MEMS startup raises $100 million to air-cool processors

MEMS startup raises $100 million to air-cool processors

Feature articles |
By Peter Clarke

Startup Frore Systems Inc. (San Jose, Calif.) has unveiled a couple of MEMS products for active air cooling of chips and raised $100 million in a Series C round of finance.

The company, founded by two former Qualcomm executives, and in a development project with Intel, claims that by putting its MEMS devices, called AirJets, on top of microprocessors it can increase the amount of time the devices can operate in turbo mode without overheating, effectively doubling performance.

The company was founded in 2018 and has now raised $116 million in total from such sources as Mayfield, Addition, Clear Ventures and Qualcomm Ventures. The company has 75 employees and is working with Intel and Qualcomm and Intel- and Arm-based computers using the cooling technology are expected to arrive soon.

In a statement on Frore’s website Josh Newman, general manager of mobile platforms at Intel, is quoted saying his company is helping Frore Systems prepare its technology for use in future Intel Evo laptop computers.

Moving membranes

The AirJet MEMS contain membranes that with electric stimulation vibrate at a resonant ultrasonic frequency with tens of microns of amplitude. The membranes are arranged to pull air in through slots on the top of the MEMS package and down on to the processor.

The technology has advantages over forced air cooling using a fan, according to Frore Systems. It can generate superior air flow over the processor with much less noise. It generates 1750 pascals of back pressure while consuming up to 1.75 watts.

The AirJets come in two sizes. The AirJet Mini measures 27.5mm by 41.5mm by 2.8mm thick and is aimed at smartphones, wearables, notebook and tablet computers. Many of these devices are too small to be fitted with fans. The AirJet Pro measures 31.5mm by 71.5mm by 2.8mm thick and is suited to high-performance laptop computers.

Connected founders

The AirJets are manufactured in Taiwan. The AirJet Mini is shipping and the AirJet Pro is expected to ship in 1Q23.

The company was founded by Seshu Madhavapeddy, CEO and Suryaprakesh Ganti, CTO.

Madhavapeddy was previously with Qualcomm for four years where he held a series of senior management rules including vice president of mobile computing. Ganti was also previously with Qualcomm where he spent 14 years as a senior engineering rising to the position of vice president of technology.

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