Ferroelectric Memory Company receives growth financing from eCAPITAL and HTGF
July 6, 2018
Significant boost to growing the team of a company with a high-performance, ultra-low-power non-volatile memory technology
Ferroelectric Memory Company (FMC), an enterprise that commercializes technology for disruptive non-volatile memory solutions for microcontrollers, announced today the successful closing of a € 4.6 million growth financing led by eCAPITAL entrepreneurial Partners AG under participation of High-Tech Gründerfonds. The funds will enable the company with base in Dresden to expand its team, accelerate the further development of their solutions and conquer a significant market share by replacing the current standard technology.
Driven by the global trend towards digitization, automation and networking, billions of devices are being equipped with an increasing number of microcontrollers. These tiny one-chip computer systems are at the heart of innovation in fast-growing key technologies such as the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence. Industries such as consumer electronics, healthcare, security, automotive and aviation are experiencing disruptive changes.
The challenge of the digital future for microcontrollers is not only to store increasing amounts of ever-more complex data in ever-smaller memories. They must retain data for many years and fulfil more demanding requirements such as a higher number of write cycles and retention even when exposed to extreme temperatures. The current industry standard for non-volatile memory, the eFlash technology, can cope with the new requirements only at the expense of extremely complex manufacturing processes and therefore inhibits further progress in the miniaturization of microcontrollers. In comparison to the latest generations of standard CMOS technology, eFlash lags by five technology generations.
FMC’s memory technology is directly derived from standard CMOS technology and therefore solves the problem of miniaturization.
The market for FMC is huge and fast-paced. The main actors are integrated manufacturers or foundries as well as fabless semiconductor companies. FMC offers these enterprises its patent-protected Ferroelectric Field Effect Transistor (FeFET) technology. FeFETs use the ferroelectric properties of hafnium oxide to transform existing standard CMOS transistors into efficient memory cells. CMOS transistors still enable scaling according to Moore’s Law, and thus derived FeFETs offer superior performance, high density, ultra-low power consumption and extreme temperature stability. The key for becoming the new standard in this industry is that they enable further miniaturization of microcontrollers. FeFETs can be manufactured on existing production lines without main changes or capital expenditures as hafnium oxide is already a standard isolating material in this industry. In comparison to eFlash, the manufacturing process is much simpler, so that the production costs can be drastically reduced.
“Our non-volatile memory technology addresses the industry’s current and future needs with 1,000 times higher speed and 1,000 times lower power consumption, while significantly reducing manufacturing costs. With the support of eCAPITAL, we can hire the right talent, such as Analog / Mixed-Signal Designers and Characterization Engineers, to accelerate our product development and drive market penetration,” said Dr. Stefan Müller, CEO of FMC.
“The disruptive potential of the technology and the customer wins the company has already achieved to date are truly impressive. FMC has the potential to become the new industry standard and we look forward to backing the company throughout this endeavor” adds Willi Mannheims, managing partner at eCAPITAL.
“With FMC we have identified once again a technology jewel in Dresden that can disrupt entire industries and become a real gamechanger. We welcome FMC in eCAPITAL’s portfolio and look forward to contribute our experience and network to ensure the rapid and successful development of FMC,” comments Dr. Paul-Josef Patt, Managing Partner and CEO of eCAPITAL. Patt was already Lead Investor in the Dresden-based company Novaled, which was sold very successfully by eCAPITAL to Samsung end of 2013. He is also a member of the advisory board of the Dresden-based company Heliatek, an OPV provider. FMC already marks the 11th investment by eCAPITAL’s current fund eCAPITAL IV, which was launched in 2016.
“The ability to convert traditional transistors into non-volatile memory devices has a rare potential for disruption. With seed funding from the HTGF, the company has now reached the next level. We have therefore increased our exposure to FMC to a total of EUR 1.6 million and are pleased to have gained a valuable partner for further growth with eCAPITAL,” adds Yann Fiebig, Senior Investment Manager at HTGF.
FMC is the provider of extremely efficient FeFET memory solutions for non-volatile storage. FeFET memories are ultra-low-power, high-performance, very dense, and extremely temperature stable. This disruptive technology will solve the scaling problem of semiconductor foundries and fabless companies. It can scale to transistor sizes ranging from 28nm and below. Technology development was funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Free State of Saxony. The FMC team has been supported by “EXIST Forschungstransfer”, a program of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. The company was founded in 2016 and is based in Dresden, Germany.
Find more information under www.ferroelectric-memory.com.
eCAPITAL entrepreneurial Partners AG is a Münster-based alternative investment fund manager (AIFM) in accordance with EU-directive EuVECA. As a leading German venture capital firm, eCAPITAL has supported innovative entrepreneurs in future-oriented industries since 1999. The firm focuses on rapidly growing companies in the areas of Software / IT, Cleantech, Industry 4.0 and New Materials. Currently, eCAPITAL manages six funds with a total of 220 million euros under management.
Find more information under www.ecapital.de/en
About High-Tech Gründerfonds
High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) is a seed investor that finances high-potential, tech-driven start- ups. With EUR 892,5 million in total investment volume across three funds (EUR 272 million in HTGF I, EUR 304 million in HTGF II and EUR 316,5 million for HTGF III) and an international network of partners, HTGF has already helped forge 500 start-ups since 2005. Driven by their expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and passion, its team of experienced investment managers and start-up experts help guide the development of young companies. HTGF’s focus is on high-tech start-ups in a range of sectors, including software, media, internet, hardware, automation, health care, chemicals and life sciences.
This group also includes a number of success stories, such as Mister Spex, Rigontec, 6Wunderkin- der, Next Kraftwerke and Cumulocity, as well as Juniqe, an online shop for art enthusiasts. To date, external investors have injected over EUR 1.5 billion into the HTGF portfolio via more than 1,200 follow-on financing rounds. HTGF has also successfully sold interests in more than 90 companies.
Investors in this public-private partnership include the Federal Ministry For Economic Affairs and Energy, the KfW Banking Group, and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft e.V., as well as the companies ALTANA, BASF, BAYER, B.Braun, Boehringer Ingelheim, Robert Bosch, BÜFA, CEWE, Deutsche Post DHL, Dräger, Drillisch AG, EVONIK, EWE AG, Haniel, Hettich, Knauf, Körber, LANXESS, media + more venture Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG, PHOENIX CONTACT, Postbank, QIAGEN, RWE Generation SE, SAP, Schufa, Schwarz Gruppe, STIHL, Thüga, Vector Informatik and WACKER and Wilh. Werhahn KG.