Crocus Technology SA, a company developing magnetic random access memory (MRAM) technology and secure microcontrollers based on MRAM, has raised €34 million (about US$45 million) in a Series D round of funding.
Crocus was founded in Grenoble in a 2004, and the latest tranche of funding brings the amount raised by the company to about $80 million, not counting the promise of $300 million from the Russian state investment agency Rusnano to create a manufacturing joint venture in Russia.
The latest funding round was led by Idinvest Partners and included Industrial Investors and Rusnano. Established investors Sofinnova Ventures, Innovation Capital, Nanodimension, and Ventech also took part.
The money is a significant amount in a market that has seen investment in semiconductor startups declining for several years.
Crocus plans to use the money to move forward on a number of fronts. It plans to ramp up manufacturing at its foundry Tower Semiconductors Ltd. in Migdal Haemek, Israel, while also qualifying its Russian joint venture fab in Moscow. First engineering wafers are expected out of Crocus Nano Electronics in the summer.
At the same time, Crocus plans to develop with IBM a third generation of magnetic logic unit (MLU) technology for secure microcontrollers that will target smartcards. Crocus also intends to launch a magnetic sensor product line that makes use of the same MLU manufacturing platform.
The MLU architecture is based on self-referencing, thermally assisted switching (SR-TAS), a technology for which Crocus makes a number of claims. These claims include: support for secure embedded memory with non-volatile operation at more than 200°C; high density content addressable memories; multibit storage; and scaling to below 20 nm critical dimensions.
"Crocus is now fully funded to deliver on the last key milestone in the industrial processing of its now mature Magnetic Logic Unit technology," said Bertrand Cambou, CEO and executive chairman of Crocus, in the press release. Cambou added that he expects the company to see initial product revenue at the end of 2013 to move to cashflow break-even by the end of 2014.