Ossia Hires New CEO To Help Commercialize Its Wireless Charging Technology

Originally posted on GeekWire by Taylor Soper

Mario's PicOssia has hired a new leader as the Bellevue, Wash.-based company prepares to commercialize its wireless charging technology.

Long-time tech executive Mario Obeidat is Ossia’s new CEO. He takes over for Didier Le Lannic, who joined the company this past March but is stepping down to explore other opportunities closer to his home and family in San Francisco.

Obeidat was previously vice president of licensing at Pendrell Corporation and head of telecommunications licensing at Intellectual Ventures. He’s also served as an advisor to Ossia for the past six years and is now leading the company at a critical time.

Founded in 2008, Ossia has spent nearly a decade developing its “Cota” technology that can charge electronic devices wirelessly without wires or pads. The 40-person company has raised $50 million from investors like Intel Capital, KDDI, Molex, and others.

“For me, leading Ossia is a natural extension of things I’ve done over the past 20 years: Lead technology organizations on a commercialization path,” Obeidat told GeekWire.

The Cota Tile, meant for ceilings, enables the company’s wireless charging solution. Photo via Cota.

Obeidat said Ossia is “ready to go to market.” The company recently released a reference design kit for “Cota,” allowing other companies to build the wireless technology into their own products. It is also working with other “household-name consumer electronic makers,” as Obeidat noted, to license “Cota” into products like smartphones, IoT devices, wearables, and more.

“We’re talking about a year or so until you see devices that will have ‘Cota’ technology in them,” Obeidat said.

Ossia has appeared at events like the Consumer Electronics Show — it was named a “Best of Innovation Awards Honoree” at CES last month — to show how “Cota” can charge devices wirelessly up to 20 feet away, through walls and around objects. It does this by sending out a low-power signal from a base transmitter to Cota-equipped devices.

“Ossia is fundamentally transforming the way consumers will use power,” Obeidat said. “Consumers will no longer have to be stuck next to electrical outlets to power devices. It’s a huge transformation.”

Ossia CEO Hatem Zeine with the company’s prototypes in 2014. (GeekWire file photo)

It’s been quite the journey for Ossia and its founder, Hatem Zeine, who started the company in 2008 and shifted from a CEO position to CTO last year. Zeine first showed GeekWire some of Ossia’s early prototypes in 2014.

“I want my 3-year-old to grow up and never know about charging devices,” Zeine said at the time.

Ossia is still going through the regulatory process to get its technology approved.

“Cota is inherently a very safe technology,” Obeidat said. “We’re confident we’ll be able to pass all the regulatory requirements.”

There are plenty of other companies — like uBeam and Energous, for example — also developing their own wireless charging technology. But competitors haven’t shown off their products like Ossia, Obeidat said.

“No other company has done a public demo to show that they can power a device from 20 feet away,” he noted.