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Startup Funding: May 2022

FPGAs, CPUs, and equipment receive funding in China; 98 startups raise over $2 billion.

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May was another strong month for China as it continues its push to build a native semiconductor ecosystem. Over half the month’s total funding went to startups in the country. Over half the companies funded were from China as well, including two FPGA companies, three making CPUs, a GPU startup, and numerous networking and wireless chip companies. Two of those, in FPGAs and CPUs, raised rounds surpassing $100 million.

Equipment, of course, is vital to make those devices. The month had eight equipment makers from China funded. Most of those rounds were smaller, but the startups cover a wide range from PCB manufacturing to IC test to parts for equipment.

Battery startups saw another good month as well. One company received a whopping $400 million along with closer ties to Porsche, and another two crossed the $100 million mark. Sustainability of battery manufacturing is drawing investors as well, with two of the funded companies pledging new plants that will run fully on renewable energy.

Investors are also pouring money into funds to support automotive, robotics, and deep tech startups, including a massive $1 billion from Chinese automaker SAIC Motor. Plus, chip analytics, encrypted computing, and packaging feature in this look at 98 companies that collectively raised over $2 billion in May 2022.

Semi & design

FPGA company Gowin Semiconductor raised CNY 880.0M (~$132.1M) in a Series B+ round led by Guangzhou Bay Area Semiconductor Industry Group and joined by Guangdong Macao Semiconductor Industry Investment Fund, Shanghai Semiconductor Equipment and Materials Industry Investment Fund, and others. Gowin offers a broad portfolio of programmable logic devices, design software, IP cores, reference designs, and development kits. Its products include flash-based FPGAs, SRAM-based FPGAs, ASSPs, and EDA software for FPGA design entry, synthesis, place and route, and bitstream generation. Funds will be used for R&D, particularly directed toward the application of FPGAs in automotive. Based in Guangzhou, China, it was founded in 2014.

HJ Micro raised nearly CNY 800.0M (~$120.0M) in angel and pre-Series A funding led by Walden International, GL Ventures, and CDH Venture and Growth Capital, joined by AI chip developer Biren Technology, Xinlanwei, Xingrui Capital, CD Capital, Green Pine Capital Partners, Creo Capital, Zhongyiren Investment, Haihe Qirui Capital, and Xiao Ventures. HJ Micro develops Arm-based CPUs for data centers. Funds will be used to invest in research infrastructure and for hiring. Founded in 2021, it is based in Hangzhou, China.

Quillion Technology drew around CNY 600.0M (~$89.0M) in angel and Series A funding that included Lightspeed China Partners. The startup designs Arm-based CPUs for both the general purpose and data center markets. Funds will be used for R&D and working towards commercialization. Based in Shenzhen, China, it was founded in 2021.

Chip analytics company proteanTecs closed a $45.0M investment from Addition. proteanTecs uses on-chip monitoring and machine learning to provide a cloud-based telemetry platform that tracks system health and predicts failures and manufacturing performance in electronics. It can monitor performance from production through in-field use. “As technologies advance and usage requirements grow, monitoring and analysis are imperative to achieve scale and predictability,” said Shai Cohen, CEO and co-founder of proteanTecs. Funds will be used for hiring and further product development. Founded in 2017, it is based in Haifa, Israel and has raised nearly $200M to date.

Ehiway raised CNY 300.0M (~$44.9M) in Series B financing from Zhong Ying Touzi and others. Ehiway designs FPGAs and embedded FPGA IP along with development tools. It targets sectors including industrial control, communications, automotive electronics, and data centers. Funding will be used for developing the company’s 14nm product and construction of a test line. A spin out from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2017, it is based in Suzhou, China.

Point2 Technology drew $22.0M in Series B funding led by GU Equity Partners with participation from new investors Molex Ventures, Samsung Securities, Shinhan Capital, Tigris Investment, K2 Investments, and Korea Omega Investment, as well as existing investors Timefolio Investment, Nautilus Venture Partners, Quantum Ventures Korea, and Walden International. Point2 designs and manufactures low-power, high-speed point-to-point data center interconnect solutions that it says provides a cost-effective alternative to active optical cables (AOC) and performance-limited direct attach cables (DAC) for 400G disaggregated chassis configurations in hyperscale data centers. The interconnect can increase reach and capacity for active electrical cable (AEC), optical, and wireless solutions. The startup recently released a fully integrated four-channel uni-directional clock and data recovery (CDR) and retimer SoC. “Point2 has developed innovative technologies that dramatically drive down the costs and power demands of high-performance connectivity solutions for multi-terabit 5G and cloud-based data centers. This funding round will help us expand further into multiple market segments and develop new products as we position the company for long-term growth,” said Sean Park, CEO of Point2 Technology. Based in Seoul, South Korea, it was founded in 2016.

Vulcan Technology drew hundreds of millions of yuan (CNY 100.0M is ~$15.0M) in strategic funding from Inno-Chip, VeriSilicon, and Sunic Capital. The startup is developing SoCs for intelligent industrial networking solutions that integrate AI processors and sensors, with applications including robotics, smart manufacturing, and automotive. Based in Shanghai, China, it was founded in 2019.

Phenomenon Array, also known as Novnet, raised over CNY 100.0M (~$15.0M) in Series A funding led by Fortune Venture Capital and joined by Beijing Science & Technology Innovation Investment Management, Beijing TRS Information Technology, Guangdong Technology Financial Group, JC Capital, Lock Capital, Paipal Ventures, and Yuanlong Investment. Phenomenon Array is developing edge computing and networking using what it describes as a non-von Neumann universal network computing system. It currently targets smart city applications such as security, water conservation, and transportation. Based in Beijing, China, it was founded in 2019.

Saykal Electronics raised $2.0M in venture funding led by F+ Ventures, joined by Fark Holding and Ark Pres. Saykal Electronics is a design services firm offering system engineering, hardware and board design, embedded software development, high-level software development, and systems integration. It focuses on the areas of automotive, industrial automation, energy, and agriculture. Founded in 2010, it is based in Kocaeli, Turkey.

Moli Semiconductor raised tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.5M) in angel funding led by Lanpu Capital. The startup focuses on designing mixed-signal chips for industrial applications, energy storage, and electric vehicles. Based in Nanjing, China, it was founded in 2021.

MotionSilicon drew tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.5M) in angel funding from Prosperity Investment. MotionSilicon is developing a range of automotive MCUs and software. Funds will be used for R&D and tape out of its ASIL-D level domain controllers and gateway chips. Based in Wuxi, China, it was founded in 2021.

Zhihui Microelectronics raised tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.5M) in pre-Series A funding led by Nanjing Jiangning High-tech Venture Capital, with strategic investment from CPU maker C*Core Technology. The startup designs desktop GPU chips. Zhihui’s first chip is built on SMIC’s 14nm process and uses compilers and an ISA developed by the startup. Funds will be used for taping out its second-generation GPU and development of its third-generation chip. Based in Nanjing, China, it was founded in 2018.

Jaguar Microsystems received venture funding from Tencent Investment, 5Y Capital, Shenzhen Capital Group, Hundreds Capital, and Hua Partners. Jaguar Micro designs data processing unit (DPU) chips for cloud computing and data centers. Based in Shenzhen, China, it was founded in 2020.

Hexin Technology received new venture funding from Guangzhou Bay Area Semiconductor Industry Group. Hexin Technology develops server chips and systems. It also offers design services. Based in Guangzhou, China, it was founded in 2014.

Polar Bear Tech raised venture funding from Sequoia Capital China, Turing Ventures, and SeeFund. The startup provides design services for custom algorithm accelerator server chips. It takes a chiplet-based approach, which it says reduces the time and cost for a full design compared to traditional ASIC solutions. Founded in 2021, it is based in Xi’An, China.

AI hardware

Jeejio raised nearly CNY 300.0M (~$44.6M) in pre-Series A funding from Nanjing Chilin, Institute of Advanced Technology, ZKTuring, and others. Jeejio is developing AI chips for IoT devices. It also plans to build the IoT devices themselves as well as offer system software and cloud-based platforms. Based in Beijing, China, it was founded in 2018.

