Semiconductor Memory Start-Up Unity Semiconductor Closes $22M Series C Financing.Designer and Developer of Storage-Class Non-Volatile Memories, Based on a Break-Through Technology, Sees Top-Tier Venture Capital Firms Name Location Founding date Managing Partners/Directors Specialty Capital managed
5AM Ventures Menlo Park, CA; Waltham, MA 2002 John Diekman, PhD (managing partner), Scott Rocklage, PhD (managing partner), Andrew Schwab (managing partner) life sciences $200M  and Hard-Disk Drive (HDD (Hard Disk Drive) See hard disk and HDD caddy.
HDD - hard disk drive ) Manufacturer Increase Investments to $65M
SUNNYVALE, Calif. -- Unity Semiconductor Corp., a start-up that will serve the semiconductor data storage market as a designer, developer and manufacturer of non-volatile storage-class memory products, announced today that it has closed its Series C round of financing of $22 million.
Founded in 2002 by Darrell Rinerson, a former executive at memory leader Micron Technology Micron Technology ("Micron") NYSE: MU is a multinational company based in Boise, Idaho, USA, best known for producing many forms of semiconductor devices. This includes DRAM, SDRAM, flash memory, and CMOS image sensing chips. (NASDAQ NASDAQ
in full National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations
U.S. market for over-the-counter securities. Established in 1971 by the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), NASDAQ is an automated quotation system that reports on : MU) and at Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ: AMD (Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., Sunnyvale, CA, www.amd.com) A major manufacturer of semiconductor devices including x86-compatible CPUs, embedded processors, flash memories, programmable logic devices and networking chips. ), Unity Semiconductor's objective is to have the smallest die-size and the lowest manufacturing cost per bit for its targeted market. Unity Semiconductor plans to achieve its product cost objective using innovative, multi-layer memory array architecture and a new breakthrough memory cell technology called CMOx(TM), which is based on ionic i·on·ic
Of, containing, or involving an ion or ions.
pertaining to an ion or ions.
iontophoresis. motion through combinations of certain conductive metal oxide materials.
The $22M Series C financing came primarily from Unity Semiconductor's three major venture capital organizations--August Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Morgenthaler Ventures--and a major hard-disk drive (HDD) manufacturer, also a repeat investor. The latest round brings to nearly $75M the total funding to date in Unity Semiconductor.
"This latest investment demonstrates that our group of experienced, top-tier investors has confidence in our proprietary technology and our progress in developing it," said Mr. Rinerson, Chairman, CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. and President of Unity Semiconductor. The additional funding, he noted, will be applied toward completing the development of CMOx(TM), Unity's proprietary next-generation non-volatile memory technology, and integrating CMOx(TM) into a high volume memory manufacturing process. Also, the funding will go toward completing the design of its family of CMOx(TM) based storage-class memory products.
"NAND Flash See flash memory. is one of the largest and most important segments of the semiconductor industry today. But its scaling limits have been in sight for several years," said Andy Rappaport, a partner at August Capital, and the original venture capital investor in Unity. "What Unity has developed is like the holy grail-a technology that not only betters NAND flash in all key performance metrics Performance metrics are measures of an organizations activities and performance. Performance metrics should support a range of stakeholder needs from customers, shareholders to employees . , but can scale through many process generations to come. I've seen only very few semiconductor start-ups in my career that can address such a large and growing market with this kind of unique and fundamental technology."
CMOx(TM) is expected to yield products with 4x the density and 5-10x the write speed of today's NAND flash. "Only CMOx(TM) has the cell size to beat NAND (Not AND) A Boolean logic operation that is true if any single input is false. Two-input NAND gates are often used as the sole logic element on gate array chips, because all Boolean operations can be created from NAND gates. See flash memory. ," Rinerson said. CMOx(TM) implements concepts "dreamed about for 40 years," namely passive rewritable cross -point memory technology and multiple physical layers of memory arrays. It utilizes "new methods and new materials for allowing concepts that could not otherwise be realized," he added. The read/write cross point memory cell cannot be implemented without using these new concepts.
CMOx(TM) is intended to be not only a NAND flash replacement technology for all the important high-density/high-performance memory segments (SSDs, stand-alone memory, and embedded memory), but also a NAND flash "successor" technology that, in time, will extend into high-performance embedded and enterprise applications. "We call it a 'Technology for Terabits' that will challenge high-volume rotating magnetic media," Rinerson stated.
Unity Semiconductor has protected these developments by filing an extensive patent portfolio which presently includes 60 granted patents, with another 90 patent applications.
"We are in the 2-year horizon for production volumes of our first product, a 64-gigabit storage class memory," Mr. Rinerson said. Unity Semiconductor has been processing 64-kilobit products for 2 years, 64-megabit products for 1 year, and its 64-Gb product will tape-out in 1H 2010.
"To fully develop our proprietary next-generation memory technology, CMOx(TM), and bring it to market, high-volume production partnerships are needed," Mr. Rinerson added. Unity Semiconductor's manufacturing strategy calls for it to form a joint venture partnership for volume manufacturing with a leading memory integrated device manufacturer See IDM. (IDM (1) See identity management.
(2) (Integrated Device Manufacturer) A company that performs every step of the chip-making process, including design, manufacture, test and packaging. Examples of IDMs are Intel, AMD, Motorola, IBM, TI and Lucent. ).
Based on forecasts from market researchers, Unity believes the total accessible market (TAM) for its storage class non-volatile memory products will be approximately $15B in 2010, growing to more than $25B in 2013.
Unity Semiconductor is a leading designer and developer of non-volatile storage (storage) non-volatile storage - (NVS, persistent storage, memory) A term describing a storage device whose contents are preserved when its power is off. Storage using magnetic media (e.g. class memory products based on innovative, multi-layer memory array architectures and a new, breakthrough technology, called CMOx(TM). Founded in 2002, Unity Semiconductor (www.unitysemi.com) is a Silicon Valley-based company with more than 40 employees.