Energy Micro raises $13m in first venture round

Low-power microcontroller maker Energy Micro has raised $13m in its first venture-funding round, having launched its first product mainly using money from the company's founder.

The $13m comes from Northzone Ventures and Investinor and, the company said in a statement, will be used to continue developing products and expand its sales operation. Energy Micro launched its first product, the EFM32 Gecko in October.

The company made it to its first set of products using money mainly from the company’s founder and CEO Geir Førre, “plus money from lead customers and some government funding”, he said late last year, adding that the company had been expecting to raise around $10m in its Series A funding round.

Talking about the initial funding needed for the company, Førre noted: “People say: ‘That’s outrageous. You need far more money to bring up a semiconductor company’. I say: ‘yes, we can do that’.”

Førre said the company spent around $3m to get the EFM32 to market and had “just south of” 30 staff working at its launch. That figure has now risen to 35. The device is built using TSMC’s 0.18µm ultralow-leakage (180ULL) process.

Førre’s previous company Chipcon spent around $9m before it turned in a profit and was ultimately bought by Texas Instruments.

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