Startup funding hits $2.9B; manufacturing onshoring and fab buildout drive investments in adjacent markets.
The onshoring and buildout of dozens of fabs, many costing tens of billions of dollars, is beginning to spill over into other areas that are critical for chip manufacturing. Materials, in particular, which often gets little attention outside of chip manufacturing, witnessed a big spike in September 2022. In fact, seven materials companies covered in this report made up more than a third of the month’s total reported investments, with three of the companies garnering more than $200 million.
Other investment targets were sputtering equipment and evaporation materials for deposition, high-purity polycrystalline silicon, fluorine-containing electronic gases, and silicon carbide.
In the AI hardware arena, numerous startups are focusing on in-memory and near-memory compute, reducing the volume of data that needs to be moved back and forth between memory and processing elements. Novel architectures also are appearing, such as one that uses sparse mathematics. Most of the AI hardware companies in this report focus on edge AI and automotive.
Digital clock distribution, probe test cards, a portable test lab, and a desktop quantum computer for education also feature prominently in this look at 105 startups, which collectively raised $2.9 billion during the month.
Zhaoxin Semiconductor raised billions of yuan (CNY 1000.0M is ~$144.5M) in Series A+ funding led by Sun Rock Capital and Shanghai State-Owned Assets Management, joined by China Insurance Investment Fund, Real Power Capital, cloud computing provider Jiangsu Eazytec, and previous investors. Zhaoxin makes CPUs, GPUs, and I/O expansion chipsets for desktop PCs, laptops, all-in-ones, cloud-based terminals, and servers. Funds will be used for x86 CPU R&D. Founded in 2013, it is based in Shanghai, China.
Fremont Micro Devices (FMD) raised CNY 500.0M (~$70.5M) in pre-IPO financing led by Huaxu Investment, followed by Shenzhen Venture Capital, Yuexiu Industrial Investment Fund, and others. A fabless company, Fremont Micro Devices designs microcontrollers, power management chips, and memory chips. Its products include 8-bit and 32-bit MCUs, EEPROMs, PMICs, and NOR flash chips. It currently targets consumer, home appliances, and communications. The funding will help it expand to automotive and industrial control markets. Founded in 2005, it is based in Shenzhen, China.
Movellus closed a $23.0M Series B round from MESH, SK Hynix, existing investors Accelerate Blue Fund, Candou Ventures, Hui Capital, Intel Capital, In-Q-Tel, Michigan Capital Network, Stata Ventures, and other private investors. Movellus provides a platform to orchestrate clock distribution in SoC designs. The platform combines a clock architecture, software automation, and application-optimized IP to solve common clock distribution challenges while scaling to high-performance multi- GHz frequencies. The all-digital clock generation modules are fully synthesizable, which the company says results in a 10x area improvement over analog PLLs and scales with process technology. The intelligent clock network dynamically compensates for on-chip variations and propagation delays, lowering power consumption and simplifying timing closure. It can scale to applications ranging from ultra-low power edge AI devices to performance-centric cloud data center compute and AI. “Movellus’ clock network technology is an avenue to improve not only performance, but we also believe it will improve power and yield for memory and other complex ICs. We’re very excited to enable Movellus to accelerate the adoption of this technology,” said Heejin Chung, head of venture investment at SK Hynix. Funds will be used to expand R&D efforts and build out marketing and sales. Founded in 2014, it is based in San Jose, California, USA.
Yusur Technology raised several hundred million yuan (CNY 100.0M is ~$14.3M) in Series B funding led by Financial Street Group, joined by China Construction Bank as well as previous investors including Lingjun Investment, Halo Capital Group, and Quanzhong Investment. The startup has developed a software-defined data processing unit (DPU) for database acceleration in data centers that uses its own Kernel Processing Unit architecture. Yusur’s second-generation DPU went into production earlier this year and is expected to be released soon, and the company has begun work on its third-gen chip. Funds will be used for R&D. Founded in 2018, it is based in Beijing, China.
Sunlune raised tens of millions of dollars in Series A financing from Intel Capital. Sunlune makes 3D stacked high-throughput chips that integrate storage and processing. It targets big data and Web3 applications in data centers and cloud computing. Funds will be used for R&D, hiring, and global expansion. Based in Beijing, China, it was founded in 2009.
Codefair Semiconductor raised tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.4M) in a Series A+ round with investors including Stony Creek Capital, South China Venture Capital, and Chang’an Capital. Codefair Semiconductor makes security MPUs and MCUs for industrial applications such as industrial control, QR code readers, human-machine interfaces, industrial gateways, and access control terminals. It has products based on Arm and RISC-V architectures. Funds will be used for next-generation product development, mass production, marketing, and hiring. Based in Xiamen, China, it was founded in 2018.
LinkZill Technology raised tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.4M) in a pre-Series A round led by Apricot Capital and joined by ZhenFund. LinkZill develops thin-film transistor (TFT) semiconductor chips for high-throughput DNA synthesis, active-matrix digital microfluidics, high-throughput biochemical/photoelectric sensors, and scientific research. It also provides TFT materials and test systems. Funds will be used to promote the application of TFT semiconductor chips in the field of life sciences. Founded in 2019, it is based in Hangzhou, China.
NeoLogic received new funding from Lool Ventures and Merck’s M Ventures. NeoLogic has developed what it calls Quasi-CMOS technology that integrates standard CMOS gates/cells with reduced complexity gates/cells that it says can cut down the transistor count of digital circuits by up to 3x and result in up to 50% reduction of power dissipation as well as up to 40% area savings. The startup says it is fully compatible with the CMOS fabrication processes from 130nm to 2nm as well as common EDA tools. It has used its technology to develop a processor family optimized for cloud HPC and AI/ML workloads as well as in a range of IP including arithmetic cells and macro-cells, flip flops and registers, large crossbars, and large multiplexers. Based in Netanya, Israel, it was founded in 2021.
Evomotion raised $20.0M in Series B funding from China Merchants Capital, China Dragon Securities, and Prosperity Capital. Evomotion provides artificial intelligence internet of things (AIoT) chips as well as cloud software and AI algorithm development services. The startup’s neural processing unit (NPU) is targeted for low-power edge applications, with a particular focus on product identification in retail and grocery settings. Funds will be used for new product development and marketing. Based in Shenzhen, China, it was founded in 2015.
Eeasy Technology raised hundreds of millions of yuan (CNY 100.0M is ~$14.3M) in Series B financing led by Wens Capital and joined by Northern Light Venture Capital, Delta Capital, and others. Eeasy Technology designs computer vision SoCs primarily for surveillance, AIoT, and automotive applications. The startup says that aside from the CPU, IP in its SoC has been developed in-house, including the neural processing unit (NPU), image signal processor (ISP), and audio and video codecs. Based in Zhuhai, China, it was founded in 2016.
Witinmem Technology, also known as Witmem, raised CNY 100.0M (~$14.3M) in Series B+ funding led by Shenzhen Venture Capital, with participation by Guokai Technology Venture Investment. The startup designs low-power AI chips based on a processing-in-memory architecture using NOR flash. It currently has two generations of its chip in mass production, with a third generation expected to launch next year. It offers an integrated development tool chain and currently targets intelligent voice and wearable products. Witmem plans to expand to ultra-high-definition video, automotive, and smart city applications. Funds will be used for R&D, expanding product lines, and mass production. Founded in 2017, it is based in Beijing, China.
ZenTech, also known as Zhenyu Technology, raised $10.0M in pre-Series A funding. The startup is designing edge AI chips that combine neural network accelerators, near-memory computing, MRAM, image signal processor, and a streaming architecture. It is also developing SoCs targeting L3-L4 autonomous driving. Based in Jiaxing, China, it was founded in 2022.
