SemiBlocks, the Eindhoven-based fabless semiconductor company, has received a € 1.7 million innovation credit from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland or RVO.nl). This will help the company to turn its breakthrough crystal oscillator technology solution from a working proof-of-concept prototype into first silicon.
Along with the € 3 million raised last summer from BOM Brabant Ventures and a major US-based strategic partner, the innovation credit from the RVO.nl will help SemiBlocks complete chip tape out of the first engineering samples (ES0) next month. This will be followed by a period of intensive testing before producing a second engineering sample run (ES1), featuring improved functionality and performance. Which keeps SemiBlocks on track to have production of the first commercial products for small 4G/5G base stations up and running early in 2020.
Karl McGoldrick, CEO of SemiBlocks states, “As most companies know, moving from proof-of-concept to actual product is one of those defining moments. That’s particularly true for young semiconductor companies like SemiBlocks during the high-risk step of moving from a breadboard design to first silicon tape out. Fortunately for high-tech start-ups in the
Netherlands we can get funding support from government agencies like the RVO.nl to help us achieve that critical milestone of first silicon. A milestone that also opens the door to other investors who see the massive opportunity that is coming with 5G infrastructure demands”.
Marcel Segers, Innovation Credit Advisor for RVO.nl comments, “Our innovation credit is specifically targeted at Dutch companies working on disruptive innovations. This is because even with a competent team, solid business case and excellent market potential, investors often see these technology developments as high-risk. So hardware start-ups in Europe can struggle to get all the necessary funding to develop their ideas into production ready solutions. Helping SemiBlocks achieve critical milestones like first silicon of their breakthrough crystal oscillator IC is exactly what the innovation credit is for”.
SemiBlocks crystal oscillator technology is a disruptive technology that offers significant cost and performance benefits particularly for emerging 5G technology markets, from mobile devices and infrastructure to electric and autonomous vehicles. Operating with standard low-cost crystals, the SemiBlocks IC will eliminate the effects of hysteresis and compensate for frequency errors due to temperature variations while improving timing accuracy.