Stretch Takes $36M For Big Project’

Venture-backed Stretch Inc. has completed the largest single round of investment in semiconductors in recent memory with it’s final close on a Series B round of $36 million. Menlo Ventures, Worldview Technology Partners and Oak Investments took part in the funding of the Mountain View, Calif.-based company.

Stretch made no public release of information about the round in keeping with its “stealth mode.”

Asked why Stretch needed so much money, Gary Banta, CEO and co-founder of Stretch, told PE Week simply that “it’s a big project.”

Though it remains largely shrouded in secrecy, a few things are known about Stretch.

Founded in March of 2002, the company has been developing what the Banta calls a new class of software configurable microprocessors for embedded application markets.

“They can be used in cell phones, laptops, personal computers or servers, where application specific integrated circuits and field programmable gate arrays have become too expensive” explains Banta.

Banta was most recently vice president of startup Silicon Spice, a fabless semiconductor company that Broadcom bought for $1.2 billion in 2000 and was backed by, among others, Worldview.

The co-founder of Stretch, Albert Wang, was a Ph.D. researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, in the field of logic synthesis, before working at Synopsys and Tensilica Inc. Tensilica, founded in 1997 with backing from Worldview and Oak, is also based on the idea of providing configurable microprocessors and software development tools to customers in embedded markets.

Stretch will begin sampling products to customers this summer.

“Tensilica is very much involved in Stretch,” says James Wei, the managing partner at Worldview responsible for his firms’ investments in Silicon Spice, Tensilica, Stretch and other semiconductor startups.

Banta says that the company has been founded with the idea of becoming a substantial player in the semiconductor field along the lines of Xilinx or Synopsys, two companies that created their own market categories.

Banta told PE Week that any future round, which the company may seek 18 months from now, is likely to be smaller than the current investment round, if the company has the reception that it hopes for.