AUSTIN, Texas - Nanochip Inc., a MEMS-based storage company based in Fremont, Calif., said Monday (March 8) it has secured $20 million in second-round funding that will be used to take its technology to the product stage.
Nanochip, founded in 1996, is developing a form of MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) storage that could be used in digital still and video cameras, MP3 players, cellphones, PDAs and other systems that use high densities of nonvolatile storage. Gordon Knight, CEO of the 10-person startup, said the Nanochip technology is capable of terabit-per-square-inch densities, is not fragile, and can be rewritten billions of times.
Knight said a portion of the funding will be used to expand staff, hiring engineers with experience in read/write and servo storage technologies, finite element analysis, and MEMS. The company also plans to identify a partner that can develop retail and other sales relationships for Nanochip, which plans to begin production next year.
Developed by Tom Rust, an inventor who earlier worked in the computer graphics field, Nanochip uses atomic force tips, which Knight said are inexpensive to make and do not wear out. Nanochip's approach uses a much different architecture than IBM Corp.'s "Millipede" form of MEMS storage, although the two companies have technical similarities in some respects, he added.
Nanochip has lined up two foundries, one in Singapore called MEMS Technology SDN Bhd that is owned by a Penang, Malaysia-based packaging company, AKN Technology. AKN also is an investor in Nanochip. The second foundry is based in San Jose, Calif., but Knight said he is not ready to identify that company.
JK&B Capital led the Series B funding, joined by New Enterprise Associates and Microsoft.