Femtosense raised $8.0M in a Series A round led by Fine Structures Ventures, joined by J2 Ventures, Quest Venture Partners, Amino Capital, Sand Hill Angels, Gaingels, and SV Pacific Ventures. Femtosense designs AI processing solutions that leverage sparse mathematics. Its Sparse Processing Unit (SPU) architecture distributes memory into small banks near processing elements to improve throughput and reduce data motion. The startup says it can be scaled to match needs and constraints of any deployment environment and achieve the efficiency of an ASIC while retaining the flexibility of a general-purpose accelerator. Femtosense is initially targeting audio and video applications such as noise suppression and speech enhancement for hearing aids and earbuds. “With AI that requires less power, we can eliminate major paint points for hearing aid users by empowering tiny devices to selectively cancel noise,” said Sam Fok, Femtosense CEO. “We’ve also had growing interest from remote control companies interested in making less frustrating voice interfaces and home security companies interested in detecting bumps in the night.” It also offers software tools and ready-to-deploy neural networks. The startup’s products are expected to arrive in Q4 2022, with volume production planned for 2023. Based in San Bruno, California, USA, it was founded in 2018.
Videantis completed a multi-million Euro (€1.0M is ~$1.0M) funding round led by eCAPITAL, joined by NBank Capital and individual investor Anton Mindl. Videantis provides processor subsystem IP for AI and deep learning algorithms, multi-modal sensor data processing and fusion, and image and video coding. The subsystem includes a memory hierarchy, multiple processors, a bus fabric or network-on-chip, and various system interfaces for integration into SoC designs. The company says its processing platform scales from 1 to 256+ cores for extreme edge devices up to high-end central compute units. For automotive, the processing platform enables combining all ADAS and autonomous driving algorithms into cost-reduced single-chip solutions. It also targets mobile, consumer, and embedded markets. Aside from SIP, Videantis offers software and tools, including to partition neural networks into parallelized and optimized multicore code. Funds will be used to focus on products for the automotive market and for hiring. The company is planning for a Series B financing round in 2023. Founded in 2004, it is based in Hannover, Germany.
Jitx raised $12.0M in Series A funding led by Sequoia Capital, with participation from Y Combinator, Funders Club, and Liquid 2. Jitx offers a software platform, language, and complier that enables designers to write reusable code that can be complied into circuit board designs. The startup says its solvers automate low-level work like component selection, pin assignment, and schematic drafting, allowing users to code at a high level, quickly iterate on designs, and then use existing CAD tools to finalize placement, routing, and export fabrication data. Some founders of the company were part of the Chisel automated hardware design project at UC Berkeley. Based in San Jose, California, USA, it was founded in 2017.
Physim Electronic Technology raised tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.4M) in Series A+ funding from CasStar. Physim offers a multiphysics simulation platform that encompasses electromagnetic simulation, electrothermal simulation, DC analysis for power integrity, and heat dissipation analysis. Its solutions are applicable to chip, package, and system design. It also offers design services, including wafer-level packaging, test boards, advanced packaging, and board-level hardware. Funds will be used for hiring, industrial integration, and merging or acquiring new firms. Founded in 2019, it is based in Shanghai, China.
Shenzhen JLC Electronics raised over CNY 900.0M (~$132.3M) in equity financing led by CMG-SDIC Capital, joined by C&D Emerging Investments and Eastern Bell Capital. JLC provides PCB and PCBA manufacturing services, focusing on R&D, sampling, and small batch quantities. It also offers component procurement, SMT processing, CNC machining, and 3D printing. Founded in 2006, it is based in Shenzhen, China.
Creative Coatings raised 2300.0M yen (~$16.0M) in funding that included Moon Ventures. The company makes multilayer ceramic capacitor (MLCC) external electrode coating equipment and low temperature atomic layer deposition (ALD) equipment. Funds will be used for R&D and establishment of an overseas factory. Founded in 2017, it is based in Tokyo, Japan.
Atlant 3D Nanosystems raised $15.0M in funding led by West Hill Capital. Atlant 3D offers an atomic layer advanced manufacturing and rapid prototyping platform based on the company’s hybrid Microreactor Selective Area Direct Atomic Processing (μSADALP), which involves the sequential deposition of gasses for atomically precise patterning of materials. The system enables conformal printing of different materials on various substrates, along with selective patterning on flat, corrugated, and porous surfaces. It can be applied to devices such as MEMS and integrated sensors, microfluidics and lab-on-chip, RF devices, optical and photonic devices, quantum devices, and energy-harvesting/storage devices. Founded in 2018, it is based in Kongens Lyngby, Denmark.
Nuburu received over $5.0M in convertible promissory notes. Nuburu provides high-power, high-performance blue laser systems for welding copper, aluminum, and dissimilar metals. Along with applications including industrial, large-scale welding and additive manufacturing, the company says it is good for fast void- and spatter-free welding for consumer electronics and batteries. The company will use the funds to maintain its investment in its next-generation AI product line and to pursue new technology development prior to its scheduled merger with SPAC Tailwind Acquisition Corp., which will take the company public. Founded in 2015, it is based in Centennial, Colorado, USA.
NaDing New Material received tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.4M) in angel funding from Addor Capital. NaDing New Material has developed nanomaterial dispersion and coating technology for PCBs and packaging, which it says can reduce the water and power consumption of the traditional copper deposition process. Based in Suzhou, China, it was founded in 2022.
New Dimension Micro-Nano Technology received tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.4M) in angel financing led by Qianrong Holdings. The startup is developing wafer-level nanoimprinting technology. Based in Suzhou, China, it was founded in 2022.
Tota Intelligent Technology received pre-Series A funding led by Addor Capital. The startup offers computer integrated manufacturing (CIM) software for semiconductor manufacturing, packaging, and testing. Its software can be used in 12-inch fabs, and the company also offers automated materials handling systems and robots. Based in Shanghai, China, it was founded in 2017.
Leader-Tech Semiconductor raised CNY 700.0M (~$98.8M) in a Series A+ round led by Guangdong Macao Semiconductor Industry Investment, Guangzhou Industrial Investment Group, and Goldstone Investment, joined by other investors including Dening Capital and Qianhai Great Wall Fund. Leader-Tech develops chip-on-film (COF) packaging substrates for LED displays. COF enables mounting of a chip on a flexible circuit. Funds will be used for R&D and expanding production capacity. Based in Jiangsu, China, it was founded in 2017.
SunRay Scientific raised $2.5M from Tech Council Ventures, JumpStart NJ Angel Network, Golden Seeds Ventures, SoundBoard Venture Fund, Westchester Angels, Tidal River, Broad Street Angels, Harvard Business School Alumni, Delaware Crossing Investor Group, and the Angel Investor Forum. SunRay makes conductive adhesives and interconnect solutions for electronic packaging, including conductive epoxies, inks, and encapsulants. The company’s anisotropic conductive adhesive can be applied without pressure and cured with low-temperature heat or with UV in a magnetic field to create columns with electrical and thermal interconnection in the Z-axis, while maintaining electrical insulation in the X-Y plane. It can be used on both rigid and flexible substrates. Funds will be used for hiring, production equipment, and expanding its patent portfolio. Founded in 2012, it is based in Eatontown, New Jersey, USA.
EPS Technology drew tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.4M) in a Series A round that included Zhengqi Holdings and Zhongxin Venture Capital. EPS makes BT substrate materials and ABF films for packaging. Its products are used in miniLED and microLED display substrates as well as IC packaging such as BGA, CSP, FCCSP, and FCBGA. Founded in 2015, it is based in Shenzhen, China.
