RALEIGH, N.C. — Nitronex, a developer of radio frequency power transistors, has landed $21.8 million in new venture capital funding.
The company plans to formally announce the new financing on Monday.
“This money in the new round should be all we need, and we’re ready to go,” said Kevin Lintchicum, one of the company’s founders and its chief technology officer.
The Raleigh-based firm, which was founded in 1999 and utilizes technology first developed at North Carolina State University, is planning to use the funds to launch two new product lines in 2007. Driving the business is demand for high-speed wireless broadband services delivered through WiMAX and third-generation high-speed cellular technology.
Nitronex chips will handle more heat, delivery energy more efficiently, handle more power and enable wireless providers to cut costs compared to current chips, Linthicum said.
WiMAX, OR Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, is an alternative to landlines such as cable and digital subscriber line (DSL) for high-speed data delivery over the so-called “last mile” to endusers.
3G speeds enable multimedia content ranging from video to high-speed data to be delivered to handheld devices such as cellular phones. Nitronex is particularly focused on wideband code division multiple access, or WCDMA,
Nitronix has now raised more than $81 million.
In addition to new product development, the company plans to hire additional operations, engineering, sales, marketing and finance staff. Nitronex currently has 42 employees and plans to add 20 through the end of 2007, according to Linthicum.
Silicon Valley-based Alloy Ventures, a new investor, led the new financing.
Other new investors include Intersouth Partners of Durham along with ARCH Venture Partners, and Diamondhead Ventures.
Previous investors also participating in the round are VantagePoint Venture Partners and Contender Capital.
“We are proud to have so many leading investment partners demonstrate their belief in our team, our technology and our vision,” said Charles Shalvoy, the chief executive officer of Nitronex. “With their support, we are in a powerful position to build on the solid foundation we have worked to put in place over the past seven years.”
Nitronex also has plans to move into new facilities within the next six to 18 months as it moves toward manufacturing, the company said.
Nitronex built a 69,000 square foot facility in Durham “a couple of years ago” but has not occupied the facility, Linthicum said. Management is discussing now whether to move into the building or sublease it.
Nitronex technology is based on what it calls Sigantic, or GaN (gallium nitride) on silicon, technology. Nitronex has said it is the first company to develop GaN-based power transistor products grown on silicon. Linthicum is one of the co-inventors of the Sigantic process.
“I have watched Nitronex closely over the years as it evolved from a company with a somewhat nascent idea to a manufacturer selling products that address real customer needs,” said Kip Frey, a partner at Intersouth, in a statement. “We look forward to playing a role in the next phase of the company’s future.”
Nitronex closed on $6 million in financing in April of 2004. Shalvoy joined the company as CEO at that time.