Nine companies have been brought in to replace nine departures from last year’s list (see Analog, MEMS and sensor startups to follow in 2020).

The newcomers to the list include companies active in biologically modulated transistors, IP for circuit monitoring, EDA for mixed-signal design, analog artificial intelligence, MEMS for flow sensing, RF and radar circuits and backscatter wireless communications, CMOS image sensors,

Below are 20 startup companies we feel are worth keeping track of during 2021 listed in alphabetical order. New entrants to the list are highlighted with an italic entry.


Agile Analog Ltd. (Cambridge, England) is an analog IP company that was formed in 2017 by CTO Michael Hulse and led by CEO Tim Ramsdale and chairman Peter Hutton. Ramsdale and Hutton were previously senior executives at ARM. The company is now rolling out a growing list of analog circuits suitable for various CMOS and FDSOI manufacturing processes and has welcomed Sir Hossein Yassaie to its board of directors.

(see Configurable analog IP wins slots in IoT wireless transceivers and CEO interview: The importance of being agile)


Cambridge Touch Technology Ltd. (Cambridge, England), founded in 2012, is a provider of 3D multipoint touch technologies to the consumer electronics, automotive, industrial and military markets. CTT supports its OEM and supply chain customers with IP, know-how, analog and digital technologies, and system architectures.

(see Cambridge touchscreen developer attracts Chinese cash)


Cardea Bio Inc. (San Diego, Calif.), founded in 2013, has developed a graphene-based biologically-gated transistor that can read molecules and identify disease markers. The company has partnered with Nanosens Innovations to develop the CISPR-chip, that scan genomes for particular mutations.

(see Biological sensing transistor made available for Covid-19 testing)


Celera Inc. (San Jose, Calif.), founded in 2018, has  developed an AI-based software platform for automated custom Analog/Mixed-Signal Integrated Circuit development that the company claims improves R&D efficiency by a factor of 100.

(see Artificial intelligence speeds analog/mixed-signal design and AI EDA startup keeps business model options open).


Cista Systems Corp. (San Jose, Calif.), founded in 2013, has developed a number of CMOS image sensors making use of the Chinese foundry SMIC’s 0.13-micron BSI technology platform.

(See Image sensor startup teams with SMIC)

Next: From Belgium to China

E-peas Semiconductors (Mont-Saint-Guibert, Belgium) has announced its first chip in energy management IC for use with photovoltaic and thermoelectric energy harvesting. The company was founded in 2014 with a vision to address Internet of Things applications on two fronts; by increasing harvested energy and by reducing the energy consumption of circuit blocks.

(See E-peas’ PMIC harvests energy by induction)


eXo Imaging Inc. (Redwood City, Calif.) was founded in 2015 by serial entrepreneur and visionary Janusz Bryzek with a plan to develop handheld ultrasound imager. The firm has developed a piezoelectric micro-machined ultrasound transducer (pMUT) that it is marrying with ultrasound imaging algorithms and “deep learning” processors as well as cloud and ‘fog’ computing. The company has raised about $100 million since inception five years ago.

(See Ultrasound imaging startup takes money raised to $50 million).


Flusso Ltd. (Cambridge, England) was founded in 2016 as a spin-off from the University of Cambridge. The company uses a CMOS MEMS platform and takes advantage of the programmability and configurability that allows. The flowmeter is packaged and assembled using microelectronic techniques providing both performance and scalability of manufacturing to tens of millions of parts per month.

(see Cambridge startup launches world’s smallest flow sensor)


Haila Technologies Inc. (Montreal, Canada) was founded in 2017 and uses a backscattering technique to modulate digital sensor data on top of ambient signals of multiple protocols while maintaining the integrity of the signal. This allows HaiLa sensor tags to be used with multiple wireless protocols, reducing deployment costs and risks, the company claims. HaiLa would provide access to the HaiLa Wi-Fi IP core by the end of 2020.

(see Backscatter wireless startup promises IP core by year end)


Hanking Electronics (Liaoning) Co. Ltd. (Shenyang, China), founded in April 2011, is a privately funded MEMS company and a subsidiary of the Hanking Industrial Group. Hanking Electronics focuses on developing, fabrication and marketing MEMS products and related electronics components. It provides customers with design and development, fabrication processing, volume manufacturing, MEMS foundry services, MEMS sensors, MEMS actuators, ASIC, MEMS technology and application consulting.