Lumafield raised $35.0M in a Series B round led by Spark Capital, with participation from existing investors Lux Capital, Kleiner Perkins, DCVC, and Future Shape. Lumafield makes X-ray CT machines for inspection in product development and industrial manufacturing. The CT scanners capture a series of two-dimensional X-ray images from different angles, then reconstruct them into a 3D model using software. Its X-ray CT inspection is suitable for a wide range of products and industries, including consumer electronics assembly checks and failure analysis, as well as battery inspection. Founded in 2019, it is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
Probe Test Solutions Limited (PTSL) raised a $30.0M investment from Tikehau Capital. The company makes automated test equipment (ATE) hardware, including vertical probe cards, cantilever probe cards, ATE stiffeners and test fixtures, high-performance test sockets, and interface products. PTSL also provides services, including design of custom semiconductor ATE probe cards and load boards as well as turnkey solutions. “This partnership coupled with the financial investment allows us to accelerate our technology innovation and strengthens our ability to make significant Capex investments while also considering acquisitions within the semiconductor industry,” said Jordan Mackellar, CEO of PTSL. Funds will also support sustainability efforts. Founded in 2009, it is based in Glasgow, Scotland, UK.
Liquid Instruments raised $28.5M in Series B funding led by Acorn Capital and joined by new investors Lockheed Martin Ventures and Powerhouse Ventures, as well as existing investors ANU Connect Ventures, MA Growth Ventures, Significant Capital Ventures, and Boman Enterprises. Liquid Instruments makes software-defined test and measurement devices that use FPGAs to combine multiple instruments into one. Its platform includes oscilloscope, programmable power supply, PID controller, digital logic analyzer, arbitrary waveform generator, data logger, spectrum analyzer, and more. The company’s offerings range from portable devices aimed at engineering education to a more advanced device aimed at research and professional engineering that allows users to run and connect multiple instruments at the same time for a customized test system. Funds will be used to accelerate growth plans, expand its product line, and introduce services that connect lab measurements directly to the cloud. Founded in 2014, it is based in Canberra, Australia.
Boardstone Intelligence Technology received tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.4M) in pre-Series A funding from Shenzhen Capital Group, China Prosperity Capital, Cash Capital, and Fusheng Capital. Boardstone Intelligence provides 3D visual inspection systems for consumer electronics, automotive, and semiconductor industries. The company currently offers general-purpose microscopic 3D topography measurement systems, white light interference detection equipment, and computational phase 3D measurement systems. Funds will be used for product development, marketing, and hiring. Based in Shenzhen, China, it was founded in 2018.
Vomma Technology drew tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.4M) in pre-Series A+ funding from Dongrui Investment. Vomma develops 3D light field cameras for defect inspection in BGA packages, wirebonds, and PCBs, as well as in OLED screens and CPI films for mobile devices. It says its technology can also be used to optimize VR screens by imitating the human eye to measure the comfort and virtual image surface distance. Funds will be used R&D, hiring, and marketing. Founded in 2019, it is based in Shanghai, China.
Vital Thin Film Materials (VTFM) raised CNY 4500.0M (~$633.9M) in Series B financing led by CICC Capital, joined by China Electronics Technology Fund Management, SDIC, Minmetals Development, Greater Bay Area Homeland Investment, China Merchant Securities Capital, Gree Electric, Huafa Group, Morgan Stanley China Equity Investment, Industrial Bank Group, and others. VTFM produces and recycles sputtering targets and evaporation materials for physical vapor deposition. Products include high-purity metals, alloys, and ceramics for applications including display, photovoltaic, semiconductor, LED, data storage, and optics. Started in 2015 as a joint venture between Vital Materials and Unicore, it became a wholly owned subsidiary of Vital Materials in 2017. It is based in Guangzhou, China.
Lihao Semiconductor Materials closed its Series B funding at CNY 2200.0 (~$307.4M) with investors including Changjiang Securities Innovation Investment, Oceanpine Capital, V Fund, Harvest Capital, Zhejiang United Investment Group, China-Belgium Direct Equity Investment Fund, China-US Green Fund, and existing shareholders IDG Capital, Zhejiang Chint Electrics, and Jolmo Capital. Lihao Semiconductor manufactures high-purity polycrystalline silicon for photovoltaics and semiconductor chips. Funds will be used for R&D and the second phase of construction on its production facility, with the goal of producing 200,000 tons of material annually. Based in Xining, China, it was founded in 2021.
Fujian Deer Technology raised CNY 2036.0M (~$290.5M) in pre-IPO financing from Anhui Transportation Holding Group, Qinchuang Bole, Turing PE, Meiya Wutong, Guangzhou Zhidian Network Technology, and Triniti Capital. Deer Technology makes fluorine-containing electronic gases, electronic wet chemicals, high-purity reagents, and other fluorine-containing materials used in the manufacturing of semiconductors, LED displays, optical fibers, and photovoltaics. Based in Fujian, China, it was founded in 2014.
iSabers Materials raised nearly CNY 200.0M (~$28.6M) in a Series A++ round from Beijing Integrated Circuit Advanced Chip Fund, SunGrow Power Supply, Beijing Futian Industrial Investment Holding Group, CCB Trust, and Wofo Capital. iSabers Materials makes silicon carbide (SiC) substrates for advanced packaging and heterogenous integration. Funds will be used for developing new production lines. Founded in 2020, it is based in Beijing, China.
Kiselkarbid i Stockholm AB (KISAB) raised €7.5M (~$7.6M) in funding led by Fairpoint Capital with participation from existing investors, including Industrifonden, Ingka GreenTech, and LPE. KISAB manufactures silicon carbide (SiC) wafers. The startup says its Fast Sublimation Growth Process – Monocrystalline (FSGP-M) technology enables growth of virtually defect free SiC wafers. It currently offers 6-inch n-type SiC substrates and plans to produce 8-inch wafers soon. “We have recently started to sample our wafers to customers and will now be able to ramp up production to help our customers produce higher quality products at higher yields,” said Johan Ekman, CEO and founder of KISAB. Founded in 2017, it is based in Kista, Sweden.
Nanovate New Materials raised millions of yuan (~CNY1.0M is ~$0.1M) in angel funding from Zhengwei Group. The startup makes functional electronic materials such as high-performance conductive pastes, resistive pastes, and electronic packaging pastes. Based in Nanjing, China, it was founded in 2021.
Opsydia raised new funding from Parkwalk Advisors, Oxford Sciences Enterprises, and Foresight Group. Opsydia has a technology that places unique identifiers not visible to the naked eye on and beneath the surface of diamonds and other gemstones for identification and traceability. Funds will be used to expand R&D into diamond-based electronics and diamond-based quantum solutions. A spin out from the University of Oxford in 2017, it is based in Begbroke, England, UK.
Ucun Technology raised tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.4M) in Series B funding led by Addor Capital. The startup develops SPI NOR flash memory. It is also working on in-memory computing chips with a NOR flash memory architecture. Founded in 2018, it is based in Nanjing, China.
Yuxin Semiconductor (YXSC) received tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.4M) in pre-Series A funding from Ruiyue Investment Holding Group. Yuxin Semiconductor makes storage products, including PPI NAND, SPI NAND, embedded storage (eMMC/eMCP), and SSDs for applications including smartphones, tablets, PCs, and servers. It also makes linear voltage regulator chips and switching DC buck converters. Funds will be used for R&D. Founded in 2019, it is based in Wuhan, China.