SiMa.ai raised $30.0M in Series B funding led by Fidelity Management & Research Company with participation from previous investors and Lip-Bu Tan, who will take a seat on the company’s board. SiMa.ai builds SoCs for machine learning workloads at low power. The startup’s initial focus is computer vision applications at the embedded edge for sectors such as security cameras, robotics and Industry 4.0, drones, autonomous vehicles, healthcare, and government. Its software-centric MLSoC platform aims to be a simple way to deploy and scale edge ML and includes computer vision processors, ML accelerator, and application processors. It can be used either as a standalone edge-based system controller or as a ML offload accelerator for processors and ASICs. Funds will be used for hiring. Founded in 2018 and based in San Jose, California, USA, the startup has raised $150M in total.

Salience Labs raised a $11.5M seed round led by Cambridge Innovation Capital and Oxford Science Enterprises, with Oxford Investment Consultants, Silicon Catalyst, the Goh Family Office, Deeptech Labs, and individual investor Jalal Bagherli participating. Salience Labs is building an ultra-high-speed multi-chip processor that packages a photonics chip together with standard electronics for AI. The startup says the technology is highly scalable, capable of stacking up to 64 vectors into a beam of light, and uses a proprietary amplitude-based approach to photonics that results in dense computing chips clocking at 10s of GHz. Photonic processing is mapped directly on top of SRAM for an ‘on-memory compute’ architecture. “Salience Labs brings together deep domain expertise in photonics, electronics, and CMOS manufacture. Their unique approach to photonics delivers an exceedingly dense computing chip without having to scale the photonics chip to large sizes,” said Ian Lane, partner, Cambridge Innovation Capital. A spin out from Oxford University and the University of Münster in 2021, it is based in Oxford, UK.

Manufacturing & packaging

Rong Semiconductor received CNY 700.0M (~$105.0M) from the Ningbo City Integrated Circuit Special Fund. Rong Semi offers 12-inch wafer manufacturing and wafer level chip scale packaging and testing. Its downstream products are CMOS image sensors, display drivers (TDDI/OLED DDIC), power devices (MOSFET/IGBT), power management ICs, NOR flash memory, and other high-performance analog chips. Funds will be used in expanding its production lines. Based in Ningbo, China, it was founded in 2021.

Rigger Micro Technologies (RMT) raised nearly CNY 300.0M (~$45.0M) in Series B funding led by Yuanhe Holding and joined by Addor Capital, Infotech Ventures, Jinbang Capital, Suzhou High-tech Venture Capital Group, and Yongxin Group. RMT provides chip packaging and testing services. It offers system-in-package (SiP), flip-chip ball grid array (FCBGA), wire bond ball grid array (WBBGA) flip-chip chip scale package (FCCSP), quad flat no-lead package (QFN), and small out-line package (SOP). Founded in 2016, it is based in Suzhou, China.

Kyber Technology raised nearly CNY 100.0M (~$15.0M) in Series A funding led by Haitong Capital, with participation by Yiling Capital and WEquick Capital. Kyber Technology offers manufacturing execution systems (MES) and computer integrated manufacturing (CIM) software for semiconductor and PCB manufacturing. Funds will be used for R&D and marketing. Founded in 2021, it is based in Shanghai, China.

Tignis raised $7.2M in a Series A round led by DN Capital with participation by Clear Ventures and individual investors Paul Maritz and Harel Kodesh. Tignis specializes in AI-powered process control for semiconductor manufacturing. Its technology can be deployed directly on semiconductor fabrication equipment from OEMs and layered on top of existing manufacturing processes, providing the ability to find and investigate problems with production and simulate manufacturing processes. “AI process control will accelerate semiconductor process development, improve efficiency and quality, and enable manufacturing technologies that previously were too complex to model, resulting in production of smaller and more complex chips, faster time to market and improved yield while reducing the cost of operations. In addition, the advancement of AI process control technology in semiconductor manufacturing that Tignis is undertaking is of particular importance to the U.S. market, to re-establish competitiveness and leadership in this industry,” said Jon Herlocker, president and CEO of Tignis. Funds will be used to expand its sales team and execute on current contracts. Founded in 2017, it is based in Seattle, Washington, USA.

Equipment

KST Optical raised nearly CNY 400.0M (~$59.5M) in Series C financing led by China Fortune Tech Capital, Minsheng Securities, and Hongtai Fund, joined by Xinrui Zheshang Touzi and Share VC. KST Optical offers LED full-automatic and semi-automatic exposure equipment for PCB, photovoltaic, and semiconductor manufacturing. Its products include UV-LED exposure units, solder mask exposure, outer and inner double frame exposure, and direct imaging for PCBs. Founded in 2011, it is based in Guangdong, China.

Shengbo Intelligent Equipment raised CNY 100.0M (~$15.0M) in Series A funding. The startup manufactures vacuum coating equipment for semiconductor manufacturing, including plasma sources, PECVD, and PVD. Founded in 2020, it is based in Jiaxing, China.

Testron Technology received CNY 20.0M (~$3.0M) in Series A financing from Angu Venture Capital. Testron offers automated test and assembly equipment for consumer, automotive, medical, and industrial electronics. Its products include test lines for automotive infotainment systems, EV inverter PCBAs, large PCBAs, aging and burn-in, and boundary scan. Founded in 2009, it is based in Kunshan, China.

Glory Photonix raised tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.5M) in Series A financing from Northern Light Venture Capital and SDVentures. Glory Photonix manufactures laser sources and high-power ultra-short pulse laser systems for use in semiconductor, antenna, PCB, and photovoltaic manufacturing. It also offers high-power short pulse and high-power continuous laser systems. Based in Suzhou, China, it was founded in 2021.

Hong Hu Semiconductor Technology received tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.5M) in Series A funding from Oriza Holdings and others. The company produces sorter and equipment front end module (EFEM) wafer transfer equipment for 8/12-inch front, middle, and back-end processes. It also provides equipment repair and refurbishment services. Founded in 2016, it is based in Suzhou, China.

Sictun Semiconductor drew tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.5M) in Series A financing led by the Beyond Moore Fund and joined by Hongta Innovation Investment. Sictun provides semiconductor manufacturing equipment parts and offers equipment cleaning, repair, and maintenance services. It also supplies parts for photovoltaic and LED manufacturing equipment. Funds will be used for expansion of production capacity and product development. Founded in 2010, it is based in Wuxi, China.

Truth Instruments received tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.5M) in angel funding from TusStar Ventures and Boyan Fund. Truth Instruments makes IC test equipment, with its first product being a magneto-optic Kerr measuring instrument combined with a multifunctional probe station for magnetic chips and sensors, including spin-transfer torque memory. Funds will be used for R&D, hiring, and market development. Founded in 2019 based on research from Beihang University, it is based in Qingdao, China.

Desen Precision Equipment received a strategic investment from Xinyichang Technology. Desen Precision supplies board manufacturing equipment, including automatic SMT solder paste printers, coating machines, and flexible printed circuit (FPC) automatic feeders. The two companies will collaborate on solutions for Mini LED manufacturing, combining Desen’s automatic solder paste printing machine with Xinyichang’s high-speed die bonding machine. Founded in 2006, it is based in Shenzhen, China.

Tofwerk received a strategic investment from Bruker. Tofwerk has developed a compact time-of-flight mass spectrometer (TOFMS), with a portfolio of specialized solutions based on TOFMS analyzers and a variety of ionization methods including real-time proton transfer reaction (PTR) chemical ionization, SIMS using fast ion beams in scanning electron microscopes (FIB-SEM), and inductively coupled plasma ionization (ICP). The startup’s instruments can be used in a wide array of industrial and chemical analysis applications. For semiconductor manufacturing, it provides airborne molecular contamination monitoring, thin film analysis and characterization, process gas monitoring, and e-waste emissions analysis. The two companies will collaborate on advancing instrument capabilities and the development of novel analytical applications. Founded in 2002, it is based in Thun, Switzerland.

