Chip maker to raise €5m for large-scale production
Dublin-based silicon chip designer Decawave is in the process of raising an additional €5m as it prepares to outsource large-scale manufacturing of its first product next year, the Irish Independent has learned.
Chief executive Ciaran Connell confirmed yesterday that the company, which is already backed by Dermot Desmond's International Investment & Underwriting (IIU) vehicle and Kernel Capital, is in negotiations with a major mainland European venture-capital company and hopes to close a funding deal within a matter of weeks.
He said that IIU, Bank of Ireland, Kernel Capital and Enterprise Ireland remain "totally committed" to the firm as part of the fundraising round.
When it closes, it will bring the total raised by Decawave to over €8m. A large number of private individuals from the US, Ireland, France and the UK have already invested in the firm. IIU and Kernel capital invested last year as part of a €2m funding round.
Mr Connell said the latest funding would see Decawave through to a break-even position in 2013.
The company was founded in 2004 by former Parthus Technologies executive Michael McLaughlin.
Decawave's DW1000 chip enables objects in which it's embedded to be located to within 10cm precision at distances of up to 450 metres.
It's expected the chip will have a range of potential applications within areas such as the medical, logistics and retail sectors.
Decawave is due to receive samples of the manufactured chip by the end of next month. They will then be distributed to potential buyers so they can assess it.
Mr Connell said there have been firm expressions of interest in the chip from about 1,000 companies.
The chip is attractive to electronics firms because of its obvious potential on consumer and other devices, but also because it uses a very low amount of power and is very cheap.
Korean electronics giant LG, which owns a small stake in Decawave, has already pre-ordered 125,000 of the chips. Mr Connell said the chip will be manufactured in Taiwan from the second quarter of next year and will be in full production by the third or fourth quarter of 2012.