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Electronics Production | June 27, 2006

Crocus to become leader in MRAM

French MRAM firm Crocus Technology Raises $17 Million in a Series A Round of Financing. Crocus' objective is to Become the Leader in MRAM.

Crocus Technology, a company focusing on Magnetic Random Access Memories (MRAM), today announced the closing of its Series A round of funding totaling $17 million. The round's participants include San Francisco-based Sofinnova Ventures (lead investor), Paris-based firms Ventech, CDC Entreprises Innovation, AGF Private Equity and Sofinnova Partners, and NanoDimension. Crocus will leverage its innovative technology with the goal to become the world leader in this exciting MRAM market. Crocus was first incorporated in France in 2004 with an initial grant from CEA Valorisation and FIST, the subsidiaries of CEA and CNRS, France's leading research organizations, dedicated to spinning off promising new technologies into the private sector. Crocus is headquartered in Grenoble (France) with operations in the Paris area and in Silicon Valley (California). The MRAM technology that is the foundation on which Crocus is built was developed in the Grenoble-based SPINTEC research center. The related patents and know-how are being transferred to Crocus and will be continuously improved through formal joint development programs between the company, Spintec and other European laboratories. MRAM memories uniquely combine several key features of other existing memory technologies. They are non-volatile, have a fast read and write speed, an SRAM like interface, an extended lifetime, and a low manufacturing cost. "We are very excited by the tremendous market potential for MRAM because the mobile and networking industries, among others, need this new type of memory," said Eric Buatois, Managing Director with Sofinnova Ventures. "We looked in detail at all other MRAM technologies and always came back to Crocus. We believe that the company has what it takes to become the leader in this high growth market: a world-class R&D team, a strong patent portfolio, and a very experienced management team," Buatois explained. The proceeds from this fund raising will allow Crocus to hire engineers and scientists in process engineering, test and design from all over Europe and the US. Crocus is also acquiring specialized equipment, which will enable the company to complete a first memory test vehicle in the next 12 months and its first commercial product shortly thereafter. "This first round, quite unique in this technology area, is a defining moment for Crocus," commented Jean-Pierre Braun, CEO of Crocus. "We now have everything we need to be the first to bring to the marketplace a competitive MRAM memory that will fulfill the customers' expectations, in particular with regards to reliability, speed and capacity," Braun added. There are many important applications for MRAM memory. They are an ideal fit for mobile phones, PDA's, smart cards, notebook computers, RFID tags, as well as automotive and military applications. Crocus' board includes: Jean Bourcereau, General Partner with Ventech; Eric Buatois, General Partner with Sofinnova Ventures; Michel Desbard, Venture Partner with CDC Entreprises Innovation; Jean-Pierre Braun, CEO; and other well known semiconductor personalities including Jacques Noels, CEO of Nemoptic; Guy Crespy of CEA Valorisation and Luc-Olivier Bauer.
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