Materials

6K drew $102.0M in the first close of its Series D funding led by Koch Strategic Platforms, with participation from Energy Impact Partners, Albemarle, HG Ventures, and existing investors. 6K produces materials using its microwave-based plasma processing technology, called UniMelt, which it says reduces energy consumption, water use, and wastage. One of the company’s key areas is battery material manufacturing. “Lithium-ion battery markets will increase tenfold in the next decade, fueled by growth in EVs, as well as supporting critical infrastructure for telecom back-up, data centers, and power plants. The fact that there is no lithium-ion battery material production on US soil is a concern for both national security and for the industries that are relying on these critical materials,” said Aaron Bent, CEO of 6K. Another focus is additive manufacturing, as its process can recycle used metal powder and scrap materials into metal powder used in 3D printing. For semiconductors, 6K produces chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) polishing materials including alumina, ceria, coated silica, and specialty particle coatings. The proceeds will fund production expansion for 3D metal powders and accelerate the deployment of cathode production plants. Founded in 2014, it is based in North Andover, Massachusetts, USA.

ScienChem, also known as Jiangsu Kehua New Material Technology, raised CNY 310.0M (~$48.6M) in venture funding from Sinochem Capital, Guoke Investment, CCB Trust, and others. The company manufactures epoxy sealing materials for semiconductor packaging. Funds will be used to continue its factory expansion. The company also has plans to list on the Shanghai STAR market. Based in Taizhou, China, it was founded in 2011.

Scipher Technologies drew $15.0M in Series B funding from Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Business Growth Fund. Scipher is an e-waste recycler that uses what it calls ‘urban mining’ to recover valuable metals and materials from discarded electronics, with a recovery rate of at least 90% by weight for metals such as copper, aluminum, zinc, gold, silver, and palladium. “Scipher is targeting direct emissions abatement of more than 20,000 tCO2e annually,” said CEFC Waste and Bioenergy lead Mac Irvine. The company also announced the acquisition of Total Green Recycling. Founded in 2019, it is based in Dandenong, Australia.

Arieca raised $6.5M in a Series A funding round led by Nissan Chemical Corporation and 412 Venture Fund, with participation from ROHM, Monozukuri Ventures, Mountain State Capital, Innovation Works, and Carnegie Mellon University. Arieca is a maker of thermal interface materials (TIM) based on Liquid Metal Embedded Elastomer technology that combines high thermal and electrical conductivity with the mechanical properties of soft biological tissues. “The semiconductor industry is facing an acute heat problem. Further progress in manufacturing of microprocessors with node sizes of 7nm, 4nm, and even lower sizes in the roadmap require an acceleration in packaging technologies to compensate for the ever-growing heat densities in the next generation of devices. We, at Arieca, are developing Liquid Metal-based TIMs to give the designers the performance of liquid metals with the ease of manufacturing of thermal greases,” said Navid Kazem, CEO and co-founder at Arieca. Funds will be used to accelerate product development and scale up manufacturing. A spin off from Carnegie Mellon University founded in 2018, it is based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

Liufang Technology, also known as Hexagon Carbon Technology, raised tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.5M) in Series A funding led by South China Venture Capital, joined by Hangzhou Financial Investment and CrestValue. Liufang Tech offers silicon carbide (SiC) and tantalum carbide (TaC) coated graphite trays, with applications including LED and photovoltaic epitaxy. Founded in 2018, it is based in Shaoxing, China.

Ecomagnet raised €0.9M (~$0.9M) in seed funding from Clave Capital. Ecomagnet produces NdFeB (neodymium-iron-boron) permanent magnet powder using raw materials from discarded magnets. The recycled magnetic powder can be used to manufacture new magnets for hard drives, as well as electric motors and generators. Funds will be used for hiring and to design a pilot plant, where it aims to begin production in 2024. Founded in 2021 as a spin out from CEIT, it is based in Donostia, Spain.

Argosun Electronic New Materials received Series C+ financing from Amphora Capital and Guoyuan Capital. Argosun provides raw materials for the electronics industry, with products including high-purity metal organic source compounds and electronic special gases. Funding will be used to expand its production lines. Founded in 2012, it is based in Wuhu, China.

Power devices

Chiplink Technology raised CNY 100.0M (~$15.0M) in a pre-IPO round. It primarily develops power devices including DC-DC boost conversion, buck conversion, LDO, power management, and LED driver chips. Founded in 2012, it is based in Nanjing, China.

GaNext, also known as Gallium Future Technology, drew nearly CNY 100.0M (~$15.0M) in a Series A+ round from Shunwei Capital, GL Ventures, and IPV Capital. GaNext develops gallium nitride (GaN) power devices. It offers GaN switching device products suitable for 30W-120W mobile phone/notebook fast charging power adapters, as well as a 700W intelligent mixed-signal bridgeless totem pole PFC + LLC power supply solution using a control IC, which does not require DSP. It plans to roll out power supply solutions for 140W, 200W, and 330W low-power applications later this year. The startup is also in prototype development and testing of 800W to 3,600W server power supplies and computing power supplies. Funds will be used for new product development. Founded in 2020, it is based in Zhuhai, China.

Xiner Semiconductor drew nearly CNY 100.0M (~$15.0M) in Series C+ financing from Xiaomi. Xiner is a power semiconductor company, developing IGBT chips, driver chips, and modules. It focuses on high-voltage power devices for applications such as home appliances, induction heating, industrial control, and new energy vehicles. Funds will be used for R&D, particularly around automotive and renewable energy systems. Founded in 2013, it is based in Shenzhen, China.

Grecon Semi received tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.5M) in pre-Series A funding led by Sunic Capital, joined by Greatease Capital and others. Grecon Semi offers automotive-grade power semiconductors, including single-tube IGBTs, integrated IGBT modules, and silicon carbide (SiC) modules. It also offers infrared sensor chips. Funds will be used for R&D and expanding its IGBT module production line. Based in Shanghai, China, it was founded in 2018.

Sicred, also known as Zhixin Microelectronics, raised tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.5M) in angel funding led by Jinding Capital, joined by Taihe Capital and Timesbole. Sicred develops automotive-grade silicon carbide (SiC) MOSFETs and SiC Schottky barrier diodes. Funds will be used for new product tape out, hiring, and establishing supply chain relationships. Based in Shenzhen, China, it was founded in 2021.

Photonics

H-Chip Technology Group, also known as Huahuixin Group, raised nearly CNY 100.0M (~$15.0M) in a Series B round led by China Merchants Venture and Qingkong Chuangtou, joined by Beijing Innovation Industry Investment, Northern Light Venture Capital, and Shenzhen Capital Group. H-Chip Tech develops and manufactures micro-nano structured optical chips and laser chips. The company both designs its own optoelectronic products and offers joint R&D and foundry services for other optoelectronic chip design companies. Its products include imprint templates, nano-waveguides, super-structured metasurfaces, multi-layer film structures, and optical quantum devices. Funds will be used in expanding production capacity. Based in Tianjin, China, it was founded in 2017.

Nexus Photonics raised $5.0M in its first financing round from Phoenix Venture Partners, BlueSky Capital, and iGlobe Partners. Nexus Photonics has developed a heterogeneous photonics platform that enables on-chip laser integration supporting broadband wavelength range of operation from UV to IR and beyond. “With the combination of our new investors and the networks they bring in, we are set to leverage our heterogeneous silicon nitride photonic platform and accelerate the commercial deployment of photonic integrated circuits (PICs) for the entire industry,” said Tin Komljenovic, CEO of Nexus Photonics. Based in Goleta, California, USA, it was founded in 2018.

Wireless

Eridan raised $46.0M in Series B financing led by Capricorn Investment Group and Monta Vista Capital with additional participation from Social Capital, Diamond Edge Ventures, and Pilot Grove Management. Eridan has designed an RF front end module utilizing a direct polar transmitter in gallium nitride and silicon. Compared to current solutions based on linear amplifiers, the company claims it requires 10x less input power to provide the same coverage and offers 60-100x reduction in power consumption in sparsely populated areas. Initially targeting telecom equipment manufacturers building small cells and massive MIMO systems for urban and suburban locations, the module will be available with OpenRAN standard interfaces. Based in Mountain View, California, USA, it was founded in 2013.

