Hprobe, a provider of semiconductor Automatic Test Equipment (ATE) for magnetic devices, today announced the completion of a new funding round driven by international investors, providing an exceptional depth of expertise, a global ecosystem of partnerships and the endorsement of industry market leaders. The company has raised more than 2 million euros to support its strong international development in the field of spintronics based devices testing, such as MRAMs (Magnetic Random Access Memories) and TMR (Tunnel Magneto Resistance) sensors.
“This investment from major investment and semiconductor firms re-enforces Hprobe’s capability to become the leader of magnetic ATE. It will allow us to develop and strengthen the global sales team, create subsidiaries in target countries, and develop our next generation of magnetic generators, therein providing higher magnetic fields and shorter test times. We are delighted with the response from our customers and the support from our investors and look forward to continued growth. We couldn’t have asked for better partners sharing our vision to continue scaling Hprobe,” said Laurent Lebrun, CEO of Hprobe.
The new investment was led by High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), a public-private venture capital investment firm based in Germany focused on high potential high-tech start-ups. The round also includes investments from ITIC, a Taiwanese venture capital firm, subsidiary of Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) bringing a depth of tech expertise and a global ecosystem of partnerships with world-class foundries. Additional investors include TEL Venture Capital which strives to leverage the capabilities of its parent Tokyo Electron Limited (TEL)— the world’s leading company of semiconductor production equipment including industrial automatic probers, which are used on the backbone of Hprobe tools. TEL will put its sales network at the service of Hprobe development.
The new round of financing also includes BNP Paribas Développement, that specializes in Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) development, and the round was coordinated by SE13 Advisors, a French independent advisory firm in Venture & Private Equity offering strategic and financial advice to start-ups.
Christian Ziach, Investment Manager at HTGF: “With its highly experienced team, Hprobe has developed competitive testers that will help foundries around the world to produce STT-MRAMs (Spin Transfer Torque MRAMs) on an industrial scale.”
Cinnie Huang, Investment Manager at ITIC: “We are excited about Hprobe’s potential in transforming the industrial process in semiconductor and electronics.” Hans Tai, President at ITIC, who is part of Hprobe’s supervisory board added, “Hprobe’s technology ties in very well in our industry and we look forward to a tighter collaboration with our industrial partners.”
Kay Enjoji, President at TEL Venture Capital: “TEL Venture has chosen Hprobe now that MRAM is moving into mass production and has evidence of field use with innovative methods. TEL can leverage business synergies with Hprobe.”
BNP Paribas Développement: “BNP Paribas Developpement is very excited to support Hprobe in this next phase of growth along with international investors. Thanks to its breakthrough magnetic testing technology, Hprobe is uniquely positioned, having already convinced blue chip industrial buyers, generating great momentum in the semiconductor industry with an excellent mix of expertise amongst the team.”
About HTGF: High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) is a seed investor that finances high-potential, tech-driven startups. With EUR 895.5 million in total investment volume across three funds and an international network of partners, HTGF has already helped forge more than 570 startups since 2005. Driven by their expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and passion, its team of experienced investment managers and startup experts helps guide the development of young companies. HTGF’s focus is on high-tech startups in a range of sectors, including software, media, internet, hardware, automation, health care, chemistry and life sciences. To date, external investors have injected over EUR 2.4 billion into the HTGF portfolio via more than 1,500 follow-on financing rounds. HTGF has also successfully sold interests in more than 100 companies. Investors in this public-private partnership include the Federal Ministry For Economic Affairs and Energy, the KfW Capital.
About ITIC: Established in 1979, ITIC is one of the oldest and most prestigious venture capital firms in Taiwan and has invested hundreds of millions in companies across the globe. We’ve nurtured industrial leaders like UMC, AUO and TSMC – the world’s first dedicated IC foundry – and boasts well over US$ 200 billion in market value. Being a subsidiary of the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) – with over 6,000 tech experts, 24,000 alumni experts, and 25,000 patents in robotics, advanced materials, biotech and more – ITIC brings a depth of tech expertise that few investment firms can rival.
About TEL Venture Capital: TEL Venture strives to leverage the capabilities of its parent Tokyo Electron Ltd — the world’s leading company of semiconductor and flat panel display production equipment — to enable the growth of other foundational technologies from thin film transistors to nanotechnology. Our approach reflects our understanding of the limitations of both traditional corporate and financial venture capital models. We seek new ways to use our unique resources to transform ideas, talents and technologies into great companies. We are located in Silicon Valley, USA, but we are globally focused since good ideas and fresh perspectives can emerge anywhere.
About BNP Paribas Développement: BNP Paribas Développement, a BNP Paribas Group subsidiary founded in 1988, invests its own capital directly in promising small and medium-sized enterprises and mid-cap companies. As a minority shareholder in these target companies, BNP Paribas Développement seeks to promote their growth and ensure their longer-term prosperity by facilitating ownership transfer. In 2016, BNP Paribas Développement set up the WAI Venture Fund, which specialises in investing in Innovation-oriented companies, from the provision of seed capital through all subsequent funding rounds, with the aim of supporting the growth of high-potential startups.
About Hprobe: Founded in March 2017 and based in Grenoble (France), Hprobe is a spin-off company of SPINTEC (one of the leading spintronics research laboratories worldwide.) The company markets equipment for wafer level testing of magnetic devices in the semiconductor industry.