As Chinese investment information platform PEdaily (投资界) has reported, EigenCOMM (移芯通信) – which makes and markets cellular chips for smart home devices – has carried out a Series A round of financing, obtaining as much as CNY 100 million (USD 14.21 million) from global Venture Capital (VC) network Vertex Ventures, Shenzhen Capital Group and a few other investors.
This is the fourth funding event for the Beijing-based firm. It last undertook a round of strategic investment in July 2018. Back then, it received an undisclosed amount of money from Fellow Partners (复朴投资), Chord Capital (九弦资本), New Margin Ventures (联创永宣) and two more locally known money managers.
Founded in 2017, EigenCOMM offers turnkey solutions for Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystems. Relying on the self-developed capabilities that go beyond Integrated Circuits (IC), the chipmaker is an employer of numerous engineers and scientists with knowledge in baseband, analog, protocol stack as well as software and several other layers of IoT. As of September 2018, five dozen people were working for the company.
One of the chipmaker's co-founders, Xia Bin, spent a decade with Santa Clara-headquartered Marvell Technology Group (MRVL:Nasdaq). Liu Shi (刘石), the current CEO of the firm – who is also a Marvell alumnus – used to work for Chinese tech giant Huawei.
According to Mr. Liu, the rest of the team leverages profound experience as well. “Over 20% of our R&D personnel hold Ph.D. degrees gained from globally recognized universities,” he said in an interview in August 2019. “They average ten years of experience in the industry.”
In the Chinese market, EigenCOMM competes with companies such as System-on-a-Chip (SoC) producer Xinyi Information Technology (芯翼信息科技), IC design-focused firm Winner Micro (联盛德微电子) and Alibaba Group-backed ASR Microelectronics (翱捷科技).
On the global semiconductor scene, the chipmaker’s counterparts include Israeli wireless startup Altair Semiconductor, Californian fabless company Eridan Communications and RISC-V pioneer Codasip that represents the new generation of the German computer chip industry.
EqualOcean projects that Internet of Things devices will add up to USD 10.2 trillion to the global GDP by 2025. The connectivity trends are likely to create more room for young enterprises, especially those concentrated on narrow fields and specific applications. The upcoming 5G technology is expected to bring considerable benefits to the burgeoning hardware startup scene.