Senscomm Semiconductor raised over CNY 300.0M (~$45.0M) in a Series A2 round led by Ping An Overseas Holdings and joined by USI Capital, SL Capital, Glory Ventures, Oriza Holdings, Gallizul, Leader VC, and others. Senscomm develops Wi-Fi SoCs. Its product families for Wi-Fi 6 include the Station Wi-Fi segment for IPC, STB, TV, and notebook; the AIoT Wi-Fi segment for industrial applications; and the broadband AP Wi-Fi segment for home and enterprise gateways, routers, and mesh applications. The startup says it has developed the entire chipset in-house, including the entire baseband (PHY/MAC) and RF. Funds will be used to prepare for mass production of several chipsets this year, sampling its Wi-Fi 7 ready AP router chipset, and hiring. Based in Suzhou, China, it was founded in 2018.

Pharrowtech closed a €15.0M (~$15.6M) Series A round led by Innovation Industries and joined by previous investors imec.xpand, Bloc Ventures, and KBC Focus Fund. Pharrowtech is developing millimeter wave (mmWave) RF transceivers and antenna technology. The company recently launched a 60 GHz CMOS radio-frequency integrated circuit (RFIC) and phased array antenna radio-frequency module (RFM) for 5G unlicensed fixed wireless access, wireless infrastructure, and consumer applications. Funding will be used for hiring as well as expansion in the U.S. “With the next phase of our growth underway, we are committed to providing RF solutions to multi-GHz links to enable low-cost infrastructure and consumer applications,” said Wim Van Thillo, CEO and co-founder, Pharrowtech. A spin out from Imec founded in 2019, it is based in Leuven, Belgium.

Zunpai Communication Technology raised hundreds of millions of yuan (CNY 100.0M is ~$15.0M) in pre-Series A funding from Allin Capital, Anysoft, FutureX Capital, Shanghai STVC Group, Vision Knight Capital, and Xiaomi. Zunpai Communication offers Wi-Fi router access point SoCs. It is currently developing chips for Wi-Fi 6 routers using a 2X2 MIMO architecture and targeting 3Gbps transmission rate. Based in Nanjing, China, it was founded in 2021.

Taolink Technologies raised CNY 100.0M (~$15.0M) in a Series A round from Xinyi Capital and others. Taolink develops chips for narrowband wireless communication in IoT devices. Its low power wide area network (LPWAN) system features massive MIMO, polar codes, license-free random access, and high concurrency. Along with SoCs, the company offers modules, relays, and gateways. Funds will be used for R&D and marketing. Taolink also intends to expand into passive scattering communication devices. Based in Shanghai, China, it was founded in 2019.

Shenzhen UComm Company raised nearly CNY 10.0M (~$1.5M) in angel funding from Taihe Fund. The startup develops baseband RF chips. Its particular focus is Wi-Fi 6/7 chips for IoT, gateway, access points, and routers. Founded in 2020, it is based in Shenzhen, China.

GalaChip, also known as Xinhe Semiconductor, raised Series A+ funding from Oriza Holdings and Qianhai Fund of Funds. The startup develops wireless communications chips, including Wi-Fi and 5G, primarily for smart home and IoT devices. Based in Wuxi, China, it was founded in 2019.

Quantum computing

Classiq added $3.0M to its Series B funding with the participation of HSBC, NTT Finance, and Intesa Sanpaolo. The round was first announced in February. Classiq offers automation and synthesis software to aid in the development of quantum algorithms, aiming to make knowledge of the underlying gate level details unnecessary by turning high-level functional models into optimized quantum circuits for a range of hardware and cloud providers. Steve Suarez, global head of innovation, global functions at HSBC, said, “Quantum computing has the potential to overhaul how we operate areas of the bank, like option pricing and risk analysis, which would lead to greater efficiencies and customer service improvements. We look forward to working with Classiq to explore this technology further.” The startup plans to use the Series B proceeds for hiring, opening new offices, and development. Based in Tel Aviv, Israel, and founded in 2020, it has raised $51M to date.

Qunnect received two grants totaling $1.9M from the U.S. Department of Energy. Qunnect is working towards quantum communications technology. It has developed a commercial quantum memory, one part of the startup’s quantum repeater suite. The grants will support the commercialization of a source, which generates entangled photon pairs for quantum-secure communication protocols. Qunnect’s source produces a pair of photons where one possesses a standard telecommunications frequency for fiber transmission and the other is tuned for optimal storage in the quantum memory, which it says eliminates the need for a separate frequency converter device within the network. The grants will also fund the basic research underlying a second type of quantum memory. Based in Brooklyn, New York, USA, it was founded in 2017.

Zhongwei Daxin Technology drew tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.5M) in angel funding from Sequoia Capital China and Matrix Partners. Zhongwei Daxin develops quantum computing control systems and quantum sensor chip products. The room temperature quantum measurement and control systems for silicon-based qubits and large-scale superconducting qubits include integrated scalable low-noise bias voltage unit, high-speed arbitrary waveform generation unit, radio frequency pulse generation unit, quantum feedback measurement, low phase noise microwave source, and ion trap electronic control. It has also created a chip-scale molecular clock, which the company is working to bring to commercialization. Funding will be used for R&D. Based in Chengdu, China, it was founded in 2017.

Universal Quantum received a £0.5M (~$0.6M) convertible note from Quantum Exponential. Universal Quantum is aiming to build million-qubit quantum computers. By harnessing trapped ions to carry out calculations using microwave technology, it reduces the need for large numbers of laser beams and reduces the cooling needed to a comparatively warm -200C. Its electronic quantum computing modules are based on silicon technology. Individual modules are connected using ultrafast electric field links to form a scalable architecture. Funds will be used for further development of the startup’s integrated quantum processing unit. Based in Brighton, UK, it was founded in 2018 as a spin-out from the University of Sussex.

Aegiq closed a funding round from Black Quant and Quantum Exponential, as well as private angels. Aegiq is building a quantum photonics platform using deterministic single-photon sources. A particular focus for the startup is quantum communications and quantum key distribution (QKD) applications. “We are bringing our unique photonics technology to market, based on over 20 years of research, to unlock a whole new generation of applications, ranging from quantum computing to microscopy,” said Max Sich, CEO of Aegiq. “This investment will help us accelerate development of our unique portfolio of products for R&D customers, as well as drive our further product development in quantum photonics, quantum information processing, and networking.” A spin out from the University of Sheffield in 2019, it is based in Sheffield, UK, and has raised nearly £4M (~$4.8M).

Sensors

MultiDimension Technology, also known as Doway Technology, raised hundreds of millions of yuan (CNY 100.0M is ~$15.0M) in venture funding from Dublin Capital Partners, HuaJin Securities, Runnong Investment, Tengjin Investment, and others. MDT designs and manufactures tunneling magnetoresistive (TMR) sensors, including in-lane and Z-axis sensors for high-resolution 3D magnetic field measurement, and offers custom design, ASIC integration, and foundry services for TMR, anisotropic magnetoresistive (AMR), and giant magnetoresistive (GMR) devices. Funding will be used in constructing an 8-inch wafer production line for magnetic sensors. Founded in 2010, it is based in Zhangjiagang, China.

Angstrong Tech raised more than CNY 100.0M (~$15.0M) in a Series B round from Costone Capital and others. Angstrong Tech develops 3D sensing solutions including 3D structured light cameras and direct time of flight (dToF) lidar as well as facial recognition and perception software. It targets applications such as consumer electronics, security and surveillance, and robotics. It is currently working on under-screen structured light technology and a consumer-grade solid-state lidar. Based in Shenzhen, China, it was founded in 2018.

Contactile raised $2.5M in seed funding led by True Ventures with participation from Flying Fox Ventures, Radar Ventures, and UNSW Founders. Contactile develops tactile sensors for robotics applications such as robotic grippers. Its sensor is a soft silicone array, similar to a human finger pad, that can measure 3D deflection, 3D force, and 3D vibration at each array element. This allows it to calculate torque, incipient slip, and friction, enabling grasping of unfamiliar or nonstandard objects. Founded as a spin out from UNSW Sydney in 2019, it is based in Sydney, Australia.

