Two CSMC startup companies, Amphoryx and Inpria received awards and recogition from the recent Semicon Conference.
Amorphyx won one of two Semicon Silicon Innovation Forum best pitch awards ( from ~30 competing companies).
Paula Doe reported in Solid State Technology
"...Amorphyx, offers a fast switching, low cost backplane solution for displays, using a kind of tunneling effect through a near-perfect amorphous sapphire insulating layer in a metal-insulator-metal device. The company is working at ITRI in Taiwan with a production collaborative it put together three Asian companies, aiming at start joint production in 2015. “This should save $100 of the cost of a $400 display,” claimed CEO and President John Brewer."
Inpria was also listed as a VC favorite among semiconductor startups to watch
" ... The strategic investors from the venture arms of Samsung, Intel and Applied Materials all cited innovative materials solutions as the investments about which they were currently most excited, particularly Inpria for its high-resolution metal oxide photoresists... "
Inpria leverages grant money for years to take university research towards commercial
The venture arms of Applied Materials, Intel and Samsung have all recently invested in Inpria, and kept citing it as an example of semiconductor development they were excited about for its potential solution to the key problem of resolution of next generation photoresist. Replacing the long, tangled, polymer molecules of traditional photoresist with the smaller inorganic molecules enables cleaner edges and reduces collapse of 7nm and 10nm features. CEO Andrew Grenville reported that the line-width roughness with this resist is half that of conventional polymer products (0.7nm vs 1.5nm) on 10nm lines and spaces.
"Grenville told the tale of the company’s earlier years of leveraging its capital as it developed the metal oxide cluster technology from Oregon State University, starting with NSF/SBIR funding, then a grant from Oregon’s ONAMI, then joint development funding with potential users. Inpria first developed the material using shared equipment of the Onami university network, then the SEMATECH microexposure tool at Laurence Berkeley national lab, and then in joint development programs at imec’s consortium in projects with equipment suppliers and customers – for about five years before the technology was developed enough for angel investors and Applied Materials. This year strategic investors Intel and Samsung joined Applied in further funding, which then attracted more from the Oregon Angel Fund, with deep semiconductor experience and connections. “We expect we will be interesting for a financial investor in a couple of years,” said Grenville. “It takes leveraging, leveraging, leveraging for capital-efficient development…though the proof will come in 2015 when we go into the fabs.”