Cimo Microelectronics received over CNY 100.0M (~$14.3M) in a Series A round that included Eight Roads Capital, Northern Light Venture Capital, Flyfot Ventures, Junwei Venture, AccoTest, Walden International, Gaorong Capital, GSR Ventures, See Fund, 3Peak, Oriza Holdings, ZGC Science City, Innolight, and Fidelity Growth Partners. Cimo Microelectronics designs high-performance analog signal chain chips, analog-to-digital/digital-to-analog converters (ADC/DAC), amplifiers, and high-precision reference sources for industrial applications. Funds will be used for hiring, mass production, and new product development. Based in Beijing, China, it was founded in 2021.
Silicon Innovation, also known as Dianke Xingtuo, raised over CNY 100.0M (~$14.3M) in a pre-Series A round led by FutureX Capital, Glory Ventures, and Xingwang Investment, with other investors joining. The startup offers analog and mixed-signal chips, including clocks, interfaces, and power management. Among its products is a 10-channel output clock buffer chip that supports the 32Gbps PCIe5.0 specification, a spread spectrum clock generator, and a retimer that also supports PCIe 5.0. It mainly targets the data center and server market. Based in Chengdu, China, it was founded in 2019.
Jariet Technologies received $7.0M in strategic financing from Renesas Electronics. Jariet is a designer of ultra-high-speed data converters and RF products, including analog-to-digital converters (ADCs), digital-to-analog converters (DACs), direct sampling RF and microwave transceivers, and mixed-signal multi-chip modules. It targets next-generation communication networks such as cellular connectivity and satellite communications. “In Jariet, we saw a natural synergy with our RF, timing and power technology product lines that will enable Renesas to accelerate development of a complete wideband RF transceiver solution,” said Sailesh Chittipeddi, executive vice president & general manager of the IoT and Infrastructure Business Unit at Renesas. “Gaining access to Jariet’s expansive analog and mixed-signal technology expertise will allow us to field RF front-end reference designs that meet the future requirements of 5G wireless infrastructure and high-performance Satcom applications.” A spinoff from Semtech’s defense and microwave business in 2015, it is based in Redondo Beach, California, USA.
ASL Technology, also known as Jirui Zhiyuan, raised Series B financing. The startup makes mixed-signal interface chips and display controllers including HDMI, Display Port, USB Type C, and MIPI. Founded in 2019, it is based in Xiamen, China.
Suzhou Powerlink Microelectronics (PMicro) raised new funding from investors including Oriza Holdings and Leader Venture Capital. The company makes near-field communication (NFC) chips, 2.4G radio frequency chips, MCUs, and power management ICs for applications such as intelligent lighting, small smart home appliances, and automotive. Founded in 2010, it is based in Suzhou, China.
Morse Micro raised AUD $140.0M (~$94.9M) in Series B funding led by MegaChips Corporation, with participation from existing investors including Blackbird Ventures, Main Sequence Ventures, Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Skip Capital, Uniseed, SpringCapital, individual investors Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull, and others. Morse Micro is a fabless company developing Wi-Fi HaLow SoCs and modules comprising radio, PHY, and MAC as well as an optional Host Applications Processor. The startup says its IEEE 802.11ah compliant devices provide Wi-Fi range extending more than 1 km from the access point by using lower frequencies that better penetrate walls and other obstacles. It targets ultra-low power, long reach IoT applications. MegaChips will manufacture Morse Micro’s chips and also provide quality assurance, sales support, and new distribution channels for the East Asia region. The two companies will also engage in joint sales and promotion activities. Funds will be used for expanding the company’s offerings and accelerating its go-to-market strategy. Founded in 2016, it is based in Surry Hills, Australia.
Unicomsemi raised CNY 120.0M (~$16.9M) in Series B+ financing from Sunic Capital, Hiway Capital, and others. The startup makes wireless and wired communications chips for IoT devices, including Wi-SUN, Homeplug GreenPHY, and G3-PLC. Founded in 2020, it is based in Hangzhou, China.
Starshine Semiconductor received hundreds of millions of yuan (CNY 100.0M is ~$14.3M) in funding from An Xin Capital, Walden International, and others. Starshine Semiconductor develops RF front-end filters and modules, including SAW, TC-SAW, and BAW filters, duplexer, quadplexer, and other products. It primarily focuses on mid- to high-end products for markets such as 5G communications and IoT. It has several chips in mass production. Founded in 2022, it is based in Wenzhou, China.
Chengdu SiCore Semiconductor raised over CNY 100.0M (~$14.3M) in Series C funding that included Fortune Capital. The startup designs millimeter wave RF and microwave ICs, components, and system test solutions with products including voltage-controlled oscillators, frequency converters, and analog phase shifters. It targets radar and communications. Funds will be used for R&D, marketing, and expansion of test production lines. Founded in 2017, it is based in Chengdu, China.
Ancora Semiconductor raised NT$456.0M (~$14.7M) in strategic financing from ROHM Semiconductor, Sino-American Silicon, uPI Semiconductors, and Delta Electronics. Ancora is a fabless company focusing on gallium nitride (GaN) power transistor devices, including discrete components, system in package (SiP), and system on chip (SoC) for consumer electronics, telecom, and automotive applications. Funds will be used to accelerate GaN development efforts. Founded in 2022 as a spin out from Delta Electronics, it is based in Taoyuan, Taiwan.
Basic Semiconductor raised hundreds of millions of yuan (CNY 100.0M is ~$14.3M) in Series C4 financing that included Guohua Investment, Virtue Capital, Asia Green Fund, and Etown Capital. Basic Semiconductor designs and manufactures silicon carbide power devices, including Schottky diodes, planar and trench MOSFET, and 10kV PiN diodes. It also offers 100/150mm SiC epitaxial wafers and manufacturing services. Funds will be used for R&D, increased manufacturing capabilities, and expansion into electric vehicle and photovoltaic markets. Founded in 2016, it is based in Shenzhen, China.
Acsion Technology drew tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.4M) in Series A financing from Dongda Capital and Nanjing Innovation Capital Group. Acsion offers power management chips for automotive electronics, computer power supplies, and industrial and commercial-grade high-power power supplies. Funds will be used in R&D, increasing production, and marketing. Based in Nanjing, China, it was founded in 2019.
Chengdu Water Core Electronic Technology, also known as Merchip Micro, raised tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.4M) in pre-Series A funding from Baseus Technology and others. The startup makes digital power chips, including DC/DC, AC/DC, inverter, and multi-purpose power management SoCs for consumer electronics, industrial applications, and automotive. Founded in 2020, it is based in Chengdu, China.
Daanaa Resolution received a CAD$0.3M (~$0.2M) grant from Innovate BC. Daanaa develops chip-based wireless power modules that transfer power through electric and magnetic fields with an optional data layer. Each unit can act as both a transmitter and receiver, transmit to multiple devices, and work through wood, concrete, and plastics. The grant will help the company advance its technology for use in solar panels, which it says will increase output power and data monitoring while and decreasing cost and complexity. Founded in 2018, it is based in Vancouver, Canada.
2Pai Semiconductor received Series B funding that included Xiaomi Changjiang Industrial Fund Partnership and Baic Capital. 2Pai Semiconductor makes digital isolator technology that uses capacitor separation theory rather than traditional modulation demodulation technology to transmit signals, which the company says improves performance. It offers a range of interface devices for common protocols, including isolated and non-isolated CAN, isolated 485, and isolated I2C, gate drivers, and isolation amplifiers for current sampling. The startup targets applications such as industrial control, automotive, digital power supplies, and smart appliances. Founded in 2017, it is based in Shanghai, China.
