In earlier articles we discussed various startups Harris and Harris Group (TINY) is currently backing including Cambrios, Nanosys, and Molecular Imprints. With the recent sale of Xradia, Tiny’s second largest holding (after Solazyme) and largest private equity holding is Adesto Technologies Corporation accounting for 12% of TINY’s equity-focused venture capital portfolio as of March 31, 2013.
Adesto Technologies received its first round of funding in 2007 including a strong set of VCs and has since received additional funding from leading Semiconductor Companies and Manufacturers, including Altis Semiconductor, the manufacturer of Adesto’s first CBRAM™ based devices. Senior management of TINY, Ata Ventures, and Arch Ventures sit on the Board of Directors.
Adesto, is a developer of conductive bridging RAM (CBRAM) memory, and has begun sampling its first product in 2013 which a 1-megabit part geared to replace EEPROM. CBRAM was originally developed at Arizona State University and is also known as Programmable Metallization Cell (PMC). The technology has been shown to be scalable down to 12nm. In 2012, Adesto also acquired Atmel Corporation’s Serial Flash and DataFlash product lines. Their patent portfolio includes over 30 patents granted and many more in process.
At some point flash memory will stop scaling requiring the need for a next-generation replaement memory type. Many companies such as Toshiba, Micron, and Samusng as well as a number of startups including Adesto are rapidly trying bring various next-generation memory types to market. Adesto states their technology has advantages in the areas of speed, data retention, and low power to target a 70 billion dollar market.
Consolidation in the semiconductor industry has been a trend in recent years so Adesto could look to get acquired or alternatively file for IPO allowing TINY to realize their return on investment. Since December 31 2011 TINY has written up their value of Adesto by 58% bringing it a value of just over 12 million dollars.
Much of the information used in this article was taken from an article posted on the Semiconductor Manufacturing & Design Community website titled “Next-generation Memory Vendors Seek New Markets”. This article contains more information about the opportunity in this space and some of the competitors of Adesto. In a future article we will take a look at another promising memory startup in TINY’s portfolio.