ARM and Applied Funds MRAM Effort

Article By : Dylan McGrath, EE Times

Spin Memory gets $52 million series B funding from heavyweights

SAN FRANCISCO — Magneto-resistive RAM (MRAM) developer Spin Memory Inc. — formerly known as Spin Transfer Technologies — announced $52 million in series B funding led by IP supplier Arm and the venture capital arm of chip equipment vendor Applied Materials.

Spin Memory, based in Fremont, Calif., also announced a deal with Applied to create an embedded MRAM solution. The company also announced that Arm has licensed the company’s Endurance Engine architecture to deliver new SRAM-like embedded MRAM design solutions to customers.

John Kispert, Spin Memory’s chairman and the former CEO of Spansion, said through a statement that the deals with Applied and Arm would provide the opportunity for ecosystem collaboration. “We are proud to be engaging with industry leaders in our mission to enable new and exciting embedded memory applications,” Kispert said.

Spin Memory, founded in 2007 has to date largely concentrated its efforts on developing its proprietary orthogonal spin transfer MRAM, but the company said the deals with Arm and Applied signal a new direction for the company to “establish MRAM as a mainstream alternative to embedded SRAM and a range of other non-volatile memories.” The company announced last year its intention to productize its MRAM engine to be embedded in a spin torque transfer MRAM array to correct for inherent flaws in perpendicular magnetic tunnel junction (pMTJ) technology and boost the performance of MRAM.

Kispert said the company is driving “a unique industry approach to bringing breakthrough memory technology IPs into the mainstream. “

Tom Sparkman, Spin Memory CEO, said the company has completed transformed in recent years, moving toward offering a full suite of MRAM solutions. He stated the company’s intention to “transform the industry with a new MRAM IP ecosystem, overcoming the limitations of today’s embedded memories.”

MRAM, long considered a promising candidate to displace SRAM, DRAM and other memory technologies, has been in development for two decades, but has only begun to achieve commercial traction in recent years. Everspin Technologies has been shipping MRAM since 2006, when it was still part of Freescale Semiconductor.

In August 2016, Everspin became the first vendor to announce it was sampling MRAM with pMTJs,  considered by all vendors developing MRAM to offer the best scalability, shape dependence and magnetic scalability. Everspin has also been offering embedded MRAM through Globalfoundries since 2017.

Last January, Spin Transfer announced it was sampling spin-torque MRAM devices with 80nm pMTJs.

Of the $52 million in series B funding, a total of about $29 million was supplied by Arm and Applied Ventures. The rest of the funding came from the exercise of convertible securities subscribed for in an earlier bridge round by Allied Minds, Woodford Investment Management and Invesco Asset Management.

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