PHS MEMS secures 3rd round

PHS MEMS, a French microsystems company, has raised a total of E31 million in a transaction led by SOFINOV (a subsidiary of Caisse de Depots et Placement du Quebec) and AXA Private Equity. AXA is a new investor in a group including ETF Group (which now holds a 17 per cent stake in the company), Finove, the IDI Group, Innovafrance and Thomson-CSF Ventures. PHS MEMS has raised a total of nearly E45 million to date.

This latest financing round will be used to reinforce resources at the company’s design centre, direct and strengthen its sales and marketing activities and increase PHS MEMS’ international client list. The company’s first round of funding raised FFr 25 million (E3.81 million) in July 1998 from ETF, Finovelec, the IDI Group and Sofinnova. A further FFr62 million (E9.45 million) was raised in January last year from the same investors plus Innovafrance, SOFINOV and Thomson-CSF Ventures.

Created in August 1998, the company specialises in the design, development and production of micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS). MEMS are miniaturised components that can integrate moving parts to combine functions such as sensing, actuating and signal processing.

The uses for MEMS include IT, telecommunications, automotive and traffic control, aeronautics, security, medical and environmental applications. The company aims to become a leading developer and manufacturer of MEMS for the wireless (radio frequency) and optical communication markets.

Alberto Martorell, president and CEO of PHS MEMS, said: “Micro-electronics and copper have enabled the technology evolution we live in today. Micro-electromechanics and fibre will unleash a technology revolution of greater social and economic impact, through its multi-disciplinary nature and its complementarity with micro-electronics.”

With a team of 69 people based in Grenoble PHS MEMS produces 12,000 wafer per month. The company owns a portfolio of 58 international patents and is one of the few firms capable of offering a service from the design of MEMS through to volume production.