A company coming out of stealth mode and generating a great deal of buzz at InfoTech is hot on the prowl for venture funding.
Members of the press chose Durham-based startup called SiliconMobius as the “Journalist’s Choice” award winner. The company launched in May and is focusing on high-performance semiconductors based on intellectual property form Carnegie Mellon University.
Currently, SiliconMobius is self-funded with $500,000 from four founding individual investors who still work with the company. It also hired several Cisco engineers, Don Perkins as vice president of operations and sales, and 20-year Intel executive Marcus Wilson came on board as chairman of the board last week. Key members of the SiliconMobius came to the firm from Protean Devices.
SiliconMobius is “not really out of money,” but Perkins, a veteran sales and exec in the chip industry, tells Local Tech Wire the company is looking for more – a lot more. It’s seeking a Series A round of financing worth about $10 million, which he says is common for semiconductor companies which need millions to create the manufacturing facilities to get products online..
“When you’re in the semiconductor business, you want a semiconductor industry investor, a national VC and a local VC,” Perkins says. “We are about to emerge with an institutional investor.”
A logical choice seems to be Intel Capital, the investment arm of Intel Corp., where Wilson was group vice president and general manager of the Embedded Microcontroller Division. SiliconMobius also is developing a technology that could prove beneficial for the California chip maker.
“Everything is there for Intel to find a partner,” Stu MacDonald says of SiliconMobius. MacDonald is the director of sales for Rapport Incorporated, a fabless semiconductor company based Mountain View, CA, and with an office in Cary.
But Perkins says it is not that easy for SiliconMobius. He says to get funding from Intel…which is “aware” of SiliconMobius…a company has to build sponsorship. In other words, an Intel business unit has to say they need or want that company’s technology.
“Then the investment group (Intel Capital), which is completely independent (from Intel), may or may not invest in you,” Perkins says.
By the way, Mark Rostik, director of strategic investment for Intel Capital, attended InfoTech 2002. Rostick sat on a panel entitled “The Investor’s Appetite for IT Deals.”
And among the most executives working the crowd was Wilson.