Innovation journey gets Sydney chipmaker to $140m raise


Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

Australia’s largest semiconductor maker, Morse Micro, has raised $140 million in a round led by Japanese chip giant MegaChips and existing investors Main Sequence, Blackbird, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull.

The series B funding will be used to develop new offering and accelerate the go-to-market strategy of its Wi-Fi HaLow chips and modules, the company said on Tuesday.

The tiny Wi-Fi HaLow chips can provide 10-times the range of traditional Wi-Fi and last several years on a single battery, making them well suited to Internet of Things devices.

Morse Micro has announced a $140 million series B led by Japanese giant MegaChips

Founded in 2016 by former Broadcom engineers Michael De Nil and Andrew Terry to address the Wi-Fi gap for IoT devices, the company is a success story of Sydney’s innovation push.

Morse Micro competed in the Startmate Accelerator program and in 2017 moved into deep tech accelerator Cicada Innovations.

As it grew and began manufacturing, The company received support from the federal government through accelerating commercialisation and supply chain resilience grants, while the state government provided undisclosed tax breaks and rebates to support its local expansion.

It remains headquartered in Sydney, within the growing Tech Central innovation precinct, and has credited the location with attracting talent and investors.

The company is also at the forefront of the New South Wales semiconductor industry that the state government has thrown its support behind with a semiconductor bureau and planned advanced manufacturing facility. The strategic push is an attempt to grow the state’s sector and move up global supply chains from adoption to innovation and IP creation.

Morse Micro now employs 150 people across Australia, the United States, China, India and the United Kingdom, and is about to set up a manufacturing presence in Japan.

The series B round-leading $100 million investment by MegaChips, Tokyo stock exchange listed semiconductor company with a market capitalisation of $650 million, is a strategic one.

The Japanese company will manufacture Morse Micro’s IEEE 802.11ah compliant semiconductors and modules, and provide quality assurance, sales support and new distribution channels across the region.

Existing investors also participated in the round, including Blackbird Ventures, Main Sequence Ventures, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Skip Capital, Uniseed, SpringCapital, Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull and others.

“With MegaChips’ financial backing and robust manufacturing and sales support, Morse Micro will be poised to achieve our goal of revolutionizing IoT connectivity with our growing portfolio of Wi-Fi HaLow SoCs, modules, software and development tools,” cofounder and chief executive Mr De Nil said.

“With growing market traction for Wi-Fi HaLow-compliant solutions in the IoT ecosystem, we’re at an exciting inflection point.”

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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