ZRAM, SoC firms extend VC funding

November 6, 2007 – A pair of industry firms have each secured at least $20M in continued VC funding, to support their respective development of memory and system-on-chip design technology.

Innovative Silicon Inc. (ISi) says it will use the $25M raised in a Series C round of funding, led by all existing investors and new participant Wellington Partners Venture Capital, to expand engineering and customer support for its ZRAM high-density memory IP.

ISi’s zero-capacitor floating-body “ZRAM” technology is based on a standard silicon-on-insulator (SOI) logic process with a similar one-transistor bit-cell, that the company says is faster and 1.5-2.0x denser than DRAM with similar power and requires no exotic process changes. For DRAMs, the smaller bitcells translate into smaller, cheaper die, and eliminate the need to form capacitors which translates to faster work integration and node migration, simplified manufacturing flow, and thus lower capital/manufacturing costs and reduced WIP and “at-risk” wafers.

ISi counts both AMD and Hynix as primary customers, the latter just weeks ago inking a reported “eight-figure” licensing deal, with royalties upon production.

Meanwhile, fabless firm VeriSilicon Holdings Co. Ltd. says it has raised $20M in Series D financing, bring its total fundings to date to $58M, led by the China Investment Fund, (an IBM-Lehman Brothers partnership), with VantagePoint Venture Partners and existing investors. Funds will be used to accelerate R&D of the company’s SoC platforms “using advanced semiconductor technology,” and expand its ASIC turnkey operations worldwide. VeriSilicon currently has two R&D centers each in the US and China, and support offices in the US, Asia, and Europe.

“The successful acquisition of ZSP division of LSI last year, together with the soft core license of ARM and PowerPC processors, facilitates our development of a variety of SoC platforms for consumer applications, such as multimedia, voice, and wireless communication,” said company chairman/president/CEO Wayne Dai, in a statement, adding that “application domain specific and star IP based SoC platforms are critical to making our business repeatable, scalable, and with high barrier of entry.”


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