Slideshow: Old School Semiconductor Investing Sees Big Rise in First Quarter

Semiconductor investing isn’t as trendy as it was, say, 30 years ago, but U.S. venture money going to chip startups rose 63% from the fourth quarter to the first.

The increase followed two quarters of declines and came even as the number of deals slipped slightly.

The uptick is due in large part to several large rounds. Tabula Inc. of Santa Clara attracted $108 million and Jusung Engineering Co. of South Korea brought in $53.6 million. Plastic Logic Ltd. of Mountain View also secured $200 million, according to data from Thomson Reuters (publisher of this blog). The Plastic Logic transaction was the second largest deal of the quarter, behind only the $202 million corralled by solar plant developer BrightSource Energy Inc.

U.S.-based chip startups alone attracted $274 million in 23 deals during the three month period, according to the MoneyTree Report by the National Venture Capital Association and PricewaterhouseCoopers and based on data from Thomson Reuters. That’s up from $168 million in the fourth quarter and down from $316 million in the first quarter of last year.

What follows is a list of the top eight global chip deals of the first quarter based on data from Thomson Reuters.


[slide title=”No. 8: Amimon Inc.”]

Amimon Inc.
Location: Herzlia, Israel
Amount: $15 million
Description: Makes wireless HDTV chips.
Investors: Undisclosed

[slide title=”No. 7: BridgeLux Inc.”]

BridgeLux Inc.
Location: Livermore, Calif.
Amount: $20.74 million
Description: Develops LED chips for lighting.
Investors: DCM, VantagePoint Venture Partners

[slide title=”No. 6: Cavium Networks Inc.”]

Cavium Networks Inc.
Location: Mountain View, Calif.
Amount: $35 million
Description: Semiconductor products for security and networking.
Investors: NeoCarta Ventures

[slide title=”No. 5: ZBD Displays Ltd.”]

ZBD Displays Ltd.
Location: Windsor, U.K.
Amount: $36 million
Description: Develops shelf edge labeling.
Investors: Coller Capital, DFJ Esprit, Dow Chemcial, QinetiQ Ventures, TTP Venture Managers

[slide title=”No. 4: Violin Memory Inc.”]

Violin Memory Inc.
Location: Mountain View, CA.
Amount: $36.18 million
Description: Develops flash memory array for data storage.
Investors: Juniper Networks, Toshiba, undisclosed investor

[slide title=”No. 3: Jusung Engineering Co.”]

Jusung Engineering Co.
Location: Gwanju, South Korea
Amount: $53.64 million
Description: Manufactures semiconductor equipment
Investors: Undislcosed

[slide title=”No. 2: Tabula Inc.”]

Tabula Inc.
Santa Clara, Calif.
Amount: $108M
Description: Manufactures semiconductors
Investors: Balderton Capital Management, Benchmark Capital, Crosslink Capital, Duff Ackerman

[slide title=”No. 1: Plastic Logic Ltd.”]

Plastic Logic Ltd.
Location: Mountain View, Calif.
Amount: $200 million
Description: Develops a flexible plastic electronic display and e-reader
Investors: Oak Investment Partners and undisclosed investor.