When cell phones and laptops get as small, powerful and efficient as current technology and materials allow, Denver, Colo.-based startup ZettaCore wants to be there to put Moore’s Law — which dictates that the number of transistors on a chip doubles every 24 months — on steroids. The 8-year-old company is gearing up for international expansion and large-scale commercial production of molecular materials that it says offer a “new way to miniaturize electronic components.” The idea is to use this technology, at least initially, to make more efficient, lower-cost semiconductors with existing manufacturing equipment — and for that ambitious task, a group of investors stepped up this week with $21 million in financing.
Eventually the chemists and entrepreneurs at ZettaCore have a grand vision, as Cleantech Group reports, to make ionic liquids that can store heat in solar thermal power plants, and build the infrastructure to deliver thousands of liters’ worth of the liquids to customers. And the team also has its eye on using its nanotech for ultracapacitors and batteries. So while the $21 million round announced this week is going toward technology for semiconductors, it could help ZettaCore get a global foothold and create a launchpad for ZettaCore’s high-density energy storage ideas.
This is ZettaCore’s third round of fund raising, and it includes the startup’s previous investors — Stanford University and the venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Access Ventures, among others. The new investors in this latest round, which brings ZettaCore’s total funding to more than $75 million, include Panasonic’s U.S.-based venture capital arm, a significant vote of confidence for a company targeting chip and electronics makers as customers and partners. Panasonic Ventures’ Dilip Sampath said in an announcement about the financing this week that the two companies would work to integrate ZettaCore’s technology into Panasonic (s PC) products.