QDI Systems raised €1.3M (~$1.4M) in seed funding led by Maki.vc and joined by Carduso Capital. QDI Systems is developing imaging devices for medical applications based on quantum dots. According to the startup, X-ray imaging systems using quantum dots can return a higher image quality at lower radiation doses. Its initial target application is mammogram screening. The company doesn’t make imaging devices themselves, but rather provides its quantum dot material with instructions on how to manufacture the high-performance X-ray sensors. Founded as a spin out from the University of Groningen in 2019, it is based in Groningen, the Netherlands.

Cardea Bio was awarded a $1.1M grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Cardea Bio has developed what it calls a Biosignal Processing Unit, or BPU, using the company’s graphene-based biology-gated field-effect transistors. The BPU can convert biological signals into electrical signals and measure things like DNA, RNA, and proteins. With the grant, the company will develop an odorant receptor capable of detecting volatile compounds in breath to rapidly diagnose infectious diseases in developing countries. Based in San Diego, California, USA, it was founded in 2013.

Security

Cornami raised more than $68.0M in Series C funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, with participation from Impact Venture Capital, Octave Ventures, and existing investors, with strategic investment from Applied Ventures. Cornami aims to bring fully homomorphic encryption (FHE) to market. FHE would allow computation and analytics to happen on data that is encrypted, without the need to decrypt it, but it is computationally expensive. The startup says its software compiler technology and parallel reconfigurable computational fabric architecture makes it possible to process encrypted datasets in real-time at market prices. “Today, it is impossible to guarantee hack-proof firewalls, secure operating systems, processors without embedded trojans, or internal risk from employees in computing environments. Privacy and data security become achievable goals with FHE, allowing for a wide range of services to become accessible while maintaining full confidentiality of the data, the application, and service results,” said Walden (Wally) Rhines, CEO of Cornami. Based in Campbell, California, USA, it was founded in 2012.

AisinoChip Electronics Technology drew Series C financing from Linxi Venture Capital, Prime Mont VC, and TTCEL. AisinoChip designs security and encryption chips for applications including automotive, IoT, and smart cards. Founded in 2008, it is based in Shanghai, China.

Displays

Aledia received a $30.0M equipment financing line from Trinity Capital. Aledia develops and manufactures microLED chips based on a 3D architecture using gallium-nitride on-silicon microwires, which it claims can enable displays with better performance at competitive prices compared to current OLED technologies. The technology is currently implemented on 200mm silicon wafers and will evolve towards 300mm silicon wafers for high-volume production. It targets products such as smartphones, tablets, VR/AR systems, smartwatches, laptops, and wearable devices. The funds will be used to expand in-house manufacturing for nanowire growth and accelerate product platforms and development. Founded in 2011 as a spin out from CEA-Leti, it is based in Grenoble, France.

Azumo raised $30.0M in venture financing led by Anzu Partners with additional funding from SABIC Ventures, VectoIQ, Dipalo Ventures, and Energy Foundry. Azumo has developed sunlight-readable, reflective LCD front panel technology that reduces the number of LEDs required to light traditional backlit displays. “Our LCD 2.0 technology removes the restrictions around how and where we can interact with our devices, and for how long, because it helps displays to sip a fraction of the power and utilize available surrounding light to conserve battery life,” said Mike Casper, CEO of Azumo. It targets consumer, medical, industrial, educational, and automotive markets. Founded in 2008 as FLEx Lighting, it is based in Chicago, Illinois, USA, and Changzhou, China.

Novoshine drew hundreds of millions of yuan (CNY 100.0M is ~$15.0M) in Series C financing from Qingkong Ginkgo and others. Novoshine offers patterned sapphire substrates (PSS), gallium nitride (GaN) integrated display chip modules, micro LED chips, GaN UV sterilization devices, and transdermal drug delivery biochips. Based in Weifang, China, it was founded in 2014.

Teyi Technology received hundreds of millions of yuan (CNY 100.0M is ~$15.0M) in Series B funding led by CLP Fund, joined by ZSVC and Dongguan Junyi Investment Management. Teyitech manufactures automated testing equipment for the optoelectronic display industry. Its products cover optical testing, electrical testing, display adjustment, and visual testing for LCD panels, OLED, micro OLED, and mini/micro LED. Funds will be used for further product development in mini LED, micro LED, and semiconductor test equipment. Founded in 2014, it is based in Xiamen, China.

Nuovo Film raised Series D financing from Goldhouse Capital, CLP Smart Fund Management, and others. The company manufactures silver nanowire conductive films, primarily for touch and display applications. Based in Suzhou, China, it was founded in 2012.

AR/VR

INMO Technology received nearly $10.0M in Series A funding from Hello Group. INMO develops consumer-grade AR smart glasses for daily wear that can be used without a mobile phone. The company utilizes vertical array optical waveguide display technology for its lenses and recently released its flagship product, which has battery for up to 5.5 hours continuous use. Funds will be used for creating content for the AR glasses. Based in Shenzhen, China, it was founded in 2020.

Lynx drew $4.0M in a Series A round led by Somnium Space. Lynx offers a standalone mixed reality headset using four-fold catadioptric freeform prism optics with large field of view, spatial audio, hand-tracking, high quality 6DoF, and color passthrough. Capable of both VR and AR, it targets enterprise and consumer markets. Founded in 2019, it is based in Paris, France.

Lightspace Technologies raised €0.8 (~$0.8) in convertible note funding from Ardelta and others. Lightspace makes AR glasses based on multi-focal technology that uses multiple screens for eye accommodation in an attempt to be closer to natural viewing. The startup targets high-precision applications, such as use in medical and surgeries, manufacturing, and military. It also plans to create consumer-grade glasses. Lightspace is in the process of listing on the TSX Venture Exchange. Founded in 2014, it is based in Riga, Latvia.

NED+AR Display Technology drew Series B+ funding from Lenovo Ventures. NED+AR provides optical modules for AR and VR glasses. It offers several types of modules, including freeform prism and birdbath optics. Funds will be used to increase capacity and for R&D. The startup says it has obtained orders from several AR manufacturers. Based in Beijing, China, it was founded in 2015.

ADAS & Autonomy

Changsha Intelligent Driving Institute, also known as CiDi, raised CNY 300.0M (~$45.0M) in a Series C round led by Xin Ding Capital, joined by Baidu Ventures, Chuang He Hui Mao, Hunan Xingxiang Investment, Legend Star, Unifortune, VMS Asset Management, and Wolong Investment. CiDi provides a range of autonomous driving and V2X technologies, including multiple-modality sensor fusion, intelligent decision and planning, vehicle control and system execution, positioning, and V2X connectivity. It also offers roadside V2X systems. It targets L4 heavy-duty trucks, buses, and mining trucks. Based in Changsha, China, it was founded in 2017.

Phigent Robotics raised $30.0M in Series A funding led by INCE Capital and joined by Atypical Ventures, 5Y Capital, Jinsha River Innovation Investment, and strategic investor Horizon Robotics. Phigent Robotics develops automotive sensors along with AI-based visual imaging and 3D visual radar technology for autonomous driving and ADAS. The startup plans to launch a binocular vision radar product soon, which it says is combined with AI processing to simultaneously obtain basic 3D description information and high-level semantic information. Funds will be used for technology development, mass production, and wider commercial deployment. Founded in 2021, it is based in Beijing, China.

Leekr Technology raised nearly CNY 200.0M (~$29.6M) in Series A and A+ rounds that included Harvest Fund Management, FTZ Fund, Leaguer Venture Capital, and Vision Plus Capital. Leekr Technology is developing chassis-by-wire platforms for ADAS and autonomous vehicles. Its initial products are brake-by-wire systems for automated emergency braking, which also include regenerative braking capabilities for electric vehicles. It plans to expand to steering-by-wire, chassis domain controllers, and integrated chassis systems. Funds will be used for construction of a manufacturing line and for R&D. Based in Shanghai, China, it was founded in 2020.

