AmberWave Systems Corp. of Salem, N.H., a developer of “strained silicon” technology, announced last week it has raised $21 million in a Series D round. 3i led the funding and was joined by previous investors Adams Capital Management, Arch Ventures, Telesoft Partners, and The Hillman Co.
Since it was founded in 1998, AmberWave has now raised $66 million.
Marko Maschek, a partner in 3i’s Waltham, Mass., office and who leads his firm’s East Coast semiconductor investments, says that 3i was keen on this deal because AmberWave, founded in 1998, has built a strong IP portfolio of around 100 patents having to do with strained semiconductor processes, techniques and materials. Maschek says this IP can be licensed to either major integrated device manufacturers such as Intel or Texas Instruments, or to silicon wafer manufacturers such as Siltronic or Shin-Etsu Handotai.
Maschek says that AmberWave is his firm’s first IP investment and draws parallels in the firm’s business model with Rambus or ARM Holdings, venture-backed startups that became public companies and that realize substantial income from the licensing of intellectual property.
Brian Lord, AmberWave spokesman, says that the funding will allow his company to commercialize the IP developed by the firm’s 16 Ph.D.s. Strained silicon allows for the production of semiconductor products that consume 34% less power than standard semiconductor devices and operate at 17% faster speeds. The improvements are the result of the techniques developed by AmberWave Founder Gene Fitzgerald – a former Bell Labs researcher and currently a professor of materials science at MIT.