Where do startups come from? Today in Silicon Alley, they seem to come from engineers and disillusioned i-bankers. But Spin Transfer Technology, which just scored a whopping $36 million round, took a different track thanks to what is essentially a private equity-funded startup factory.
Allied Minds is a Boston-based, private equity-funded “innovation company” that discovers early-stage technology being developed at American universities and labs and then forms, funds, manages and builds startups around said technology. In September of 2007, representatives from Allied Minds visited NYU to check out research in magnetism by professor Andrew Kent, an award-winning physicist and serial inventor who was working on a “spin transfer” technology that could improve computer memory.
Allied Minds’s slogan should be something like, “We take your tech and make it into money.” Once AM determined the invention was legit, it cobbled together Spin Transfer Technology the way a record label might put together a new boy band. Dr. Kent is on the management team with official title “Scientific Founder;” general manager Steven Cliadakis was poached from consultancy Silicon Impact. Allied Minds CEO Christopher Silva joined, along with other Allied executives, and thus a startup was born. Spin Transfer Tech entered into a licensing deal and a sponsored research agreement with NYU, according to the university, and started manufacturing parts and partnerships.
Allied Minds and Invesco Asset Management led the round for Spin. The company is hiring in the “Silicon Valley or Greater NYC Area” as well as in Ithaca, New York.
From the press release:
Spin Transfer Technologies (STT) will use the funds to scale operations, purchase equipment and grow its team to accelerate development of its patented orthogonal spin transfer magneto resistive random access memory technology (OST-MRAM). The company is poised to create the next generation of memory applications combining the non-volatility of flash with the read and write performance of DRAM and SRAM into one, seamless product. Initial performance data from STT bit cells has far exceeded industry standards in key areas.
The technology, discovered by Professor Andrew Kent, has enormous implications for the development of spin transfer MRAM devices, including faster switching times, lower power operation and scalability to smaller dimensions.