Genesys Microelectronics received hundreds of millions of yuan (CNY 100.0M is ~$15.0M) in angel funding from Fosun International and Nanjing Nangang Iron and Steel United Co. Genesys Microelectronics is developing chips for automotive smart cockpits and ADAS. Funds will be used for R&D and hiring. Based in Shanghai, China, it was founded as a spin off from Fosun International in January 2022.

Sensible 4 received a €8.0M (~$8.4M) loan from the European Investment Bank. Sensible 4 is developing full-stack L4 self-driving software for last-mile applications that work in all weather, including difficult conditions such as snow, fog, heavy rain, and sandstorms, even in the absence of well-marked lanes. “The money has helped us finalize our baseline product and will now help us continue to pre-production with our non-exclusive partners, targeting mass-production,” said Harri Santamala, CEO of Sensible 4. Founded in 2017 as a spin-off from Aalto University, it is based in Espoo, Finland.

dRISK raised £1.7M (~$2.1M) in seed funding led by Foresight Williams Technology, joined by Stantec and previous investors Okapi Venture Capital, Netsu Equity, SaaS Venture Capital, Poetic Partners, and Mount Wilson Ventures. The startup offers training for autonomous vehicles that it says allows AVs to respond to high-risk events by presenting edge cases more frequently than they would otherwise be encountered. It assembles evidence of what has caused accidents and near misses and reconstructs conditions in simulation with a combination of real and synthesized data. “This investment will allow dRISK to accelerate our business plan and achieve our goal of introducing the dRISK product to the majority of the AV industry,” said Chess Stetson, CEO and founder of dRISK. Based in London, UK, it was founded in 2014.

Minus Zero drew $1.7M in seed funding led by Chiratae Ventures, joined by JITO Angel Network and other angel investors. Minus Zero is developing autonomous vehicles that can cope with unstructured and disorganized traffic scenarios, like the unpredictable traffic and conditions of Indian roads. It utilizes monocular camera-only sensors and does not require lidar or high-fidelity maps. “With multiple patents in the pipeline, our proprietary approach towards self-driving mimics human intuition giving the software an ability to gain confident insights even with lesser data inputs. This enables robust decision making, which is crucial for safe navigation in scenarios where extrinsic factors like poor traffic infrastructure, rash driving, harsh weather, etc. would have otherwise compromised the safety of the vehicle,” said Gagandeep Reehal, CEO and CTO of Minus Zero. Funds will be used for hiring and to launch its first vehicles, a fleet of fully driverless shuttles for areas such as universities, airports, and tourist destinations, which is planned for late 2022 or early 2023. The startup aims to roll out robotaxis in late 2023 or early 2024, depending on regulatory clearances. Founded in 2021, it is based in Bengaluru, India.

Aqronos raised tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.5M) in Series A+ financing from Fosun Capital and Oceanpine Capital. Aqronos develops solid-state lidar and perception systems for automotive ADAS and robotics applications. The funds will be used to set up an optical chip R&D center and an optical module trial production line. Founded in 2018, it is based in Denver, Colorado, USA.

Anzhi Auto drew tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.5M) in a Series A+ round from Yinke PE. Anzhi Auto offers 77GHz millimeter wave radar, smart cameras, and a sensor fusion system for ADAS and autonomous driving. Funds will be used to increase production capacity. Based in Suzhou, China, it was founded in 2015.

Apex.AI received a strategic investment from Daimler Truck. Apex.AI offers a safety-certified software development kit for automotive and mobility software and autonomous driving solutions, as well as adjacent markets such as agriculture, mining, IoT and industrial automation. Based in Palo Alto, California, USA, it was founded in 2017.

Robotic Research received a strategic investment from specialty vehicle maker Oshkosh Corporation, following a $228.0 Series A round in December 2021. Robotic Research provides autonomous driving solutions for commercial truck, bus, drayage, and logistics vehicles, with a focus on harsh, unstructured environments. Its vehicle-agnostic add-on autonomy kit manages on-road, off-road, or in the yard environments. The two companies have been working together since 2017 on projects for the U.S. Department of Defense and plan to expand the partnership to other industries such as emergency response and construction. Founded in 2002, it is based in Clarksburg, Maryland, USA.

WeRide received a strategic investment from Bosch. WeRide develops autonomous driving hardware and software up to L4. It has operated a robotaxi service in Guangzhou since 2019 and has since launched a fully driverless robobus service in the same city. The two companies will jointly develop software to provide L2-L3 assisted driving capabilities covering scenarios such as urban, highway, and elevated roads to automotive OEMs in the Chinese market. Bosch also took part in the company’s $400.0M round in March. Based in Guangzhou, China, it was founded in 2017.

Batteries

Group 14 Technologies raised over $400.0M in Series C funding led by Porsche with participation from OMERS Capital Markets, Decarbonization Partners, Riverstone Holdings, Vsquared Ventures, Moore Strategic Ventures, and others. Group14 develops composite materials for lithium-silicon batteries. The company says its micronized silicon-carbon powder has five times the capacity and enables up to 50% more energy density compared to conventional graphite for Li-ion battery anodes. It can be dropped in to existing manufacturing processes. The company plans to break ground on its second commercial-scale factory in the U.S., which is expected to go into operation in 2023. It also has a factory under construction in South Korea as a joint venture with SK Group, which is expected to be active this year. “We have been laser-focused on scaling our factories to deliver commercial quantities to customers in a mission to eradicate charge anxiety as fast as possible,” said Group14 co-founder and CEO Rick Luebbe. Founded in 2015, it is based in Woodinville, Washington, USA.

Greater Bay Technology, also known as Juwan Technology, raised nearly CNY 1.0B (~$149.8M) in Series A funding that included Borun Capital, Guangzhou Nan Yue Fund, SFUND, and Tencent. Greater Bay Technology develops and manufactures extra fast charging (XFC) lithium-ion batteries for EVs. Incubated by Chinese automaker GAC, the startup anticipates its battery will be included in the GAC AION model later this year, enabling it to charge 80% in 5-8 minutes. It is currently constructing a production and R&D center that is expected to add 8GWh to its annual XFC battery production in 2023. It plans to have an annual 120GWh capacity by 2025. Based in Guangzhou, China, it was founded in 2020.

Morrow Batteries raised €100.0M (~$106.6M) in venture funding led by Siemens Financial Services and ABB, joined by Nysnø Climate Investments, Arendals Fossekompani, and current shareholders PKA, NOAH AS, and Agder Energi Invest. Morrow manufactures lithium-ion battery cells. It plans to work toward manufacturing cobalt-free lithium manganese nickel oxide (LMNO) battery cells and eventually its in-house developed lithium sulfur batteries. The funds will finance the first phase of the company’s factory in Arendal, Norway, with a capacity to produce more than 1GWh battery cells each year. The plant will be fully powered by renewable hydroelectric energy and is expected to go into operation in 2023. In 2028, the startup expects to have an annual production capacity of 43GWh. Based in Oslo, Norway, it was founded in 2020.

Solithor drew €10.0M (~$10.4M) in seed funding led by imec.xpand and joined by LRM, Nuhma, FPIM, and others. Solithor is developing solid-state lithium-ion batteries using a new electrolyte that is neither a sulfide, an oxide, nor a polymer and does not need high operating temperatures to reach high lithium-ion conductivity. “Solithor’s technology is unique and is based on breakthrough chemistry and components– the nano-Solid Composite Electrolyte and the nano-anode, spearheaded within the EnergyVille labs and patented by Imec. This revolutionary technology will improve energy density, charging speeds and crucially, increase safety and will be far easier to manufacture than other solid-state batteries,” said Huw Hampson-Jones, Founder and CEO of Solithor. A spin out from Imec founded in 2021, it is based in Genk, Belgium.