Chip Hope Micro-Electronics closed a Series D round that included Cowin Capital. The company focuses on power management chips, including high-voltage BCD and other various high-voltage, low-voltage, and high-current control chips such as synchronous rectifiers and forward and flyback synchronous rectifier controllers. It targets applications such as photovoltaic energy storage, smart home appliances, cloud computing servers, power equipment, rail transit, robots, charging piles, industrial control, and medical equipment. Founded in 2012, it is based in Shenzhen, China.
SinoGaN Semiconductor Technology raised pre-Series A funding. The start makes gallium nitride (GaN) wafers and chips. Its products include AlGaN UVA, UVB, UVC, and other full band UV-LED products and GaN-on-Si epitaxial wafers for power electronics and RF electronic devices, as well as technical services such as epitaxial wafer customization, chip OEM services, and semiconductor test and analysis. Founded in 2020, it is based in Beijing, China.
Luxic Technology raised hundreds of millions of yuan (CNY 100.0M is ~$14.3M) in pre-A and Series A financing with investors including Source Code Capital, China Fortune-Tech Capital, Xinyang Venture Capital, Delian Capital, and Legend Star. Luxic develops optoelectronic chips for high-speed optical communication with products including transimpedance amplifier, clock and data recovery circuit, and HDMI chips. Aside from optical communication, the company is also looking into opportunities in automotive lidar. Funds will be used for R&D, tapeout, and mass production. Based in Suzhou, China, it was founded in 2020.
Scintil Photonics completed its second round of funding, adding new investment from Applied Ventures and Industrial Technology Investment Corporation (ITIC-Taiwan). A fabless company, Scintil Photonics designs optical communications for high-speed system and chip interconnections. Its Augmented Silicon Photonic Integrated Circuit product is a single-chip solution consisting of active and passive components where III-V optical amplifiers and lasers are integrated on the backside of advanced silicon photonic circuits. It is manufactured with standard silicon photonics processes available at commercial CMOS foundries. The startup says all-in-one integration of amplifiers and lasers enables ultra-high-speed communications from 800 Gbit/sec to 3,200 Gbit/sec with very compact chips. “Scintil Photonics is very happy to welcome Applied Ventures and ITIC. By teaming with such strong semiconductor industry players we can access the very robust industrial ecosystem in the Americas and Asia-Pacific. Their support will also bring great opportunities to deploy products to customers in those regions,” said Sylvie Menezo, president and CEO of Scintil Photonics. Founded in 2018 based on research from CEA-Leti, it is based in Grenoble, France, and Toronto, Canada. It has raised €19M ($19M) to date.
SpinQ Technology raised nearly CNY 100.0M (~$14.3M) in pre-Series B funding that included Shenzhen Angel FOF and Ruixin Shunying Investment Fund. SpinQ develops desktop and portable nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) quantum computers for education and entry-level quantum computing research. The startup’s 2 to 3 qubit NMR computers utilize nuclear spin, which is controlled and measured with RF pulses. SpinQ says its systems can introduce students from elementary school through university to the basic principles of quantum computing, algorithm design, and programming. The startup is also developing EDA software for creation of quantum computing circuits, a superconducting quantum computer, a cloud platform to link classical and quantum systems, and SaaS offerings for chemical and financial industries. Based in Shenzhen, China, it was founded in 2018.
Classiq expanded its Series B funding by $13.0M with investment from Awz Ventures, bringing the round to $49M. Classiq offers automation and synthesis software to aid in the development of quantum algorithms, aiming to make knowledge of the underlying gate level details unnecessary by turning high-level functional models into optimized quantum circuits for a range of hardware and cloud providers. The startup plans to use the Series B proceeds for expanding its R&D team and opening new offices. Based in Tel Aviv, Israel, and founded in 2020, it has raised $63M to date.
Kipu Quantum emerged from stealth with a €3.0M (~$3.0M) funding round led by Quantonation, Entrada Ventures, and First Momentum Ventures. Kipu Quantum offers quantum computing solutions using co-designed quantum hardware architectures with tailored application and hardware-specific algorithms tuned to a customer’s specific needs. “There is no doubt about the massive economic potential of quantum to large corporates, but so far the combination of current hardware featuring less than 500 qubits with mainly hardware-agnostic algorithms fails to deliver any meaningful advantage over other solutions,” said Daniel Volz, founder and CEO of Kipu. It will use the funds to design quantum computing products for different industry verticals such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals, optimization, finance, and logistics. Based in Karlsruhe and Berlin, Germany, it was founded in 2021.
QuantWare received a €1.1M (~$1.1M) subsidy from Quantum Delta NL. QuantWare designs and fabricates scalable and customizable superconducting processors for quantum computers. It has released 25-qubit and 5-qubit superconducting processors targeted at research institutions and universities. The company said it has 99.9% single-qubit gate fidelities for manageable error rates. It is also developing a low-noise traveling wave parametric amplifier. Funds will be used to conduct research on fabrication methods using novel materials that could increase the performance of its quantum processing units (QPUs). Founded in 2021 as a spin out from TU Delft and QuTech, it is based in Delft, the Netherlands.
QphoX received a €0.6M (~$0.6M) grant from Quantum Delta NL. QphoX is working on what it calls a quantum modem transducer to connect multiple quantum computers at room temperature through optical interconnects. The transducer is based on coupling microwave and optical photons through a mechanical intermediary resonator, which the company says allows for low-loss and high-fidelity transmission of quantum states. The funds will be used to develop new forms of interconnects for networking quantum processors. Based in Delft, the Netherlands, QphoX was founded in 2021 as a spin out from TU Delft, where the underlying research was developed.
Quantum Delta NL awarded a total of €7.9M (~$7.9M) to ten quantum computing companies: Appsilon Enterprise, Delft Circuits, Fermioniq, Leiden Space Imaging, Onnes Technologies, Orange Quantum Systems, Qblox, and a quantum cryptography lab. Two companies mentioned earlier in this report, QphoX and QuantWare, also received funding as part of the program. Funding ranges from €0.5M to €2.0M for the companies to undertake projects that will establish products and services needed to further develop quantum technology and derived products in the value chain. “Not enough professional venture capital is available for promising quantum companies, so it’s essential that we support this new market with public money such as this grant,” said Constantijn van Oranje, special envoy of Techleap.nl, a Dutch startup program.
Prophesee closed its Series C round at €50.0M (~$49.4M) with investment from Aramco’s Prosperity7 Ventures, Sinovation Ventures, Xiaomi, and others. Prophesee develops visual sensor hardware and software that utilize neuromorphic techniques to mimic the way that the human brain and eye work. The startup says its event-driven image sensor technology has ultra-low latency, robustness to challenging lighting conditions, energy efficiency, and low data rate and can be used in a range of applications in industrial automation, IoT, consumer electronics, and surveillance that require real-time video data analysis. Funds will be used to accelerate development and commercialization of its next generation hardware and software products. Founded in 2014 and based in Paris, France, it has raised €127M to date.
Camsense Technology raised nearly CNY 100.0M (~$14.3M) in Series C1 funding led by Tongge Venture Capital, joined by HTC Ventures and Smartcitysz. Cansense makes positioning lidar for consumer products like AR/VR headsets and household robot vacuums, as well as industrial and medical applications. It also develops image processing chips and software. Based in Shenzhen, China, it was founded in 2014.
Bitsensing raised $10.0M in Series A funding from AF WPartners, ARGES Private Equity, Mando Corporation, and others. Bitsensing makes 4D imaging radar for automotive and autonomous driving as well as intelligent traffic management using a 24GHz radar with integrated AI perception. The company is now expanding into optimizing radars for indoor and wellness usage, including sleep analysis and early-stage prediction of illness through accumulated sleep data. Founded in 2018 and based in Seoul, South Korea, it has raised $21M to date.
