Eli Harari, founder of SanDisk and a highly-regarded expert in non-volatile memory technology and business, has founded a startup company called SunRise Memory.
Harari is best known as the founder and long-time leader of SanDisk, originally formed under the name SunDisk in 1988. Harari stepped down as CEO and chairman of SanDisk in 2010 and was succeeded by Sanjay Mehotra, now CEO of Micron Technology. SanDisk was eventually sold to disk drive company Western Digital for $15.8 billion in May 2016.
Harari was 71 years old in 2016, and could have been enjoying retirement. Or he could have moved on to lighter duties as a supporter of startups through venture capital. But it would seem that he went back to his engineering roots.
Because in July 2016 Harari filed papers to create SunRise Memory listing himself as president and CEO. Harari also made a series of patent applications with SunRise Memory Corp. as the assignee. Five and half years on the company remains in stealth-mode, but it has taken on an engineering team. A number of memory IC design engineers joined the company in 2019. Some were recruited from a design group belonging to Yangtze Memory Technologies Corp. (YMTC) based in San Jose, California.
So, what does SunRise Memory plan to offer? eeNews Europe approached the company but was told “SunRise is in stealth mode.” However, there are clues in the public domain; in the company’s website address – www.sunrise3d.com – and also in the titles of some of the patents that have been assigned to the company.
For example, US patent 20170148517A1 is titled ‘Three-dimensional vertical nor flash thin film transistor strings’ and was applied for under application number US15/343,332 with the first filing on November 25, 2015. So, it would seem Harari has been inventing techniques to support a form of 3D NOR flash non-volatile memory, just as others, including YMTC, have created 3D NAND flash.
SunRise Memory raised $74.8 million in a Series C round of finance in October 2019, according to the Pitchbook website. This amount of money, together with a design group and a couple of years to develop prototype products, would suggest that the sun could rise on SunRise soon.
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