Analog, MEMS and sensor startups to follow in 2022
Nine companies have been brought in to replace nine departures from last year’s list (see Analog, MEMS and Sensor startups to follow in 2021).
The newcomers to the list include companies active in: MEMS microphones, speakers and scanners; quantum image sensing and capacitive touch sensing; analog sub-threshold AI processing and neuromorphic processing; digitally modulated radar and graphene materials.
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 and underlined 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 offers a configurable, multi-process analog IP platform methodology called Composa that allows optimization of analog IP for multiple foundries and nodes. www.agileanalog.com
(See US intelligence VC invests in Agile Analog and Agile teams with Silex for security IP).
Analog Inference Inc. (Santa Clara, Calif.), founded in 2018, is developing circuits for deep sub-threshold analog in-memory computation. Founded by veterans of the computing industry and backed by Khosla Ventures. The company is currently developing its first generation of products. www.analog-inference.com
(See Analog inference startup raises $10.6 million – eeNews Analog
Celera Inc. (San Jose, Calif.), founded in 2018, has developed an AI-based software platform for automated custom analog/mixed-signal IC development that the company claims improves R&D efficiency by a factor of 100. www.celeratechnologies.com
(see AI EDA startup keeps business model options open).
E-peas SA (Mont-Saint-Guibert, Belgium) is fabless semiconductor company aiming at developing low-power circuits, such as energy harvester interfaces, microcontrollers and image sensors. 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. www.e-peas.com
(See E-Peas teams for three phase energy harvesting and e-peas, Energous team for free space wireless charging)
Exo 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. www.exo.inc
(See Exo raises $220 million for ultrasound scanner development)
Next: From Cambridge to Israel
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. www.flussoltd.com
(See Flusso partners with ARM’s Pelion for IoT)
Gigajot Technology Inc. (Pasadena, Calif.) was founded in 2017 as a spin-off from Dartmouth College to develop and commercialize the next generation of image sensors, quanta image sensors (QIS). QIS is the next generation of image sensors where high-speed single-photon detection is used to unlock new image capture capabilities. The company was founded by two PhD students at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire and Eric Fossum, a professor at Dartmouth college who is widely regarded as the father of the CMOS image sensor. www.gigajot.tech
GMEMS Technology Inc. (Milpitas, Calif.) was founded in 2016 by a team that includes professors from Stanford University and University of California at Davis. GMEMS, having started in MEMS design services, has made the leap to product vendor. GMEMS has a custom production flow installed on Tower’s 0.18-micron CMOS manufacturing process from where it is supplying MEMS microphones. www.gmems.com
(See MEMS startup ramps microphone production with Tower)
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. The company’s first product is the RLWi4, a 2.4GHz ISM band Wi-Fi front-end IP core that uses backscatter to transmit data at up to 1Mbit per second. www.haila.io
(See Backscatter Wi-Fi transceiver core aims for GloFo 180nm)
Newsight Imaging Ltd. (Ness Ziona, Israel) specializes in image sensors for 3D machine vision and spectral analysis applications, serving various verticals, including: automotive, robotics, smart city, mobile, industry, health. The company has developed the NSI1000 depth sensor and a reference deisgn for a solid-state enhanced time of flight (eToF) lidar. www.nstimg.com
(See Depth sensor enhanced for outdoor use)
Next: MEMS scanning to radar
OQmented GmbH (Itzehoe, Germany) was founded in 2018 to develop and sell MEMS mirror and laser scanning technologies. OQmented looks to supply technology, automotive and optics companies with components for consumer AR, robotics and 3D camera applications. The company was formed as a spin-out from Fraunhofer Institute, where bubble MEMS technology was first researched. www.oqmented.com
(See VCs double-down on OQmented’s ‘bubble MEMS’)
Paragraf Ltd. (Cambridge, England), founded in 2017, is a supplier of graphene-based electronic devices. Paragraf developed processes for producing single-atom thick, two-dimensional materials, including graphene, directly onto crystalline substrates, such as: silicon, silicon-carbide, sapphire and gallium-nitride. The company also supplies the GHS series of high-performance graphene Hall sensors. www.paragraf.com
(See Graphene Hall Effect sensor works at extremes and CEO interview: Building a graphene industry, one layer at time)
proteanTecs Ltd. (Haifa Israel), founded in 2017, has developed a cloud-based platform, that combines data created in chip-embedded agents, with machine learning, to predict faults before they become failures. Insights can gained at chip design, chip production, system production and after deployment. The level of Universal Chip Telemetry (UCT) is determined by the coverage and variety of agents integrated. It is applicable to chip developers, system builders and service providers. www.proteantecs.com
(See Advantest, MediaTek invest in chip-monitor startup and Chip-monitor startup in production, grabs more capital).