ElFys raised €3.0M (~$3.0M) in new funding led by Samsung Venture Investment Corporation along with Voima Ventures and previous investors. ElFys makes photodetectors. The company says its photodetectors have nearly ideal photoresponse from 200 nm to 950 nm, with ≥ 96% external quantum efficiency and a wide sensing angle. It primarily targets health monitoring and wearables, spectroscopy, and X-ray imaging. Founded in 2017, it is based in Espoo, Finland.
Aria Sensing raised €0.5M (~$0.5M) in funding from LIFTT. Aria Sensing develops Ultra-Wideband (UWB) radar sensors to detect the movement and the presence of people. It targets applications such as medical monitoring, consumer electronics, IoT, and automotive in-cabin monitoring. Funds will be used to develop and commercialize a new generation of sensors by the first half of 2023. The new generation is expected to reduce energy consumption and enable additional features, including monitoring the vital signs of several people at the same time, multidimensional gesture-recognition, and the distinction between different people inside vehicles, even through obstacles. Founded in 2017 as part of radio frequency IC and system consulting company Cover Sistemi, it is based in Brescia, Italy.
Rokid raised $40.0M in funding from online game company NetDragon Websoft. The company produces AR/XR glasses for industrial and commercial markets, including an explosion-proof AR headband compatible with safety helmets. Other areas it targets include training and virtual exhibits. The company also plans to offer AR sunglasses that dock with a smartphone for the consumer market. Based in Hangzhou, China, it was founded in 2014.
Varjo raised $40.0M in Series D funding from return investors including EQT Ventures, Atomico, Volvo Car Tech Fund, and Lifeline Ventures, and new strategic investors including Mirabaud and Foxconn. Varjo makes VR/XR hardware and software for professional and enterprise applications, such as training pilots and plant operators, product design, and research. The company claims its headsets can provide human-eye resolution with a wide field of view and can include hand tracking and lidar for mixed reality. Funds will be used for its R&D cloud services. Founded in 2016, it is based in Helsinki, Finland.
HaptX received $23.0M in strategic financing led by human-machine interface company AIS Global and Crescent Cove Advisors, with participation from Verizon Ventures, Mason Avenue Investments, and Taylor Frigon Capital Partners. HaptX offers haptic feedback gloves for use with virtual reality headsets and robotics that displace the user’s skin the way a real object would, with more than 130 points of tactile feedback per hand. Target applications include training and industrial design. Funds will be used for commercialization of next-generation products. Based in Redmond, Washington, USA, it was founded in 2012 and has raised over $58M to date.
Brelyon raised $15.0M in a Series A round led by Lockheed Martin Ventures and the MIT-affiliated E14 Fund with participation from Corning Incorporated, LG Technology Ventures, Universal Display Corporation’s UDC Ventures, and Franklin Templeton. Brelyon has developed a desktop monitor that uses light field technology and wavefront engineering to create a panoramic field of view display with true optical depth layers, which it says can give the experience of VR without a headset. The startup says its technology can be used for immersive applications like gaming, simulation, virtual offices, and events. “The rise of GPUs and efficient graphic neural nets in computer graphics is enabling an array of computational optics in displays and making them more accessible to the mass market. This opens the possibility to provide immersive services far superior to 32″ desktop monitors and headsets today,” said Barmak Heshmat, CEO and founder of Brelyon. Founded in 2019 as a spin-off from MIT, it is based in San Mateo, California, USA.
Hanhua Semiconductors raised hundreds of millions of yuan (CNY 100.0M is ~$14.3M) in Series B funding that included Highlight Capital. The company makes gallium nitride (GaN) epitaxial materials for microLED displays, UV LEDs, microfluidic chips, and power electronics. Founded in 2017, it is based in Suzhou, China.
Qidi Technology raised CNY 100.0M (~$14.4M) in angel financing led by Joy Capital, joined by Matrix Partners China and Meridian Capital. Qidi is developing smart glasses for daily wear. It plans to release its first product in the first half of next year. Based in Shanghai, China, it was founded in 2021.
Xianghang Technology raised CNY 100.0M (~$14.3M) in Series A funding led by Honggu Cluster Technology Group. The company develops interactive hologram technology that uses a microchannel matrix optical waveguide plate and light field reconstruction to allow users to manipulate and interact with holographic images. Applications it is targeting include automotive smart cockpits and contactless buttons and terminals for public spaces. Founded in 2016, it is based in Shanghai, China.
Raysolve raised $10.0M in pre-Series A+ and pre-A++ financing led by Inno-chip and AAC Technologies respectively, along with existing investor Gaorong Capital. Raysolve is developing a full-color micro-LED micro-display using large-size epitaxial wafer bonding. The startup says its quantum dot technology enables single-chip displays for smaller and simpler optical modules. The company particularly targets augmented reality glasses, but says it also has applications in heads-up displays, micro-projectors, 3D printing, and maskless lithography. Funds will be used for R&D, hiring, and preparing for small-scale mass production. Based in Suzhou, China, it was founded in 2019.
SeeTrue Technologies raised €0.5M (~$0.5M) in seed funding from Redstone Nordics, StartUp Fund Joensuu, Business Finland, and company owners. The startup produces eye tracking technology for VR and AR equipment in health care, industry, education, and entertainment. It says its technology can be used in mission-critical environments as well as consumer-level applications. SeeTrue co-founder Roman Bednarik gives an example of a possible use for the technology: “In the cab of a forest harvester, the operator’s hands are occupied at the controls of the device – but what if we can use smart eye tracking sensors? We would get a better idea of when the driver wants to do something, when they are ready to act, if they are tired, and so on. This increases both machine and operator productivity.” Founded in 2018, it is based in Joensuu, Finland.
Applied EV received strategic investment from Suzuki Motor Corporation. The startup offers what it calls Digital Backbone software for autonomous driving applications that it says enables electric vehicles of all shapes and sizes to run entirely on software. It claims the system simplifies vehicle architecture, removes hundreds of components, reduces production costs, increases efficiency, and makes the entire ecosystem more sustainable. Based in Melbourne, Australia, it was founded in 2015.
Cambricon SingGo received investment from Robert Bosch Venture Capital. It is developing AI chips for ADAS and autonomous driving with a focus on both high TOPS and the programming flexibility to adapt to continually changing algorithms in future driving systems. Established by AI chip company Cambricon in 2021, it is based in Nanjing, China.
Horizon Robotics received strategic investment from Chery Automobile. Horizon Robotics makes AI chips for L2-L4 ADAS and autonomous driving. The company says its third-generation chip, Journey 5, uses its Brain Processing Unit (BPU) accelerator architecture with highly parallel AI processing, systolic array of tensor cores for efficient CNN operations, and near-compute memory to offer up to 128 TOPS while consuming 30W in typical ADAS/AD usage. Funds will be used for R&D and mass production. Chery plans to use Horizon’s Journey 3 chips in its upcoming automotive platform that supports assisted driving functions in high-speed and urban areas, planned for launch in 2023. Based in Beijing, China, it was founded in 2015.
iMotion Automotive Technology, also known as Zhixing Technology, received strategic funding from automotive ADAS company HL Klemove. iMotion designs and manufactures factory-installed ADAS and autonomous driving systems that include hardware, software, cameras, domain controllers, and system integration verification. It currently has L2 and L2++ solutions for assisted driving, smart parking, and L4 unmanned driving in low speed closed areas such as industrial parks. Funds will be used for R&D, market development, and capacity expansion. Based in Suzhou, China, it was founded in 2016.
