LONDON – Investment in semiconductor industry startup and private companies jumped up in April to $194.2 million, according to the Global Semiconductor Alliance (GSA) industry body.
The GSA monitors investment, mergers, acquisition and initial public offering (IPO) activity affecting semiconductor companies which it defines as fabless chip companies, integrated device manufacturers and semiconductor equipment, materials and software suppliers.
The latest update showed that April 2012 investment of $194.2 million was 10 times that of March 2012 and more than 5 times that made in April 2011. Eight semiconductor companies received funding compared with five in the previous month and four in the same month a year before. And of the eight companies that received funding, five were fabless companies and three were suppliers.
Although the activity level is a significantly increased in these comparisons it comes from a low level. The GSA and its membership have expressed concern about the low-level of fabless chip company startup funding on several occasions.
The two largest funding announcements in April were Quantenna Communications Inc. (Fremont, Calif.), which raised $79 million with the help of Russia's Rusnano, and Violin Memory Inc. (Mountain View, Calif.), which raised Series D funding.
In April there were seven semiconductor merger and acquisition deals of which the largest was the acquisition of PLX Technology Inc. (Sunnyvale, Calif.) by Integrated Device Technology Inc. (San Jose, Calif.) for $330 million. This number was the same as in March and one fewer than in April 2011, GSA said.
April also saw one significant IPO announcement. Fabless chip company Audience Inc. (Mountain View, Calif.) announced that it plans to raise about $80 million by offering 5.3 million shares priced at between $14 and $16.