Startup Funding: July 2020


A number of semiconductor and design companies took in funding this month, from a mega round for a data center switch maker to seed grants for two Canadian companies and new funding for an IP marketplace. China continues to be a hot area for electric vehicles, with one company raising half a billion for its two models currently in production. For July, we highlight fifteen startups that raised $786.5M between them.

Semiconductor & design
San Jose-based Innovium drew a $170.0M Series F round that included new investments from Premji Invest, DFJ Growth, and BlackRock, along with existing investors Greylock, Capricorn, WRVI, Qualcomm Ventures, Redline, S-Cubed Capital, and DAG. Founded in 2014, Innovium focuses on data center network infrastructure. The company’s flagship Teralynx Ethernet switches range from 1.2Tbps to 25.6Tbps throughput and support up to 112G PAM4 SerDes.

Design services and IP company Efabless raised $5.0M in Series A funding. The IP marketplace focuses on providing analog and mixed-signal IP through existing, pre-verified designs, and custom projects. The company has developed an SoC design template based on Arm M0 as well as a RISC-V SoC. Efabless supports GlobalFoundries’ 130G node, XFAB’s 180nm and 350nm nodes, and recently participated in the production of an open-source PDK for SkyWater’s 130nm process. Based in San Jose, CA, Efabless was founded in 2014.

Liquid Wire drew $10.0M in Series A funding led by Deerfield Management Company. The startup builds multi-axis flexible and stretchable circuits intended for long-term skin or body contact in textiles and remote health monitoring applications. Founded in 2016, the Portland, OR-based company plans to use the funding to expand its pilot manufacturing line and make key hires to address the medical patch market.

Energy-harvesting startup e-peas semiconductors raised €8.0M (~$9.4M) for its ‘ambient energy managers’ (AEMs) that harvest photovoltaic, thermal, vibration, or RF sources in the environment to recharge batteries in IoT devices. The round was led by Partech and Airbus Ventures, with KBC Focus Fund, W.IN.G, Noshaq Ventures, LeanSquare, Nivelinvest, and Vives also contributing. Based in Mont-Saint-Guibert, Belgium and founded in 2014 based on research conducted at the Université Catholique de Louvain, e-peas also sells a low-power 32-bit Arm-based MCU. It has raised $13.8M to date.

OmniPly Technology raised CA$0.1M (~$0.08M) in seed funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada. The flexible electronics startup created a delamination technology that facilitates the separation of flexible circuits from a rigid carrier without compromising device performance. Founded in 2018 and based in Montreal, OmniPly is a spinout from Stanford and Purdue University and says its technology can be used in traditional manufacturing processes.

One Silicon Chip Photonics raised CA$0.1M (~$0.08M) in seed funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada. Founded in 2014, the Montreal-based company makes integrated optical motion sensors for the automotive and drone markets.

While a public company, silicon oxide ReRAM maker Weebit Nano (ASX: WBT) raised $9.1M through the combination of a placement and an oversubscribed share purchase plan. The funds will be used to enable completion of key development work, including delivery and demonstration of the embedded memory module and transfer to a production fab. The company expects the funding to take it to its first customer agreements. Weebit Nano was founded in 2015 and is based in Hod Hasharon, Israel. Working with Leti, Weebit Nano has 1Mbit working arrays at 40nm, and is focusing on moving the technology to 28nm and preparing it for production.

Quantum computing
Cambridge Quantum Computing raised $22.7M in venture funding for its architecture agnostic quantum software stack and compiler that translates algorithms into executable circuits. The company has also developed a photonic quantum encryption device that claims to generate unhackable keys. Founded in 2014 and based in Cambridge, U.K., the startup also has efforts directed to computational chemistry and machine learning. Total reported funding has reached $45.5M.

AI hardware & software
Snorkel AI launched from stealth with a $15.0M Series A round led by Greylock and joined by In-Q-Tel, GV, and others. A 2019 spinout from Stanford AI Lab, the Palo Alto, CA-based startup is working on a programmatic approach to labeling, building, and managing machine learning training datasets with the aim of providing faster AI application development.

AI chipmaker Untether AI drew $7.0M in Series A funding led by Radical Ventures and joined by Intel Capital. The company says it has developed a new chip architecture that uses at-memory computation for neural net inference that eliminates the data movement bottleneck, saving energy and improving performance. With the funding, the startup plans to bring its chip to market this year. Founded in 2018, the Toronto, Canada based company has raised $40M.

Automotive
Electric vehicle maker Xpeng Motors raised $500.0M in a Series C+ round joined by Aspex, Coatue, Hillhouse Capital, and Sequoia Capital China. The company has produced an electric SUV and just debuted a sedan with Level 3 autonomy. Based in Guangzhou, China, Xpeng was founded in 2014 and has raised $2.2B in total.

Automotive security startup Cybellum raised $12.0M in Series A funding led by RSBG Ventures and joined by Blumberg Capital and Target Global. The company develops risk assessment software that looks for vulnerabilities in a vehicle’s components without needing access to source code and produces a digital twin of the vehicle’s software. The Tel Aviv, Israel-based company was founded in 2016 and has raised $15.0M.

Helsinki, Finland-based Basemark drew €7.0M (~$8.2M) in Series A funding led by ETF Partners. Founded in 2015, the startup supplies real-time graphics and compute software for automotive and mission-critical industrial applications. Basemark has raised €10.5M (~$12.4M) in total.

IoT & wearables
Smart home device maker Wyze raised $15.0M in Series A funding led by Norwest Venture Partners, with participation from American Family Ventures, Marcy Venture Partners, and Amino Capital. The company sells direct to consumer items ranging from security cameras and locks to fitness bands and smart scales. The Seattle, WA-based company was founded in 2017.

Smartwatch maker Muse Wearables raised ₹220M (~$2.9M) in funding led by Bhaskar Rao Bollineni of KIMS Hospitals. Muse products include smartwatches and NFC contactless payment devices. Founded in 2016, Muse is based in Chennai, India.


Table: Semiconductor Engineering puts a spotlight some interesting startup funding that happened in June 2020 (above).

AI applications
AI, as a broad category, continues to draw the interest of investors. In addition to the individual companies listed above, several segments stood out this month.

  • Data analytics and enterprise software: 15 raised more than $376.7M. A large portion of that went to UiPath, which raised $225.0M in Series E for its process management software that automates repetitive tasks.
  • Health and medical: 24 startups drew $369.1M. Four of those raised over $50M: Sight Diagnostics raised $71.0M for point-of-care malaria testing and blood analysis; Tempo raised $60.0M for home fitness equipment with AI workout guidance; Caption Health drew $53.0M for ultrasound interpretation; Kernel raised $53.0M for non-invasive brain recording.
  • Advertising and customer relations: 15 startups saw investment of $178.6M. Of those, the largest rounds went to Chorus.ai, which drew $45.0M for its conversational sales platform, and to AB Tasty, which received $40.0M for sales campaign testing and personalization.

Related
Find our prior startup funding reports here.
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