Most of the VC-backed shutdown news this year has involved Web 2.0 companies, since so many of them have been unable to attract paying users (Assuming they even identified a revenue model beyond CPM ads). But the latest such failure is a semiconductor equipment manufacturer that seems to have had real corporate customers.
The company in question is nLine Systems Inc., an Austin, Texas-based developer of semiconductor wafer inspection systems based on direct to digital holography. It filed for Chapter 7 liquidation last Tuesday, with less than $150,000 in assets and over $3 million in liabilities. The company website is gone, its phone goes unanswered and most of its VC backers have removed any mention of nLine from their portfolios.
nLine had raised just over $33 million in VC funding since its 2000 inception from firms like Advanced Micro Devices, Genesis Park Ventures, Hat Creek Partners, Intel Capital, SG Capital Partners, Sensor Technology Development fund, TAT Capital Partners, Techxas Ventures and Tailwind 2000 (Thomas Weisel Partners fund). It also received a $9.4 million award from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Its first inspection systems were installed by International Sematech, and then later at a AMDs fab in Austin.