Princeton NuEnergy drew $7.0M in seed funding led by electronics recycler Wistron Corporation and joined by Shell Ventures, Greenland Technologies, CleanTech Open, AIBasis Fund, WorldQuant Ventures, and angel round investors. Princeton NuEnergy provides direct recycling of lithium-ion batteries from electric vehicles and consumer electronics. It uses a low-temperature plasma-assisted separation process it says can recover up to 95% of all constituent materials found in all chemistries and formats of lithium-ion batteries. Funds will be used to accelerate production line development. A spin out from Princeton University in 2019, it is based in Bordentown, New Jersey, USA.

Natrion drew $2.0M in seed funding led by TechNexus Venture Collaborative with participation from Tamarack Global, Illinois Ventures, and private investors including Mark Cuban. Natrion has developed a polymer-ceramic hybrid solid electrolyte that drops into existing battery manufacturing lines to replace liquids. The startup says this Lithium Solid Ionic Composite (LISIC) can improve charging speeds, driving range, longevity, and safety for electric vehicles, and has the potential to benefit an array of other transportation and defense applications. “The Natrion technology enables a significant increase in the thermal threshold of the battery, thus reducing fire risk and improving battery durability and cycle life,” said Terry Howerton, co-founder and CEO of TechNexus Venture Collaborative. The funds will be used to build out in-house pouch cell prototyping capabilities, with an eye toward building a pilot production line in 2023. Founded in 2018 based on research from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Indiana University, it is based in Binghamton, New York, USA.

Pufaffen Electronic Technology received tens of millions of yuan (CNY 10.0M is ~$1.5M) in angel funding led by Plum Ventures and joined by Launch Design. Pufaffen develops automotive thermal management software, including for battery systems in electric vehicles. It is also working on battery electrolyte leakage detectors. Based in Shanghai, China, it was founded in 2019.

Britishvolt received a strategic investment in the single-digit millions of pounds (£1.0M is ~$1.2M) from shipping company Scorpio Group. Britishvolt manufactures lithium-ion battery cells, primarily for electric vehicles. It is currently constructing a 30GWh plant, with phase one expected to be complete in late 2023. The company aims to reduce the carbon footprint required to manufacture batteries and says the plant will be powered by solar and hydroelectric power. The two companies will collaborate on batteries and storage solutions for the maritime shipping industry. Britishvolt also recently acquired German battery cell manufacturer EAS. Founded in 2019, it is based in Blyth, UK.

COnovate received a nearly $1.0M convertible note led by Tundra Angels, Milwaukee Venture Partners, and individual investor Jennifer Abele, joined by other new and existing investors. COnovate has developed a composite material for lithium-ion battery anodes using a solid form of carbon monoxide that it says charges more than six times faster than graphite anodes, doubles the amount of energy storage, and uses renewable feedstocks. It can be used with existing battery designs and with current anode materials as an additive. “We will put this funding to work to further scale our material and demonstrate in LIBs with the support of our partners as we approach commercial volumes towards the end of next year. We think we are uniquely positioned to meet the increasingly aggressive demands for anode materials from the battery industry,” said Carol Hirschmugl, CEO and co-founder of COnovate. The startup plans to demonstrate a 2Ah battery and be positioned to produce 10kg batches for third party validation during 2022. It also expects to raise further funds this year. Founded as SafeLi in 2016 based on research from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, it is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.

Goldencell Electronics Technology received venture investment led by Fortune Venture Capital and joined by Baodu Investment, Bright Capital, Iflytek, Industrial Investment Corporation, Jinkong Haitou New and Old Kinetic Energy Conversion Fund, Pacific Capital Management, Shandong Caijin Touzi, Shanghai Chengyi New Energy Venture Investment, Silk Road Fund, Yinhong Fund, and Zhongke Innovation. The company manufactures lithium iron phosphate (LFP) and nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) batteries in a range of form factors for various applications. Founded in 2008, it is based in Shandong, China.

Qingtao Energy Development raised a round of venture financing. The company manufactures solid-state lithium batteries using nano ceramic fiber separators for a range of applications from consumer electronics to transportation and automotive. Based in Kunshan, China, it was founded in 2014.

Shuangyuan Technology received venture funding from Ori-mind Investment. The company makes sheet surface density measurement and control technology and machine vision inspection equipment for a range of industries including paper and medical disposables. One of its key areas of focus is inspection for lithium battery materials and foils. Based in Hangzhou, China, it was founded in 2006.

Energy harvesting

Ambient Photonics raised $31.0M in Series A financing led by Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund and Ecosystem Integrity Fund, joined by Future Shape and I Squared Capital. Ambient Photonics develops low-light energy harvesting photovoltaic technology for IoT, smart home, and consumer electronics that is capable of harvesting energy across the entire light spectrum, including both artificial and natural light. Funds will be used to build a low-light solar cell production facility with a capacity of tens of millions of units per year. Founded in 2019 based on technology developed at the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, it is based in Mill Valley, California, USA.

Trameto closed a second round of seed funding from the Development Bank of Wales and GPS company u-blox. Trameto designs power management ICs for energy harvesting applications. Its PMIC automatically adapts to accept input from outdoor or indoor light, thermal gradient, or vibration energy harvesters. “This funding round enables us to embark on the next part of our journey to engage more widely with the market to complete and promote our OptiJoule energy harvesting PMIC solutions. Meeting the demand to remove or reduce the reliance on batteries used in wireless IoT devices is one of the initial application markets we are addressing. OptiJoule’s harvester-agnostic and autonomous approach offers considerable design flexibility and BOM cost savings for IoT device manufacturers,” said Huw Davies, CEO and co-founder of Trameto. Founded in 2017, it is based in Chepstow, UK.

Table: Selected companies that received funding in May 2022.

