Crocus Technology Raises $17 Million in a Series A Round of Financing

Objective: to Become the Leader in MRAM

Jun 16, 2006, 01:00 ET from Sofinnova Ventures

    GRENOBLE, France, June 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Crocus Technology, a company
 focusing on Magnetic Random Access Memories (MRAM), today announced the
 closing of its Series A round of funding totaling $17 million. The round's
 participants include San Francisco-based Sofinnova Ventures (lead
 investor), Paris-based firms Ventech, CDC Entreprises Innovation, AGF
 Private Equity and Sofinnova Partners, and NanoDimension. Crocus will
 leverage its innovative technology with the goal to become the world leader
 in this exciting MRAM market.
     Crocus was first incorporated in France in 2004 with an initial grant
 from CEA Valorisation and FIST, the subsidiaries of CEA and CNRS, France's
 leading research organizations, dedicated to spinning off promising new
 technologies into the private sector. Crocus is headquartered in Grenoble
 (France) with operations in the Paris area and in Silicon Valley
 (California). The MRAM technology that is the foundation on which Crocus is
 built was developed in the Grenoble-based SPINTEC research center. The
 related patents and know-how are being transferred to Crocus and will be
 continuously improved through formal joint development programs between the
 company, Spintec and other European laboratories.
     MRAM memories uniquely combine several key features of other existing
 memory technologies. They are non-volatile, have a fast read and write
 speed, an SRAM like interface, an extended lifetime, and a low
 manufacturing cost.
     "We are very excited by the tremendous market potential for MRAM
 because the mobile and networking industries, among others, need this new
 type of memory," said Eric Buatois, Managing Director with Sofinnova
 Ventures. "We looked in detail at all other MRAM technologies and always
 came back to Crocus. We believe that the company has what it takes to
 become the leader in this high growth market: a world-class R&D team, a
 strong patent portfolio, and a very experienced management team," Buatois
     The proceeds from this fund raising will allow Crocus to hire engineers
 and scientists in process engineering, test and design from all over Europe
 and the US. Crocus is also acquiring specialized equipment, which will
 enable the company to complete a first memory test vehicle in the next 12
 months and its first commercial product shortly thereafter.
     "This first round, quite unique in this technology area, is a defining
 moment for Crocus," commented Jean-Pierre Braun, CEO of Crocus. "We now
 have everything we need to be the first to bring to the marketplace a
 competitive MRAM memory that will fulfill the customers' expectations, in
 particular with regards to reliability, speed and capacity," Braun added.
     There are many important applications for MRAM memory. They are an
 ideal fit for mobile phones, PDA's, smart cards, notebook computers, RFID
 tags, as well as automotive and military applications.
     Crocus' board includes: Jean Bourcereau, General Partner with Ventech;
 Eric Buatois, General Partner with Sofinnova Ventures; Michel Desbard,
 Venture Partner with CDC Entreprises Innovation; Jean-Pierre Braun, CEO;
 and other well known semiconductor personalities including Jacques Noels,
 CEO of Nemoptic; Guy Crespy of CEA Valorisation and Luc-Olivier Bauer.
     About Sofinnova Ventures
     Sofinnova Ventures is a venture capital firm emphasizing a diversified
 investment strategy through financing early stage companies in the life
 science and information technology sectors. Founded in 1974, the San
 Francisco-based firm currently has $600 million under management.
 Sofinnova's mission is to create value by providing entrepreneurs with the
 resources, experience and networks necessary to turn their bright ideas
 into thriving businesses. With deeply rooted ties to Europe's leading
 financial, technology and venture institutions, Sofinnova is also uniquely
 positioned to foster trans-Atlantic synergy and market acceleration. For
 more information, visit
     About Ventech
     Ventech is a leading French venture capital firm investing in early
 stage companies in the IT & communications and biotechnology sectors in
 France and Continental Europe. Currently managing funds totaling euro 174
 million, Ventech steam targets ambitious projects which have the potential
 to become global leaders and uses its experience in operations and private
 equity, start-up companies and high-growth businesses to generate results.
 For more information, log on to
     About CDC Entreprises Innovation
     CDC Entreprises Innovation ("CDC EI"), a subsidiary of CDC Entreprises,
 invests in high tech businesses with strong growth perspectives primarily
 in three sectors: information and communication technologies, life sciences
 and biotechnologies, and semi-conductor industries. The company has over
 euro 365M under management served by 10 professional investors. CDCEI has
 made numerous investments in the components and materials sector including:
 Nemoptic, Novaled, Tronics, TeemPhotonic.
     For more information, please visit:
     About AGF Private Equity
     AGF Private Equity, a subsidiary of the AGF Insurance Company, member
 of the Allianz Group, manages an investment portfolio of 1.5bn. The company
 is among the leaders in France in managing funds of funds, and is also one
 of the most active investors in Venture Capital. The Venture Capital team
 has invested in 50 high tech companies. AGF Private Equity invests about
 euro 30m each year in innovative firms. With euro 275m under management in
 its Venture Capital activity, AGF Private Equity is an active partner of
 growth companies. For additional information on AGF Private Equity, visit:
     About Sofinnova Partners
     Founded in Paris in 1972, Sofinnova Partners is one of Europe's leading
 independent venture capital firms. With 900 million under management,
 Sofinnova Partners invests in start-ups and early-stage companies in
 information technology and lifesciences. Its investment strategy consists
 of investing early in teams and projects with high potential, most often
 acting as lead or co-lead investor. Sofinnova Partners also benefits from a
 long- established relationship with its sister company in San Francisco,
 Sofinnova Ventures. Sofinnova Partners' team consists of 9 professionals
 who bring market insight and technical expertise to portfolio companies.
 For more information, visit:
     About NanoDimension
     NanoDimension is a venture capital firm supporting top entrepreneurial
 teams to build nanotech companies with the potential to become world
 leaders in their field. The investment activities focus on IT/Electronics
 and Life Sciences and on the convergence of these areas, in Europe as well
 as North America. NanoDimension pursues an active and comprehensive
 investment approach by providing the companies with financial resources,
 strong entrepreneurial and managerial experience and extensive scientific
 expertise through its team of experts. For further information:
     About CEA Valorisation
     CEA Valorisation SA. is the subsidiary of Commissariat a l'Energie
 Atomique (CEA) devoted to technology licensing as well as equity investment
 in spin-off companies originating from CEA IP and know-how. CEA is a
 multi-disciplinary scientific and technological research organization,
 specializing in the fields of nuclear energy, new energy technologies,
 information and communication technologies, and biotechnologies. Its
 ability to combine fundamental research and value enhancement within an
 industrial framework enables it to play a leading role in innovation. For
 more information, please visit:

SOURCE Sofinnova Ventures