LONDON—InVisage Technologies Inc. (Menlo Park, Calif.) is prepared to provide its quantum-dot based image sensor technology to other image sensor vendors, according to Jess Lee, the company's CEO.
In interview with EE Times Europe (see CEO interview: InVisage's Lee discusses an image sensor revolution) Lee said it would be good for InVisage to have other companies as customers of its technology and that the company was looking raise money with partners as investors.
"We see QuantumFilm as a platform used by us as the first and second customer. To have third and fourth customers is better for us. We are prepared to work with partners to enable them with QuantumFilm," Lee said in the interview.
InVisage has already raised more than $100 million in venture capital since its formation in October 2006. The company was founded to leverage research at the University of Toronto by Professor Ted Sargent, who continues to serve the company as CTO. InVisage has used some of this money to build a fabrication facility in Hsinchu, Taiwan. This fab is used for a small but key part of the production process, the laying down of the QuantumFilm material on CMOS wafers. For the rest of its manufacturing process InVisage uses foundry TSMC and packaging and test companies (see InVisage, TSMC, join forces for image sensor attack).
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The CMOS image sensor market was worth about $10.1 billion in 2015 and will have a compound annual growth rate of 11.1 percent over the period 2015 to 2019, according to market research firm IC Insights (see Pause forecast for CMOS image sensor market).
Lee said InVisage could not take on the whole market and needed funds from the sector to expand manufacturing and enable QuantumFilm to penetrate the image sensor market. This two-model strategy—as both foundry manufacturer for others and as component supplier—does run the risk that InVisage could find itself in competition with other customers for the QuantumFilm technology.
The image sensor market is dominated by Sony, Samsung and OmniVision, ranked in that order, and with more than 60 percent of the market between them. To attract a major player as a partner would kickstart the penetration of QuantumFilm into the CMOS image sensor market.
Despite outlining a technology-sharing future for InVisage, Lee said the company would not license out its technology.
—Peter Clarke covers business news and analog for EE Times Europe.
Article originally published on EE Times Europe.