Company Sector Amount Raised
(M, USD)
Funding Type Headquarters
Group 14 Technologies Batteries $400.0 Series C USA
Greater Bay Technology Batteries $149.8 Series A China
Gowin Semiconductor FPGA $132.1 Series B+ China
HJ Micro CPU $120.0 Angel, Pre-A China
Morrow Batteries Batteries $106.6 Venture Norway
Rong Semiconductor Manufacturing $105.0 Venture China
6K Materials $102.0 Series D USA
Quillion Technology CPU $89.0 Series A China
Cornami Security $68.0 Series C USA
KST Optical Equipment $59.5 Series C China
ScienChem Materials $48.6 Venture China
Eridan Wireless $46.0 Series B USA
proteanTecs Semi & Design $45.0 Venture Israel
Rigger Micro Technologies Packaging $45.0 Series B China
Senscomm Semiconductor Wireless $45.0 Series A2 China
Changsha Intelligent Driving Institute ADAS & Autonomy $45.0 Series C China
Ehiway FPGA $44.9 Series B+ China
Jeejio AI HW $44.6 Pre-A China
Ambient Photonics Energy Harvesting $31.0 Series A USA
SiMa.ai AI HW $30.0 Series B USA
Aledia Display $30.0 Debt France
Azumo Display $30.0 Venture China
Phigent Robotics ADAS & Autonomy $30.0 Series A China
Leekr Technology Auto Components $29.6 Series A, A+ China
Point2 Technology Networking $22.0 Series B South Korea
Pharrowtech Wireless $15.6 Series A Belgium
Vulcan Technology Networking $15.0+ Strategic China
Zunpai Communication Technology Wireless $15.0+ Pre-A China
MultiDimension Technology Sensor $15.0+ Venture China
Novoshine Display $15.0+ Series C China
Teyi Technology Display $15.0+ Series B China
Genesys Microelectronics ADAS & Autonomy $15.0+ Angel China
Phenomenon Array Networking $15.0 Series A China
Kyber Technology MES $15.0 Series A China
Shengbo Intelligent Equipment Equipment $15.0 Series A China
Scipher Technologies E-Waste $15.0 Series B Australia
Chiplink Technology Power Semi $15.0 Pre-IPO China
GaNext Power Semi $15.0 Series A+ China
Xiner Semiconductor Power Semi $15.0 Series C+ China
H-Chip Technology Group Photonics $15.0 Series B China
Taolink Technologies Wireless $15.0 Series A China
Angstrong Tech Sensor $15.0 Series B China
Salience Labs AI HW $11.5 Seed UK
Solithor Batteries $10.4 Seed Belgium
INMO Technology AR/VR $10.0 Series A China
Sensible 4 ADAS & Autonomy $8.4 Debt Finland
Tignis Process Control $7.2 Series A USA
Princeton NuEnergy Batteries $7.0 Seed USA
Arieca Materials $6.5 Series A USA
Nexus Photonics Photonics $5.0 Venture USA
Lynx AR/VR $4.0 Series A France
Testron Technology Equipment $3.0 Series A China
Classiq Quantum $3.0 Series B Israel
Contactile Sensor $2.5 Seed Australia
dRISK ADAS & Autonomy $2.1 Seed UK
Saykal Electronics Semi & Design $2.0 Venture Turkey
Natrion Batteries $2.0 Seed USA
Qunnect Quantum $1.9 Grant USA
Minus Zero ADAS & Autonomy $1.7 Seed India
Moli Semiconductor AMS $1.5+ Angel China
MotionSilicon MCU $1.5+ Angel China
Zhihui Microelectronics GPU $1.5+ Pre-A China
Glory Photonix Equipment $1.5+ Series A China
Hong Hu Semiconductor Technology Equipment $1.5+ Series A China
Sictun Semiconductor Equipment $1.5+ Series A China
Truth Instruments Equipment $1.5+ Angel China
Liufang Technology Materials $1.5+ Series A China
Grecon Semi Power Semi $1.5+ Pre-A China
Zhongwei Daxin Technology Quantum $1.5+ Angel China
Aqronos Auto Components $1.5+ Series A+ USA
Anzhi Auto ADAS & Autonomy $1.5+ Series A+ China
Pufaffen Electronic Technology Batteries $1.5+ Angel China
Sicred Power Semi $1.5 Angel China
Shenzhen UComm Company Wireless $1.5 Angel China
QDI Systems Sensor $1.4 Seed Netherlands
Britishvolt Batteries $1.2+ Strategic UK
Cardea Bio Sensor $1.1 Grant USA
COnovate Batteries $1.0 Note USA
Ecomagnet Materials $0.9 Seed Spain
Lightspace Technologies AR/VR $0.8 Note Latvia
Universal Quantum Quantum $0.6 Note UK
Hexin Technology CPU Undisclosed Venture China
Polar Bear Tech Semi & Design Undisclosed Venture China
Desen Precision Equipment Equipment Undisclosed Strategic China
Tofwerk Equipment Undisclosed Strategic Switzerland
Argosun Electronic New Materials Materials Undisclosed Series C+ China
GalaChip Wireless Undisclosed Series A+ China
Aegiq Quantum Undisclosed Venture UK
AisinoChip Electronics Technology Security Undisclosed Series C China
Nuovo Film Display Undisclosed Series D China
NED+AR Display Technology AR/VR Undisclosed Series B+ China
Apex.AI ADAS & Autonomy Undisclosed Strategic USA
Robotic Research ADAS & Autonomy Undisclosed Strategic USA
WeRide ADAS & Autonomy Undisclosed Strategic China
Goldencell Electronics Technology Batteries Undisclosed Venture China
Qingtao Energy Development Batteries Undisclosed Venture China
Shuangyuan Technology Batteries Undisclosed Venture China
Trameto Energy Harvesting Undisclosed Seed UK

Funds & investors

SAIC Motor plans to contribute an additional CNY 7.5B (~$1.1B) to the Qingdao SAIC Innovation and Upgrading Industry Equity Investment Fund Partnership. The fund focuses on the automobile industry and supply chain, including new energy, intelligent and connected vehicles, ride hailing, manufacturing, auto chips, and new materials.

BlueRun Ventures China closed its second RMB and USD dual-currency fund at over CNY 5.5B (~$817.0M). The firm targets early-stage startups, particularly in the pre-A and Series A stages. It invests in companies in the areas of AIoT, autonomous vehicles, robotics, enterprise services, medical services, consumer technology, and smart manufacturing.

Cambridge Innovation Capital raised £225.0M (~$285.5M) for its second fund. The firm focuses on deeptech and life sciences businesses from the University of Cambridge and the broader Cambridge ecosystem. Startups it has invested in include quantum, photonics, and flexible electronics companies.

Micron Ventures committed $200.0M to its Fund II, which will target early-stage deep tech startups. Micron has previous funded companies in AI-assisted manufacturing, edge security, and autonomous vehicle development. 20% of invested capital in the new Fund II will be aimed at startups led by women and other underrepresented groups. “Investing in startups provides Micron with a deeper perspective on technology innovations and a view of disruptive ideas on the horizon,” said Rene Hartner, vice president of corporate development at Micron. “The future will be built on diverse ideas that aim to address the world’s most urgent problems – funding the deep tech startup community will propel innovation forward and help open doors to new business opportunities for Micron.”

Investors including ASML, Philips, Brabantse Ontwikkelings Maatschappij (BOM), research institute TNO, PME Pension Fund, and Invest-NL are launching the €100.0M (~$107.0M) DeepTechXL Fund I to invest in Dutch deep tech startups. The fund expects to make approximately 20 early-stage seed investments and 15 follow-on investments to finance growth. It also plans to offer access to knowledge, network, technology, licenses, and business development support.

Cybernetix Ventures launched a $50.0M fund to invest in early-stage robotics, automation, and AI companies. The fund will focus on pre-seed, seed, and Series A investments into companies in the U.S. and around the world developing robotics solutions for manufacturing, logistics, construction, and healthcare verticals. The fund will also invest in key robotics-enabling software companies in AI/machine learning, cloud robotics, cybersecurity, autonomy, and sensors/edge computing.

The SEMI Foundation was awarded a $1.5M grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The grant will fund development of a career and apprenticeship network in Michigan to support semiconductor industry job training. In phase one, the SEMI Foundation will engage microelectronics employers, players in the automotive and manufacturing industries, and educational and workforce development providers. In phase two, the SEMI Foundation will conduct focus groups and work with employers to identify jobs in the greatest demand as well as the skills and competencies needed for a skilled, diverse workforce.

Alberta IoT raised CAD $1.6M (~$1.2M) from PrairiesCan and Alberta Innovates. The funding will be used to support and help scale up startups developing or deploying IoT and emerging technologies in the Canadian province of Alberta. The funding will also support Alberta Science Park, an initiative to foster industry-academia collaboration.

New incubator company Quantum Catalyzer (Q-Cat) launched to create and support quantum technology startups. “Today, there is no easy path to transition quantum technologies from academic labs into the real world. Q-Cat will change that by lowering the barriers to company formation and progress — catalyzing a new generation of high-impact quantum companies,” said founder Ronald Walsworth. “Our model is unique. We create early-stage quantum companies and help them grow through expert guidance and key resources.” Over time, Q-Cat companies become independent entities, with Q-Cat retaining partial ownership. It has created four companies to date: EuQlid (quantum imaging for next generation microelectronics), QDM.IO (quantum instrumentation for research and education), XerXes Technologies (quantum sensors for extreme environments), and Q4ML (quantum data for machine learning). Backed by Quantonation and TDF Ventures, Q-Cat is based in College Park, Maryland, USA.

AI applications

The range of industries applying AI is vast. This month, some of the largest rounds for companies using AI in products or services went to those in the insurance, logistics, and legal fields.

  • Acrisure raised $725.0M in Series B funding for its use of AI-assisted decision making in its insurance, real estate, and other financial services businesses.
  • Inflection AI raised $223.0M in venture funding to train computers to better understand conversational natural language.
  • Motive raised $150.0M in Series F for its AI-powered fleet management platform that helps improve driver safety and track fleet spending.
  • GreyOrange raised $110.0M in venture funding for its warehouse fulfillment robots and AI orchestration software.
  • Hugging Face raised $100.0M in Series C for its community-driven repository of machine learning models, data sets, and apps.
  • Optibus raised $100.0M in Series D for its end-to-end software platform for public transportation planning and operations.
  • Evisort raised $100.0M in Series C for its contract management software that can extract context, integrate data into other enterprise systems, and automate a range of legal and operational workflows.

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