mCube, provider of the world’s smallest MEMS motion sensors, today announced it has closed a $37 million Series C financing round.
Existing investors participating in the round include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, MediaTek, iD Ventures America, and DAG Ventures. New investors include Keytone Ventures, SK Telecom (China) Ventures and Korea Investment Partners. mCube plans to use the new funds to further accelerate its growth and expand its line of motion sensors.
By 2020, analysts predict more than 50 billion devices will be connected to the Internet and a large percentage of those devices will be in motion. From smartphones and tablets, to smart clothing and wearables, mCube is enabling a new era called the “Internet of Moving Things (IoMT)” where the movement and context of everyday objects and devices can be measured, monitored and analyzed, generating valuable data and insights that will transform consumer experiences.
“mCube is well positioned with the world’s smallest MEMS motion sensors to enable this high-growth new market we refer to as the Internet of Moving Things,” said Ben Lee, president and CEO, mCube, Inc. “Virtually anything in motion can benefit from mCube’s high-performance and low-power sensors. This latest financing round will enable mCube to accelerate its growth and develop more motion sensor products to capitalize on this massive IoMT market opportunity.”
Sensors in Everything
Motion sensors are key components in consumer, mobile and wearable devices, including smartphones and tablets that typically incorporate multiple MEMS accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetic sensors. Through mCube innovations, the applicability of these sensors can be expanded to virtually anything that moves. Example use cases include:
- Smartphones and tablets for 3D gaming, indoor navigation and augmented reality applications;
- Smart watches, wearable devices and smart clothing that can detect how far you walked or ran, the rate at which you moved, and how many calories you burned;
- Automotive or commercial trucking where motion sensors can be connected to video cameras in rear-view mirrors to better assess the cause of an accident and driving conditions;
- Shipping, where motion sensors can be embedded directly onto packages to record jarring motions or accidents in order to determine when and how contents were damaged;
- Sensor tags to monitor farm animals for abnormal activity, patterns of grazing, potential illness and herd behavior.
The Next Generation of MEMS Sensors
While MEMS sensors have been used in industrial, automotive and even printer applications for many years, these first generation solutions are expensive and complex to manufacture, and are produced using proprietary manufacturing processes. Packaged in large multi-chip modules, first generation motion sensors require higher power and often have reduced reliability due to the packaging process. With the advent of smartphones and gesture-controlled gaming, second generation MEMS sensors have emerged, featuring smaller size and lower power. These second generation devices are still manufactured on proprietary processes and feature discrete products packaged with stacked die. As a result, they continue to be relatively large and consume considerable power.
In contrast, mCube’s monolithic single-chip MEMS design approach represents the next generation of sensors – very small, single-chip MEMS+ASIC devices that are cost effective, consume low power, and feature very high performance. These advancements make it possible to place one or more motion sensors onto nearly any object or device. In some cases, the single-chip MEMS motion sensor silicon can be attached directly onto a printed circuit board without requiring chip packaging, saving real estate and reducing height to enable thinner and smaller system designs.
As the first company to integrate a MEMS sensor with the ASIC onto a single die using standard CMOS process, mCube is delivering this next generation of motion sensors by making them simple to manufacture and easy to design into a broad range of applications. mCube motion sensors have already been adopted in a range of smartphone and tablet reference designs and are featured on the approved vendor lists of leading handset chipset partners.
mCube’s Proven Track Record
Since its inception in 2009, mCube has expanded its product line to include accelerometers, magnetic sensors and the iGyro™, the industry’s first 9 Degrees of Freedom (DoF), software-based gyroscope optimized for Android smartphones and tablets. Additional mCube achievements include:
- Delivered the industry’s only monolithic single-chip MEMS+ASIC product, confirmed by Yole Développement in March 2014 as the world’s smallest accelerometer;
- Developed a complete portfolio of motion sensor hardware and software solutions for up to 9DoF;
- Shipped more than 60 million accelerometers into the China smartphone and tablet markets;
- Filed 103 patents with 26 issued;
- Awarded the EE Times “Startup of the Year” prize in 2012;
- Named by Gartner as a 2013 ‘Cool Vendor’. Gartner 2013 Cool Vendor Report, Ganesh Ramamoorthy, May 2, 2013.
- mCube Company Fact Sheet
- Advantages of Integrated MEMS to Enable the Internet of Moving Things Whitepaper
- Motion Sensing with mCube iGyro Whitepaper
- iGyro 9DoF Demonstration Video
- Media Resources: photos, logos, bios
- mCube Website
- mCube Videos
“We expect to see sensors everywhere and on nearly everything in the not-too-distant future,” said Stella Jin, founding partner, Keytone Partners. “mCube is well positioned to lead this new era with the industry’s only monolithic, single-chip design approach that is simple to manufacture and easy to design into a wide range of products.”
“mCube has proven its monolithic, single-chip MEMS technology by shipping more than 60 million units since its initial launch,” said Jerry Xu, director, Korea Investment Partners. “mCube is in a strong position to further accelerate its momentum, with backing by leading investors, an experienced management team, and patented sensor technology and software expertise. We are excited to watch the company continue to grow in pursuit of their vision to put a motion sensor on every moving object.”
“mCube has achieved a technology leadership position in the market by delivering the world’s smallest motion sensor,” said Jean-Christophe Eloy, president & CEO at Yole Développement. “With mCube’s innovative approach, the company has a unique opportunity to transform the industry, making MEMS sensors ubiquitous on anything that moves.”
“It’s rare for a new MEMS supplier to ramp to high volume quickly as MEMS are typically very complex and hard to manufacture,” said Tony Massimini, chief of technology for Semico Research Corporation. “It’s especially impressive for mCube to ship 60 million units within 2.5 years of product launch. With a proven design that is ground-breaking in terms of its small size, manufacturability and high level of integration, mCube will be an important company to watch in MEMS.”
"A major hurdle for wearable technology and the IoT is the reduction in size of critical semiconductor components, including sensors, to enable smaller systems, reduce power consumption, and costs," said Michael Palma, research manager, consumer device semiconductors & electronics manufacturing services, IDC Corporation. "By shrinking the size of a sensor, it’s easy to envision a world where these tiny devices are seamlessly incorporated onto everyday things, providing valuable motion and context-relevant data that enhance consumers' lives.”