in 2003 while he was talking with companies about a different problem: How to improve transmission of voice, video and data.

Basing Pinyon Technologies in Reno was a natural move, as he had already become involved in a different Reno startup company while enrolled in electrical engineering classes at University of Nevada, Reno.

Pinyon Technologies’ principals, with international backgrounds, each mark 15 to 20 years in the industry.

The privately owned company has a limited number of shareholders.

While it will look to institutional investors for its next round of financing, says Bagchi, it currently seeks manufacturers sales reps, either regional or in the casino industry.

Looking forward, Bagchi points to Pinyon’s multiple fundamental patents, which “cover a variety of manifestations” and says, “There are quite a few other solutions we haven’t even tried yet. It’s a matter of getting financing.

“But right now we’re focused on the initial product, getting it to market.”