NAND then something new came along: Nanotube men get $10m
But can they stand out among the New Flash contenders?
Nantero, a start-up developing carbon nanotube-based memory, has gained more than $10 million in a Series D funding round to help commercialise its NRAM technology and get licensees bringing products to market.
NRAM is one of several candidates identified as potential successors to NAND, with others including Phase Change Memory, Spin-Transfer Torque RAM and HP's Memristor. All of these technologies are in a race to get to market with valid products that are non-volatile, denser and longer-lived than NAND, byte addressability, and with DRAM-like access speeds. Background information on Nantero and its variant of Resistive RAM can be found here.
Nantero says it has fabricated high-yielding 4Mbit arrays of NRAM in CMOS production environments. These apparently offer speeds comparable to DRAM, low operating power, permanent non-volatility and non-destructive read, "expected unlimited" endurance and superior high temperature retention.
The funding round included existing venture capital investors plus two new ones described as "strategic corporate investors currently engaged in strategic development and partnerships with Nantero."
Bruce Sachs, a general partner at investor Charles River Ventures, said:
“After substantial development in multiple production fabs, NRAM has demonstrated its value to several prominent customers and is on track to soon come to market as both a standalone and embedded memory.”
Nantero's co-founder and CEO Greg Schmergel, said:
“This round will help us support our partners that are bringing NRAM into production in the near term."
Near-term indicates, we think, before the end of 2013.
Nantero believes its NRAM could replace the memory in devices such as cell phones, MP3 players, digital cameras and PDAs, as well as applications in the networking arena. It believes NRAM will ultimately replace all existing forms of solid state storage, such as DRAM, SRAM and flash memory, becoming a universal memory technology.
That's ambitious but we note that what's missing here is a high-volume semiconductor fab operator such as Hynix, Micron, Samsung or Toshiba. They each have their own post-NAND irons in the fire.
NRAM had better be good to stand out from the post-NAND herd. ®