November 1, 2016 (Fremont, CA) – Exnodes Inc., a Silicon Valley-based computational semiconductor inspection company, today announced closing its $2 Million seed-round. Strategic investors include semiconductor industry leaders Samsung Ventures and SK hynix Inc., as well as angel investors Gordon Eubanks and Professor Joseph Goodman.
These investments will enable Exnodes Inc. to further develop major cutting edge technology to solve semiconductor chip and memory yield challenges.
“We are thrilled to have Samsung and SK hynix support us in our mission to solve the problem of plummeting semiconductor chip yields at the leading edge node,” said Dr. Prasanna Pavani, Exnodes Founder and CEO. “In its push to advance semiconductor manufacturing, the industry will need the computational inspection technology that Exnodes has developed and patented.”
Exnodes Inc. was founded in mid-2014 with the mission to bring Computational Parallel Inspection® to the semiconductor inspection and process control market.
“Exnodes leverages recent breakthroughs in the field of computational optics to enable enhanced sensitivity and classification of yield killing defects,” said Dr. Michael Varney, Exnodes Founder and CSO. “These advances, along with our custom machine learning and image processing algorithms, allow us to greatly improve the speed and accuracy of root cause analysis at various points in the fabrication process, which is key to improving yield.”
Two major strategic investors in the seed-round are leaders in semiconductor manufacturing and bring a wealth of experience and resources in supporting Exnodes as it tackles the tough yield challenges faced by manufacturers.
Samsung Ventures identifies and invests in startup companies in the semiconductor space by providing seed, early stage, later stage, private equity, and debt financing investments.
“Metrology and inspection are key areas where the semiconductor manufacturing industry is confronting grave challenges for continued development of better products at lower costs,” said Dr. Sung Hoon Yang, Chief Investment Manager at Samsung Venture Investment Corporation. “Exnodes is developing breakthrough technology to overcome the tradeoff in sensitivity and throughput in wafer inspection systems through the use of their unique Computational Parallel Inspection® technology. We look forward to supporting Exnodes’ progress in their technological development, which could change the ‘rules of the game’ in semiconductor inspection and process control.”
SK hynix, the world’s second-largest memory chip maker, has added Exnodes as one of its early entries to its investment portfolio.
“SK hynix is actively investing in companies which can bring breakthrough technologies to market that will address fundamental challenges faced by the semiconductor industry,” said Heejin Chung, Head of Venture Investment at SK hynix Inc. “We believe Exnodes is a very promising candidate to address these challenges, especially in wafer inspection and process control. Exnodes’ Computational Parallel Inspection® technology has great potential to unlock the trade-off between sensitivity and throughput in wafer inspection, and as a result, greatly enhance our fabrication yield.”
This investment round will allow Exnodes to add expertise and personnel as well as deploy key infrastructure upgrades in its R&D facilities.
About Exnodes Inc.
Exnodes is a Silicon Valley company developing Computational Parallel Inspection® as a breakthrough technology to solve the problem of plummeting yields in leading edge semiconductor chips. This technology enables rapid detection, identification, and root-cause analysis required to eliminate nanoscale defects inherent in leading edge semiconductor fabrication.
Exnodes was founded in 2014 and is home to inventors, designers, and developers whose singular mission is to push the limits of semiconductor inspection technology through computational imaging and machine learning.
About Samsung Venture Investment Corporation
Samsung Venture Investment Corporation manages investment and investment-related activities for Samsung’s affiliate companies. The investment mandate for SVIC tracks closely to the strategic priorities of Samsung’s affiliate companies’ core operating divisions and encompasses investments in semiconductors, displays, telecommunications and consumer electronics.
About SK hynix Inc.
SK hynix Inc., headquartered in Korea, is the world’s top tier semiconductor supplier offering Dynamic Random Access Memory chips (“DRAM”), Flash memory chips (“NAND Flash”) and CMOS Image Sensors (“CIS”) for a wide range of distinguished customers globally. The Company’s shares are traded on the Korea Exchange, and the Global Depository shares are listed on the Luxemburg Stock Exchange.
Michael C.M. Varney, Ph.D.
Founder and Chief Scientist