Sandburst First 04 Fabless Deal

Sandburst Corp., formed in 1999 by an MIT professor, starts the semiconductor VC investment list for 2004 with a $19.5 million first close of an intended $21 million Series D round.

The investment was co-led by previous investors Greylock and Matrix Partners. Accton Technology Corp. participated as a new strategic investor, along with previous investors 3i, Intel Capital, Investor Growth Capital, Analog Devices and Boston University Community Technology Fund.

The new round brings the total venture raised by the Andover, Mass.-based company to $56 million since it was founded in 2000 Sandburst says that the new funds will support the marketing of a second generation of its HIBEAM chipset, scheduled for release in early 2004.

Sandburst produces chipsets that work with either network processors or ASICs to process data for communications networks at speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second.

The chips may also be configured in multiple configurations of up to 16, allowing speeds of 160 gigabits per second, and this throughput is expected to double when the company’s next-generation of chips is introduced in early 2004.

Targeted customers are networking providers, such as Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks, 3Com and Hewlett-Packard Co.

Sandburst, which recently brought in management execs from Intel and Brecis (another VC-backed fabless startup), has announced several OEM agreements over the past year, including a pact with Analog Devices to produce and market the chipsets for switch builders.

While founder Arvind Mithal remains on the board of directors, the company appears to have made a smooth transition from research-based startup to commercial enterprise through recruitment of an experienced management team, including Vincent Graziani, as CEO and president. He was formerly the director of technical sales for communications and embedded computing at Intel.