(see Hanking offers MEMS foundry services)

Next: From radar to on-chip agents

Lunewave Inc. (Tuscon, Ariz.), a 2017 startup developing antenna and radar sensor technology for use in self-driving vehicles and other applications, has raised $5 million in seed funding. Lunewave uses 3D printing to create a so-called Luneburg lens antenna. A Luneburg lens is spherically symmetric with a refractive index that decreases radially from the center to the outer surface.  This produces a spherical sensor with a 360-degree field of view that Lunewave is proposing to be used with radar in self-driving vehicles.

(see Radar sensors and antenna startup closes $7M in investment and Funds raised for 3D-printed automotive antenna).


MixComm Inc. (Chatham, New Jersey) is a millimeter wave antennas to algorithms company developing transformative solutions for emerging wireless applications and markets. MixComm was co-founded in 2017 by Dr. Harish Krishnaswamy of Columbia University’s Engineering School and Frank Lane, formerly Senior Director at Flarion Technologies and Vice President of Technology for Qualcomm.

(see CEO interview: The joy of RFSOI with MixComm’s Mike Noonen and Startup launches 5G front-end beamforming IC)


Movellus Inc. (San Jose, Calif.) has launched itself on the market with a focus on the use of digital design and verification tools to implement analog circuit functionality. The company was formed in April 2014. In May 2018 Movellus announced it had received an undisclosed amount of funding from Intel.

(see Battery-free machine monitoring chip uses nanowatt clock IP and Intel doubles down on analog IP from digital tools)


Newsight Imaging Ltd. (Ness Ziona, Israel), is a developer of CMOS image sensor chips for 3D vision and spectral analysis. The company uses CMOS to combine image sensor pixels, A-to-D conversion and digital processing monolithically to make time-of-flight distance calculations. It makes line and area sensors with resolution up to about 640 by 400 pixels that can be used for distance sensing in a line and distance and such applications as facial recognition. The company was founded in 2016.

(see Israeli smart image sensor startup raises funds and Tower begins making image sensor-processors for lidar)


ProteanTecs Ltd. (Haifa, Israel) has proposed the use of software agents embedded in chips to monitor integrated circuits and predict failures. The proposed technology makes use of artificial intelligence, analytics on-chip and cloud-based services to monitor and predict reliability of the chip throughout its life. The technology is also of use at the system and service level. The company was founded in 2017.

(see Chip-monitor startup in production, grabs more capital and CEO interview: Preparing for the on-chip feedback revolution)

Next: From 4D sensing to energy harvested Bluetooth

SiLC Technologies Inc. (Monrovia, Calif.) a silicon photonics startup founded in 2017, has launched an integrated frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) lidar on a chip designed to operate at 1550nm wavelength.

(see Startup to show eye-safe lidar transceiver)


SmartSens Technology Co. Ltd. (Shanghai, China), founded in 2011, is a supplier of CMOS image sensors. It has R&D teams in Silicon Valley and Shanghai and an ISO-certified supply chain infrastructure to supply CMOS image sensors for security and surveillance, consumer, automotive and other mass market applications. The company signed a license agreement with IBM in 2018.

(see Xiaomi helps image sensor startup raise $225 million and Video sensor for smart vision systems)


Syntiant Corp. (Irvine, Calif.), a startup formed in 2017 is developing analog neural networking processors operating in flash memory. Syntiant’s neural decision processors (NDPs) remove data movement penalties by performing neural network computations in flash memory. The company has an agreement to marry its neural decision processors (NDPs) with the microphone technology of Infineon Technologies AG (Munich, Germany).

(see AI audio startup ships one million ICs, raises funds and Syntiant, Sensory deliver multi-language speech recognition)


UltraSense Systems Inc. (San Jose, Calif.), a startup formed in 2017, has announced an ultrasound-based user interface. The company has developed an ultrasound actuator/sensor that can be attached to the inside surface of an enclosure to create a touch user interface. The MEMS-based technology operates at megahertz frequencies. It sends and receives pressure wave signals through 5mm of aluminium or glass and so can detect strength of tap and avoids the need for cut outs or openings in the enclosure.

(see Startup gets backers for ultrasound interface and Former InvenSense executives launch MEMS ultrasound interface startup)


Wiliot Inc. (San Diego, Calif.) is a fabless semiconductor company formed by a group of engineers whose previous company, Wi-Fi pioneer Wilocity, was acquired by Qualcomm in 2014. Wiliot is setting out to develop a Bluetooth chip powered by energy harvested from radio waves and thereby create passive SoC platforms for the IoT market. Founded in 2017.


Related links and articles:

Analog, MEMS and sensor startups to follow in 2020

Analog, MEMS and sensor startups to follow in 2019

Analog, MEMS and sensor startups to follow in 2018

Analog, MEMS and sensor startups to follow in 2017

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