Unity Drive Innovation Technology raised new funding led by Nanshan Zhanxin Investment. Unity Drive makes low-speed autonomous vehicles for applications including logistics and delivery, mobile kiosk, patrol, street sweeping, and shuttles in areas such as ports, campuses, industrial parks, and tourist destinations. Funds will be used for further product iteration, market expansion, and hiring. Founded in 2018, it is based in Shenzhen, China.
Suzhou Sizhi Technology, also known as SiPower Semi, raised CNY 110.0M (~$15.4M) in angel and angel+ funding, which included Linxin Investment, Shang Qi Capital, Inno-chip, and Blue Lake Capital. The startup makes power modules for electric and new energy vehicles. Funds will be used in technology development, construction of a mass production line, and creation of a vehicle-grade test and failure analysis laboratory. Based in Suzhou, China, it was founded in 2021.
Grecon Semi raised nearly CNY 100.0M (~$14.3M) in Series A financing led by Chenfeng Capital. Grecon Semi offers automotive-grade power semiconductors, including single-tube IGBTs, integrated IGBT modules, and silicon carbide (SiC) modules. It also offers infrared sensor chips. Funds will be used to build new vehicle-grade IGBT module production lines, mass production and delivery of IGBT modules, and R&D of new products such as SiC modules. Based in Shanghai, China, it was founded in 2018.
ChipON raised Series C2 funds from investors including FAW Investment and ZJ Innopark. ChipON develops 8-bit and 32-bit MCUs based on the company’s KungFu architecture, which uses a simplified instruction set. Applications include automotive, industrial, home appliance, and IoT applications. Funding will be used for development of chips for automotive engine and domain controllers as well as collaborating with carmakers on a full-stack ecosystem. Founded in 2012, it is based in Shanghai, China.
Inchtek raised new funding from CLP Fund, GSR Ventures, and Zhongguancun Development Group. The startup focuses on automotive security, providing secure gateways and an SDK for connected vehicles. Inchtek plans to launch middleware that can be integrated into the ECU/DCU to provide security capabilities including data encryption, authentication, attack protection, intrusion detection, and security audits. Funds will be used for R&D, product iteration, hiring, and marketing. Founded in 2020, it is based in Beijing, China.
Leadrive Technology raised Series C funding from Legend Capital and others. Leadrive makes high-performance IGBT power modules and main-drive dual-motor controller products for electric vehicles, including heavy-duty vehicles. Funds will be used for construction of an IGBT/SiC power module packaging production line and R&D for the next generation of SiC power modules and electronic control products. Based in Shenzhen, China, it was founded in 2017.
Horizon New Energy Technology raised CNY 1370.0M (~$195.4M) from investors including China Development Fund, China Structural Reform Fund, GF Qianhe Investment, CoStone Capital, and CCB Principal Asset Management. Horizon New Energy manufactures separators for lithium-ion batteries. Its products, which include 3-30μm wet-process separators and functionally coated separators such as high heat resistance ceramic coated and high temperature polymer coated separators, can be used in batteries for electric vehicles, energy storage, and consumer electronics. Funds will be used to speed up construction of new manufacturing facilities. Based in Changzhou, China, it was founded in 2017.
WeView Energy Storage raised over CNY 400.0M (~$56.8M) in several rounds of financing, with investors including Gaorong Capital, Green Pine Capital, and ZhenFund. WeView develops zinc-ion flow batteries for large-scale energy storage systems. Funds will be used for R&D and construction of multiple factories with gigawatt-level production capacity. Based in Shanghai, China, it was founded in 2018.
Ascend Elements received a $50.0M strategic investment from SK Ecoplant. The investment will help accelerate the commercialization of Ascend Elements’ Hydro-to-Cathode direct precursor synthesis process technology, which transforms recycled lithium-ion batteries and manufacturing scrap into high-performance, customized EV battery cathode precursor and cathode active materials. The company is currently building a manufacturing facility to produce enough lithium-ion battery precursor and sustainable cathode active material to equip up to 250,000 electric vehicles per year, as well as a separate lithium-ion battery recycling facility. Founded in 2015 as Battery Resourcers, it is based in Westborough, Massachusetts, USA.
Jiemeng Intelligence raised CNY 300.0M (~$42.1M) in funding led by Huatai Zijin Investment, joined by Hanhui Investment, CDH Investments, SAIC Capital, Sunwoda Electronic, Trina Solar, and others. The company makes equipment for manufacturing lithium-ion batteries, including lithium battery primer coating, lithium battery separator coating, optical film coating, film slitting, and substrate surface treatment equipment. Funds will be used to expand production and develop new high-performance lithium battery, photovoltaic, and semiconductor coating equipment. Founded in 2019, it is based in Guangzhou, China.
Iontra raised $38.0M in Series B financing led by Volta Energy Technologies, with participation from Flag Group and other investors. The company develops charge control technology for lithium-ion batteries. “We have found a fundamental way to materially reduce degradation in lithium batteries when charging or discharging. This opens the door for dramatically better performance from existing battery cells representing a range of chemistries, materials, designs, and manufacturing processes,” said Daniel Konopka, chief science officer of Iontra. “Our technology results in more than two-fold improvements to safe charging speeds and cycle life, improved capacity utilization, and safe cold-temperature charging.” Iontra expects to have its battery technology in commercial products by 2024, initially for power tools, smartphones, and drones. It plans to then expand to larger scale battery systems found in EVs, DC fast chargers, grid storage, and other industrial applications. Founded in 2013, it is based in Denver, Colorado, USA.
GDI raised $13.3M in Series A funding led by EIT InnoEnergy and Helios Climate Ventures, alongside $3.0M in government funding from the US Army Research Labs. GDI makes silicon anodes for lithium-ion batteries, which it says allows for more than 30% greater energy density and fast charging from 10-75% in 15 minutes. The entirely silicon anodes can be used in any lithium battery architecture and can be made on existing fabrication equipment. The company has established European pilot production in the Netherlands, with 300kWh production capacity expected to be online by the end of 2022. The funding will help scale production to over 100MWh by Q1 2024. Founded in 2009, it is based in Rochester, New York, USA.
Ruicycle Environmental Protection Technology, also known as Hengchuang Ruineng, extended its Series B round, adding over CNY 100.0M (~$14.3M) to the CNY 300.0M announced in August. The new funding was led by Hidden Hill Capital. Ruicycle recycles and reuses lithium-ion batteries in a variety of ways, including cascade utilization (where batteries no longer suited to their original purpose are used in things such as stationary storage), material regeneration, and electrode material recycling. Funds will be used in improving cascade products, construction of a new recycling processing facility, and expanding wet recycling technology. Based in Shenzhen, China, it was founded in 2017.
Log9 Materials received $9.7M in Series B financing from Amara Raja Batteries. Log9 Materials makes rapid charge batteries for two- and three-wheel vehicles. Based on a lithium titanium oxide (LTO) chemistry, the batteries are specifically formulated to have good performance in tropical climates and will work from -40°C to 65°C (-40°F to 149°F). It also claims enhanced safety and a ten-year life with up to 40,000 charge-discharge cycles. The startup also makes graphene-based ultracapacitors and aluminum fuel cells. Founded in 2015, it is based in Bengaluru, India.
