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Memory and Storage

Magnetic RAM Startup Raises $70 Million

09 October 2014

Spin Transfer Technologies, a startup company that is owned by Allied Minds plc, has raised $70 million to accelerate the commercialization of its OST-MRAM technology.

This takes the amount raised by the company to over $100 million. Spin Transfer (Fremont, Calif.) – founded in 2007 – announced it had raised $36 million in Series A funding in February 2012. As part of that deal it was acquired by backer Applied Minds (Boston, Mass.). Orthognal Spin Transfer Magnetic Random Access Memory (OST-MRAM) is a commercialization of nanomagnetism research conducted in the laboratory of Andrew Kent, Professor of Physics at New York University.

The claim is that the patented OST-MRAM technique can enable faster switching speeds, lower power operation, reduced manufactured device cost and scalability to smaller lithographic dimensions. It is also clamed that it can address both the standalone memory markets and the embedded memory market in logic, microprocessors, microcontrollers and analog integrated circuits.

STT has completed an initial phase of integration of magnetic and CMOS wafer technologies. The functional memory array demonstration lifted investor enthusiasm for the current financing, the proceeds of which will be used to procure capital equipment and other manufacturing-related infrastructure and expand the intellectual property portfolio.

Woodford buys in

The funding round was led by Woodford Investment Management (WIM), supported by previous investor Invesco Asset Management (Invesco) and joined by SandAire, a private wealth investment fund in London.

Allied Minds is a U.S. based technology development and commercialization company, now listed on the London Stock Exchange, that operates a different model to most venture capital firms. Allied Minds prefers to own the companies it invests in serving as a diversified holding company that supports its businesses and product development with capital, central management and shared services.

"Allied Minds is extremely pleased with the technical and commercial progress of STT to date. We believe this technology has the potential to revolutionize the field of computer memory, and we are gratified by the strong commitment from world-class institutional investors who are participating in this funding round,” said Chris Silva, CEO of Allied Minds, in a statement.

"These proceeds will enable STT to accelerate the development and commercialization of our proprietary, next-generation technology, putting us in an excellent position to significantly impact the sizeable market segments that the company aims to serve,” said Barry Hoberman, CEO of STT, in the same statement.

Spin Transfer has some competition in the form of EverSpin Technologies Inc. which has started to offer spin-torque transfer MRAMs. In November 2013 Everspin announced that its 64-Mbit STT-MRAM had been designed into solid-state drive from Buffalo Technology Inc. (Austin, Texas) as cache memory. And TDK Inc. (Tokyo, Japan) has produced prototypes of an 8-Mbit STT-MRAM, which is planned to exhibit at Ceatec Japan, Oct. 7 to 11. TDK The plans to commercialize the STT-MRAM technology within three to five years, according to a Nikkei Technology report.

Hobermann was formerly with Crocus Technology Inc. where he was chief marketing officer and which is also bringing STT-MRAM to market.

Of the $70.0 million raised in the latest Spin Transfer financing, Allied Minds contributed approximately $20.0 million, Woodford contributed approximately $27.85 million, Invesco contributed approximately $21.65 million and SandAire contributed approximately $0.5 million.

Related links and articles:

www.spintransfer.com

IHS memory research

News articles:

ARM Licenses MRAM From Crocus

Crocus Nano Electronics Raises $60 Million for Fab

STT-MRAM Will Hit Volume in 2014, Says Everspin

ARM Support Claimed for Non-Filamentary ReRAM

Russian Chip Firm Opens MRAM Fab

U.S., Japanese Companies Reportedly Form STT-MRAM Alliance



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