Austin's Ambiq Micro, which broke new ground with its ultra-low-power chip, collects millions

Posted August 11th, 2016

Ambiq Micro, which broke new ground last year with its ultra-low-power chip, has raised $9.5 million, according to securities filings.

The Austin-based company received the money from 35 investors, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The names of the backers were not disclosed.

Ambiq Micro's technology dramatically cuts the energy consumption of semiconductors by reducing the voltage level at which switching occurs inside the chips. That enables the development of products such as wearable electronic devices that demand longer-lasting battery power.

For consumers, that means battery life for a smart watch or activity tracker could last for weeks or months longer than previously possible.

Ambiq Micro's roots go back to the University of Michigan, where engineering graduate fellow Scott Hanson worked with two professors to develop Ambiq Micro's design methodology.

Hanson spun the company out of the university in 2010 and moved it to Austin because of the availability of chip engineering talent here. He is now the company's chief technology officer. 

Two years ago, Ambiq Micro received a $15 million round of capital. Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins was the lead investor, with participation from Austin Ventures, Mercury Fund, ARM Holdings and Huron River Ventures. At that time, the company had raised a total of $31 million.