LONDON – STMicroelectronics NV, Europe's leading chip company, has announced the launch of ST New Ventures, a corporate venture capital fund. However, the announcement did not indicate how much money the organization has at its disposal.
ST New Ventures will invest in technology, product and service startup companies, preferably at the early-stage, partly to help ST gain an understanding of emerging markets for semiconductors, but also to produce a return on investment. Healthcare, Cleantech, and Smart Infrastructure are among the main areas of focus, ST said.
ST New Ventures will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of ST headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, led by managing director Loic Lietar. It will invest alongside other financial and corporate venture capital funds.
The group has no specific geographic focus, according to its website, and nor does it invest with a view to making, or fostering a relationship between the startup and STMicroelectronics. However, the managing director and partner both have a deep experience of semiconductor business acquired as executives with ST. ST stressed that while investments could be in fabless chip companies they could also be in product companies and service providers.
Venture capital funding of fabless semiconductor companies has been declining for a number of years – particularly at the early-stage – as independent venture capital funds have turned their back after a decade of low returns after many years of investment.
This has given rise to increasing reliance on strategic investors but also to initiatives within the Global Semiconductor Alliance, the European Microelectronics Academy and the Singapore Semiconductor Industry Association seeking to address the situation.
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