GRENOBLE Leti has a strong history in creating startups. In 2008, the French research center maintained its momentum by launching two ventures based on technologies developed in its laboratories and it offers promise for further startup creation.
"So far, we have launched about 30 startups with success stories and failures," declared Laurent Malier, CEO of Leti, at the 11th Leti Annual Review this week on Minatec Campus in Grenoble, France. "We are happy to try and help them grow to maturity. Between 2000 and 2005, we launched a low level of startups. Now, startups are announced at a rhythm of two to three a year."
Malier continued: "If you look at the accumulated jobs created in startups, we reach 2,200 direct jobs. It is bigger than the Leti itself. The Leti is not only here to generate technologies in silicon. It is open to different technologies and models."
In 2007, Leti span off three startups, namely Movea, specializing in motion sensing technologies, MicroOled, a developer of efficient organic light emitting diode technologies, and Asygn in the fields of analog and mixed-signal system design. In 2008, Leti launched two startups, Fluoptics in the field of molecular imaging and Kalray that develops a new generation of massively parallel multicore processors. Looking ahead, Malier said there are other startup projects waiting in boxes.
While Fluoptics was officially launched mid-June, not much was said on Kalray. Time has come to bring it to light.
Launched as a joint project of Leti and its sister lab in Saclay, CEA-List, Kalray designs massively parallel processors for small to mid-size production series of high-end embedded systems in the field of industrial and professional electronics.
Kalray raised 2.5 million euros in a first round of financing led by Rhône Alpes Création, CEA Investissement and ACE management. It has a long term R&D agreement for a joint laboratory with Leti and a licensing agreement for the commercial exploitation of a portfolio of 20 patents.
"Kalray designs chips based on reconfigurable and programmable multiprocessors," commented Malier to EE Times Europe. "Their technology provides better performances than FPGAs and requires less design efforts than ASICs. In other words, Kalray gives an access to high performances to those who can't afford ASICs."
Kalray is led by Joel Monnier, formerly vice chairman and vice president in charge of R&D at STMicroelectronics.