Nantero has been developing so-called NanoRAM or NRAM technology since it was founded in 2001 and has raised more than $120 million since then. The company has adopted an intellectual property licensing business model and has said it has licensees that are close to getting products into the market (see CEO interview: Nantero’s Schmergel says NRAM production is close).
Cisco Investments is the investment arm of Cisco Systems Inc. (San Jose, Calif.), a manufacturer of networking and telecommunications systems. Kingston Technology Corp. (Fountain Valley, Calif.) is the world’s largest independent manufacturer of DRAM memory modules.
Other previously disclosed strategic investors include Dell Technologies Capital, Schlumberger and CFT Capital, a Chinese semiconductor investment firm associated with foundry SMIC and the Chinese government’s China National IC Fund. Three other strategic investors have not been disclosed, but Nantero states that these three are all “leading global companies in the semiconductor industry.”
Nantero also said that it has recently expanded product development with new and existing customers. It added that it now has more than a dozen partners and customers in the consumer electronics, enterprise systems, and semiconductor industries actively working on NRAM.
NRAM products in development include:
a multigigabit DDR4-compatible nonvolatile standalone memory product with speed comparable to DRAM and a lower price per gigabit than DRAM.
a cache memory chip for SSDs or HDDs that removes the need for battery backup, thereby increasing the possible cache size and improving potential drive performance
an embedded nonvolatile memory that can scale at least to 5nm in size and operate at high temperature, making it suitable for automotive and IoT applications.
Next: Schmergel speaks
“No other memory combines DRAM-like speed, low power, nonvolatility and reasonable manufacturing costs, along with excellent temperature and radiation stability. We are pleased to see the industry also recognizing these significant competitive advantages as evidenced by these investors and our continually growing customer base,” said Greg Schmergel, co-founder and CEO of Nantero, in a statement.
Fujitsu Semiconductor, working with foundry Mie Fujitsu Semiconductor, is expected to be the first customer to bring NRAM to market, now due in 2019.
Nantero has set up a wholly-foreign-owned-entity (WFOE) in Beijing, China, as part of its commitment to grow and expand its business in China with both Chinese customers and manufacturers.
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