New benchmarks in the semiconductor industry
Capital for contactless wafer-handling technology: High-Tech Gründerfonds and Bayern Kapital are investing in SemiLev GmbH in Großwallstadt, Germany. The investors are financing the start of production and acquisition of customers for evaluation of a newly developed product, and preparing for SemiLev’s market entry as a supplier of equipment to the semiconductor industry.
SemiLev GmbH, a spin-off from Mecatronix GmbH, Darmstadt, develops and markets Equipment Frontend Modules (EFEMs) and sorters for wafer-handling in the semiconductor industry. The heart of these products is a proprietary technology platform based on contactless bearings made practical for wafer-handling for the first time. This constitutes a decisive step toward completely contamination- and wear-free wafer processing in a chip factory. Even energy- and data-transfer processes are executed without contact. This technology will be implemented for SemiLev’s first customers in 2011.
Senior Investmentmanager Dr. Andreas Olmes explains High-Tech Gründerfonds’ engagement: “With our investment, we are not only financing cutting-edge technology in the semiconductor growth sector; above all we are investing here in an extraordinarily compentent team which is extremely experienced in this sector in converting development ideas into marketable products.”
Founders Willi Rugen and Dr. Ulrich Oldendorf are pleased to have won two such experienced technology investors as High-Tech Gründerfonds and Bayern Kapital, who not only demonstrate with their investment their trust in SemiLev’s founders, but are also, through other investments, intimately familiar with the semiconductor industry, the main market for SemiLev’s products.
Double-digit millions saving per factory
Up to 60% of the yield loss of a chip factory is attributable to contamination (tiny particles that cause defects on the wafer surface). Contamination arises chiefly from wear caused by mechanical bearings and the lubricants they use, by drives and movable cables used in the chip production equipment.
SemiLev is the industry’s first equipment supplier to consistently avoid contamination by using only contactless bearings and implementing all energy- and data-transfer wirelessly. This not only reduces rejections due to contamination, but absence of wear arising in the technology allows longer intervals between maintenance and longer life for the equipment. SemiLev’s customers can thus realize double-digit millions in savings per factory.
SemiLev was founded in May 2010 by Willi Rugen, Dr. Ulrich Oldendorf, and Mecatronix GmbH, Darmstadt. The company’s objective is to develop marketable products for the semiconductor industry based on Mecatronix’s contactless bearing technology.
About Bayern Kapital
Bayern Kapital was set up in 1995 as part of the Bavarian state government’s “Bavarian Future Initiative” aimed at furnishing especially new, innovative Bavarian companies with venture capital. To date, Bayern Kapital has invested about EUR 152 million in more than 185 innovative, high-tech companies. Bayern Kapital is available as a contact for businesses in the region and currently manages an overall fund volume of about EUR 214 million.
About High-Tech Gründerfonds
High-Tech Gründerfonds invests venture capital into young, high-potential technology companies that convert promising research results into successful businesses. The seed financing provided aims to enable start-ups to take their R&D propositions to the development of a prototype, proof of concept and possibly market launch. Investors in this public/private partnership are the German Federal Ministry for Business and Technology (BMWi), the KfW Banking Group as well as the six industrial companies BASF, Deutsche Telekom, Siemens, Robert Bosch, Daimler and Carl Zeiss. High-Tech Gründerfonds has approximately 272 million Euro under management.
High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH
Dr. Andreas Olmes
Phone: +49 228 96568508
Fax: +49 228 96568550