Intrinsic Semiconductor Technologies secures £7m investment

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UK-based Intrinsic Semiconductor Technologies, a next generation memory technology company, has secured £7 million in a funding round led by Octopus Ventures.

The round was also supported by existing investors IP Group and the UCL Technology Fund as well as £1m in InnovateUK grants.

The new funding will support the expansion of the company’s engineering team to bring its product to market and enable a new generation of smart devices and self-contained systems with embedded intelligence.

Based on more than a decade’s research at University College London (UCL), Intrinsic has developed a new approach to non-volatile memory using resistive random-access memory (RRAM). The technology can read data 10x to 100x faster and write it 1000x faster than existing solutions and uses standard, frequently used materials, which are less complex or expensive compared to other RRAM solutions.

It is also fully CMOS compliant, according to the company, which makes it easier and more cost effective for foundries to integrate the technology within existing chip manufacturing facilities. Together, these technological advantages will enable data hungry applications to overcome current memory bottlenecks caused by current external flash memory, and they are expected to deliver dramatically higher performance at a much lower energy consumption.

“We believe RRAM has the potential to become the backbone for the next generation of edge and IoT computers at a time when data hungry intelligent applications are becoming more and more prevalent,” said Mark Dickinson, CEO, Intrinsic Semiconductor Technologies.

“Companies want to integrate more intelligence into self-contained applications and devices so that they can operate autonomously but this requires a paradigm shift in how memory is employed in these environments. By focussing on simplicity and manufacturability in our approach to RRAM we will open up a whole new array of market opportunities and this funding will play a critical role in helping us to attract highly skilled engineers to build out the commercial potential of Intrinsic.”

Yole Intelligence, part of Yole Group estimated in June 2022 that embedded RRAM market will grow from $18m in 2021 to $957m in 2027 at a 94% CAGR.

According to Intrinsic there are a growing number of opportunities to integrate its technology with applications and devices that operate autonomously or remotely, ranging from driverless vehicles, robots in manufacturing, farming and warehouses to consumer applications around the home.

As its technology offers higher performance at lower cost and energy consumption, it will make it practical to store and process data locally, with the added benefit of enhancing privacy. Data will no longer need to be stored or processed in the cloud, which is also good for those applications operating remotely where connectivity blind spots may be an issue.

“Intrinsic underlines the potential of the UK semiconductor industry to develop radical new solutions for the next generation of devices,” said Owen Metters, Investor, Deep Tech, Octopus Ventures. “Memory technology has struggled to keep pace with processor innovation in the last decade, but Intrinsic’s technology has the potential to unlock currently inaccessible functionality in a wide range of applications. It will be hugely exciting to work with the Intrinsic team as they commercialise the technology and expand into new markets.”

Intrinsic was founded in 2017 by Professor Tony Kenyon, Dr Adnan Mehonic and Dr Wing Ng, who are leading researchers into non-volatile memory at the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University College London.

The company has already received seed funding from UCLB, UCL Technology Fund and IP Group for its cutting-edge research in this sector.