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Black Semiconductor closes €254M for next-gen graphene-based chip tech

Black Semiconductor
Picture credits: Black Semiconductor

Germany’s Black Semiconductor, a startup in the next-generation chip technology sector, has announced €254 million in Series A funding. This is one of the largest funding for a deep tech company manufacturing chips in Europe to date.

Who invested in the round?

Of this, €228.7 million in public funding from the German Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia over the next 7 years under IPCEI ME/CT. Alongside the public funding, the company has secured an additional €25.7 million in equity funding. 

The round was led by Porsche Ventures (invested in Laka and Group14) and Project A Ventures, with participation from leading venture capital firms, corporates, and industry leaders including Scania Growth, Capnamic, Tech Vision Fonds, and NRW.BANK, joining the seed round investors Vsquared Ventures, Cambium Capital, and Hermann Hauser’s Onsight Ventures.

Funds utilisation

With the fresh capital, Black Semiconductor will accelerate its R&D initiatives and establish pilot line manufacturing capabilities in Aachen, Germany, an important step towards fulfilling its long-term goal of producing and implementing high-quality graphene in Europe. 

The company plans to inaugurate a pilot manufacturing facility in Aachen by 2026, demonstrating the seamless integration of graphene into electronic chips. 

Furthermore, it aims to increase its headcount, planning to create 90 new high-tech positions, boosting its total workforce from 30 to 120 by 2026.

What does Black Semiconductor do?

Founded in 2020 by Dr. Daniel Schall and Sebastian Schall, Black Semiconductor is developing a new way to build networks of chips leveraging graphene. These new chip networks will speed up data communication between chips, delivering improved levels of performance, improved energy efficiency, and a significant reduction in manufacturing costs through 60% fewer production steps required.

The company aims to enable mass production of graphene semiconductors in full compliance with existing industry standards, which would be a pioneering achievement for the industry.

The technology and hardware facilitate optical chip-to-chip connections, allowing chips to interact almost as if they were one. By overcoming current limitations in silicon chip architecture, this new technology looks to address existing barriers for transformative applications across industries, including efficient data centres, generative and embedded AI, and autonomous driving.

Dr. Daniel Schall, co-founder and CEO of Black Semiconductor, said, “We highly value the strong support of the government and investors to jointly advance the development of novel technologies in Europe. The investment enables us to drive our product development and 300 mm wafer pilot production facility forward at full speed. As traditional chip technology moves closer to its technological and economic limits, our innovation paves the way for faster, more powerful, cost-efficient, and energy-efficient computation.”

Patrick Huke, Partner and Head of Porsche Ventures added, “Our lead investment in Black Semiconductor together with Project A represents a great opportunity, harnessing photonics technology seamlessly integrated into conventional chips for a variety of industries, use cases and future AI applications. Fuelled by a combination of public and private investors, the Black Semiconductor team is now in a great position to build a strong semiconductor business within Europe, strengthening not only our domestic competitiveness but also the overall European chip ecosystem.”

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