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RF startup gets more than cash from Intel Capital

Posted: 05 Jul 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:RF startup? Intel Capital? investment arm?

Intel Corp.'s global investment arm Intel Capital announced it is the lead investor in a $10 million Series B round of funding for Mirics Semiconductor Inc.

Mirics is fabless RF and mixed-signal startup that has developed a single-chip tuner for all currently used broadcast standards.

On top of cash
Pond Venture Partners led the companies' Series A back in July 2006 but Intel appears prepared to offer something in addition to cash. Intel Capital said it would provide Mirics with management and technical input, as well as access to commercial opportunities based upon Intel's relationships. It is not clear whether Intel puts a monetary value on these things, which it is counting as part of its investment.

By developing a single RF chip that enable mobile devices and PCs to receive content based on multiple technical standards, Mirics' solution can reduce energy consumption compared with a multichip approach. Mirics first product, the MSI001, also demonstrates the value of design as opposed to simply scaling technology, as it has been implemented in a 0.35?m BiCMOS process being made for the company by Jazz Semiconductor.

The MSI001 is the world's first true polyband tuner, according to Mirics, and the reconfigurable RF tuner could be designed into mobile phone handsets, notebook computers and other mobile devices.

'Customer exposure'
"Intel Capital aims to identify technological innovations from companies such as Mirics Semiconductor to enable global markets to evolve," said Arvind Sodhani, president of Intel Capital, in a statement. "Our goal is to provide the platform to broaden the commercial opportunities for that innovation though active engagement and customer exposure."

"Working with Intel Capital means that we will be able to benefit from the introductions that Intel can provide to the broader global industry, including some of the large companies that might want to invest in our technology," said Simon Atkinson, CEO and founder of Mirics Semiconductor, in the same statement. "In addition, we benefit from the insight we will gain into Intel's own initiatives in the same area. This will also help to make us a much more attractive proposition for future investors."

- Peter Clarke
EE Times Europe

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