SigmaSense LLC (Austin, Texas), founded in 2015, provides a digital sensing technology to address noise and tuning challenges of touch sensors. The SigmaTouch Controller utilizes capacitive imaging to create intuitive machine interfaces. SigmaSense technology enables access to many types of information about interactions with mobile devices, large format interactive displays, and offers custom sensing applications. www.sigmasense.com
(See Capacitive sensing startup raises $24 million in Series B)
SiLC Technologies Inc. (Monrovia, Calif.) is focused on enabling human-like perception across autonomous driving, robotics, smart cameras and more. SiLC offers a frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) imaging system that provides 4D sensing on a chip designed to operate at 1550nm wavelength. Founded in 2018 by silicon photonics industry veterans, SiLC uses a proprietary silicon-based semiconductor fabrication process to manufacture its chips and standard, automated IC style assembly processes. www.silc.com
(See SiLC raises funds for FMCW 4D sensor)
Next: Chinese-backed neuromorphics to MEMS microspeakers
SynSense GmbH (Zurich, Switzerland) was founded as aiCTX in 2017 to develop neuromorphic computation often based on visual data. The company provides dedicated mixed-signal neuromorphic processors that provide a combination of ultra-low power consumption and low-latency performance. SynSense is backed by Chinese venture capital after being spun out of the Institute of Neuroinformatics at the University of Zurich in March 2017. www.synsense.ai
(See Prophesee, SynSense form vision computing partnership and Europe spends €3 million in neuromorphic R&D around SynSense)
Syntiant Corp. (Irvine, Calif.), a startup formed in 2017, is developing analog neural networking processors operating in flash memory. Neural Decision Processors (NDPs) perform large-scale neural network inference while consuming up to 1000x lower power than traditional CPU, GPU and DSP solutions. The NDP is suitable for always-on battery and energy harvested applications from mobile phones and wearable devices to smart sensors and drones. www.syntiant.com
(See Renesas teams with Syntiant on voice-controlled visual AI and Syntiant processor ups neural performance 25x)
Uhnder Inc. (Austin, Texas) was founded in 2015 to develop an automotive radar-on-a-chip. The company’s first product is designed into the Icon radar from automotive supplier Magna. Uhnder’s digitally modulated radar chip integrates 192 virtual channels – a jump up from the 8 to 24 virtual channels used in standard radars. A higher number of detections per frame makes it possible to track and classify more objects and can reduce errors due to interference because of a plethora of radar signals. www.uhnder.com
(see TDK, Uhnder partner for high-precision imaging radar platform)
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. www.ultrasensesys.com
(See Machine learning improves ultrasound buttons and Former InvenSense executives launch MEMS ultrasound interface startup)
xMEMS Lab Inc. (Santa Clara, Calif.) has developed a monolithic MEMS speaker for TWS and personal audio devices. xMEMS has 10 granted patents and over 70 patents pending for its technology. The company is dedicated to designing advanced solutions and applications by integrating smart methodologies with MEMS technology for a range of consumer electronics devices. www.xmems.com
(See xMEMS Lab announces silicon speaker in production and Startup launches piezoMEMS speaker for TWS earphones).
Related links and articles:
Analog, MEMS and Sensor startups to follow in 2021
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