Sylvatex (SVX) raised $8.4M in Series A financing led by Catalus Capital, joined by Amplify Capital, How Women Invest, and others. Sylvatex has developed a production method for lithium-ion battery cathode active materials that it claims can reduce the total cost of cathode manufacturing by over 25% and plant capital requirements by over 40%. The startup also says its chemistry-agnostic manufacturing method substantially reduces energy requirements and eliminates use of water. “As EV production scales exponentially over time, conventional methods are not economically feasible or environmentally viable; battery manufacturing plants are too capital-intensive, production is too expensive, and the immense amount of water required cannot be sustained in a time of extended droughts. We are working to show our industry a more sustainable path forward while reducing costs for battery production that future-proofs manufacturing for decades to come,” said SVX founder and CEO Virginia Irwin Klausmeier. Funds will be used to commercialize and scale the technology. Founded in 2011, it is based in Alameda, California, USA.
Tozero emerged from stealth with €3.5M (~$3.5M) in pre-seed funding led by Atlantic Labs and joined by Verve Ventures, Possible Ventures, and individual investors. Tozero had developed a process to recover critical materials such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese, and graphite from lithium-ion batteries. The startup claims its process has higher recovery rates of key metals than currently used methods and results in battery-grade materials. Funds will be used to build a prototype plant. Based in Munich, Germany, it was founded in 2022.
Saidemei Resources Recycling Research Institute received tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.4M) in Series A funding from Fosun RZ Capital. Saidemei recycles electric vehicle batteries. The company’s process involves dismantling the batteries and putting the electrode materials through a composition adjustment and high-temperature solid-phase repair process that makes them suitable for use in new batteries, while recycling the diaphragms, electrolytes, and other components. The company says its process has a recovery rate of more than 90%. Funds will be used for capacity expansion and marketing. Founded in 2016, it is based in Beijing, China.
Vastech, also known as Hanwei Technology, raised tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.4M) in two angel funding rounds that included ZhenFund and Zero Ventures. The startup is developing zinc-water batteries for energy storage, including smoothing grid demand. The micro-flow battery does not need diaphragms or large storage tanks. Funds will be used to expand production lines and implement large-scale demonstration projects. Founded in 2021, it is based in Shaoxing, China.
Weifang Energy Technology received tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.4M) in Series A+ financing. Weifang Energy develops and produces sodium-ion batteries. The company says its water-based sodium-ion batteries have an energy density of 100-120Wh/kg, an 8000-cycle lifetime, a capacity retention rate of more than 70% at -30°C, and cost 40% less in materials compared to lithium batteries. It is initially targeting markets such as energy storage, communication base stations, two-wheelers/tricycles, and power tools. The funds will be used for the construction of sodium-ion battery material production lines and cell production lines, R&D, and market expansion. It plans to complete the construction of a 1GWh production line in May 2023. Founded in 2013, it is based in Shenzhen, China.
Lanjing New Energy raised pre-Series A funding led by Sinowisdom, joined by Crystal Stream Capital and previous investors. Lanjing New Energy makes 4680-type large cylindrical lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. It plans to eventually expand to the small- and medium-sized energy storage market. Funds will be used for R&D, improving its production line, and accelerating the product engineering verification process. Based in Jiaxing, China, it was founded in 2021.
Natron Energy received strategic investment from onshore oil and natural gas services company Liberty Energy. Natron Energy manufactures sodium-ion batteries based on a Prussian blue electrode chemistry. The company says it says provides higher power density, faster recharge, and longer cycle life than lithium-ion without requiring rare earth or conflict materials. The battery is aimed at a variety of industrial power applications ranging from critical backup power systems to EV fast charging and behind-the-meter applications. The two companies will collaborate to use sodium-ion batteries to provide uninterruptible backup power for Liberty’s electric frac pumps. Founded in 2012, it is based in Santa Clara, California, USA.
The UK’s Advanced Propulsion Centre awarded a total of £25.0M (~$28.6M) in grants to 22 projects through its Scale-up Readiness Validation (SuRV) competition, part of the Automotive Transformation Fund. Each project could receive up to £2.0M (~$2.3M) to assess if projects are ready to scale up to support the UK’s automotive industry. Areas included battery manufacturing, critical materials, fuel cells, and electric motors. Among the funded companies:
Ambient Photonics received $17.5M in debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank and Trinity Capital. Ambient Photonics develops low-light energy harvesting photovoltaic technology for IoT, smart home, and consumer electronics that is capable of harvesting energy across a broad light spectrum, including both artificial and natural light. The company’s cells use an electrochemical system in which light-sensitive dye molecules convert photons into energy similar to the way chlorophyll behaves during photosynthesis. Funds will be used to build a low-light solar cell production facility with a capacity of tens of millions of units per year. Founded in 2019 based on technology developed at the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, it is based in Mill Valley, California, USA.
Epishine received a SEK 25.0M (~$2.3M) grant from the EU’s LIFE Fund to develop indoor solar cells for IoT applications. Epishine’s organic photovoltaic is optimized for harvesting energy in low light, indoor environments. The small, thin, and flexible light cell is printed on recyclable plastic that can be integrated into wireless sensors and IoT devices and can used alone or in conjunction with capacitors to replace batteries or prolong their lifetime in low-power applications. “Together with our customers, we can offer solutions that use self-sufficient electronics to reduce energy consumption and thus costs in properties,” said Anna Björklou, CEO of Epishine. Founded in 2016, it is based in Linköping, Sweden.
Cantos launched its third fund at $50.0M to invest in next-gen computing startups, along with climate tech, biotech, and aerospace. The firm focuses on pre-seed and seed stage investments. It has previous invested in quantum computing and DNA storage companies.
Hillhouse Capital, a private equity firm, launched a new fund focusing on seed-stage companies. The Aseed+ fund plans to invest in around 100 startups over the next three years with deals worth about $2-3M. It will focus on manufacturing, new energy, new materials, biotechnology, and carbon neutrality.
There were fewer massive rounds in September compared to earlier in the year. However, investors are still putting money behind a wide range of companies using AI in products and services. Here are some of the month’s largest rounds.
Ocelot raised $117.0M in funding for a chatbot and chat platform to facilitate easier communications between universities and their students around applications for financial aid and other services.
Brightflow AI raised $100.0M in Series A and debt financing for its platform that helps small business owners and eCommerce retailers forecast sales and automate cash flow management.
Avidbots raised $70.0M in Series C for automated floor cleaning robots for commercial environments such as airports, warehouses, and shopping malls.
Netradyne raised $65.0M in debt financing for its commercial driver monitoring and analysis platform to help improve driver behavior, safety, and fleet performance.
Deep Instinct raised $62.5M in venture funding to stop ransomware and other malware with a deep learning cybersecurity framework.
Sardine raised $51.5M in Series B for an online fraud detection and compliance platform for crypto exchanges and other fintech platforms.
Unravel Data raised $50.0M in Series D to optimize the performance and cost of modern data applications and complex data pipelines using AI and analytics.
Startup Funding: August 2022
Startup Funding: July 2022
Business & Startups
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Upcoming versions of high-bandwidth memory are thermally challenging, but help may be on the way.
Wireless technology is getting faster and more reliable, but it’s also becoming more challenging to support all of the necessary protocols.
A growing number of standards and regulations within the automotive ecosystem promises to save developments costs by fending off cyberattacks.
The chip industry returns in full force after a four-year gap.
Chipmakers call for unity over rising cybersecurity threat.
Packaging and inspection companies draw funding; 124 startups raise over $2.3 billion.
Photonics, sustainability, and AI chips draw investment; 157 companies raised over $2.4 billion.
AI in the sensor, photonic packaging, freight ADAS funding; 123 startups raise $1.2B.
Silicon carbide, RISC-V, and optical interconnects win funding; 143 companies raise $3.5 billion.
Startup funding hits $2.9B; manufacturing onshoring and fab buildout drive investments in adjacent markets.