Inpria raises another $1.5 million for new semiconductor production technology

June 20th, 2014

Inpria, one of the first of now 40 ONAMI Gap Fund startup companies, has just announced that it's raised $1.45 million from the Oregon Angel Fund. OAF is a collection of local investors backing early-stage startups. 

Oregon startups typically start with small, local investors, and then hit up the big players once they've gained some traction.

Corvallis startup Inpria Corp. has done the reverse.

Yesterday's latest funding infusion arrives four months after Inpria's big industry financial partners. Samsung Venture Investment Corp., Intel Capital and equipment maker Applied Ventures put $7.3 million into the Corvallis company in February.

Inpria has now raised $9.9 million altogether to develop technology to improve lithography, a key step in the chipmaking process that enables smaller features on semiconductors. The industry investors could all end up being big customers for Inpria if its technology pans out.

Though Thursday's round is considerably smaller than what Inpria raised last winter, chief executive Andrew Grenville said working with OAF provides important connections to local industries and talented personnel.

And even the smaller sum is important to a company that has just 14 employees, he said.

"When you add at the margin it really allows us to accelerate things, especially in hiring as well as some of the partnerships," Grenville said.

Chipmaking tools are hugely expensive, costing millions of dollars apiece. Developing new manufacturing technology can, likewise, be very pricy. But Grenville said Inpria is partnering with industry leaders and consortia such as the Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre in Belgium to provide the hardware to develop its technology.

That, Grenville said, and the funding raised this year, will take Inpria a long way.

"It gives us significant runway," he said.

This story is based on the original 6/19/2014 Oregonian article by Mike Rogoway. See also OregonBusiness