Icera, a UK-based semiconductor company, said today that it’s raised $70 million in additional funding in the form of debt and equity; it also said it would cut an undisclosed number of its staff. Current investors Atlas Venture, Balderton Capital, Accel Partners, Amadeus Capital Partners and 3i provided $60 million in equity, and ETV Capital SA and MMV Financial offered $10 million in debt. This brings the company’s total funding to around $270 million — a king’s ransom in any market, but especially for a chip firm in this one.
The reason investors still plow money into Icera is the flexibility of its chipset. Right now it makes a software modem for HSPA used in data cards, but its programmable modem could be used for other wireless technologies, enabling Icera to participate in other wireless standards without a huge redesign of its silicon. That keeps the potential markets wide open and the costs lower, which makes investors happy enough to put more skin in the game — although perhaps not as much as the $100 million Icera was reportedly seeking earlier this year. Maybe that accounts for the cuts.