SAN FRANCISCO (04/24/2000) - Chip startup Transmeta Corp. today announced it has added some powerful investors, with the closing of a round of financing valued at US$88 million. America Online Inc. (AOL), Compaq Computer Corp., Gateway 2000 Inc. and Sony Corp. are among the new corporate investors in the privately-owned chip vendor.
Formerly something of a secretive operation, Transmeta took the wraps of its Crusoe mobile processor in January. The chip is designed to power both laptop computers as well as smaller Web access devices, particularly those using wireless technologies. One of the company's main evangelists is Linus Torvalds, the developer of the Linux open-source operating system. Torvalds is a software engineer at Transmeta. [See "UPDATE2: Transmeta Unveils Crusoe Chip," Jan. 19.] Transmeta still expects Crusoe-based systems to start appearing in the market by the middle of this year, according to the company.
The other new investors in Transmeta announced today include a trio of Taiwanese companies -- monitor specialist Compal Electronics Inc., motherboard manufacturer First International Computer Inc. and notebook maker Quanta Computer Inc. Other Transmeta investors are U.S. BIOS (basic input/output system) software company Phoenix Technologies Ltd. and South Korean company Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Transmeta said in a statement released today.
Phoenix announced its BIOS was being used to build reference designs for Crusoe-based mobile computers in late January. [See "Phoenix Offers BIOS for Transmeta Systems," Jan. 26.]Existing investors in Transmeta such as Microsoft Corp.'s co-founder Paul Allen's Vulcan Ventures and Deutsche Bank contributed approximately $16 million of the $88 million financing round, Transmeta said.
Sony's interest in Transmeta is interesting given the Japanese company's recent investment in U.S. wireless broadband company ArrayComm Inc. Sony hopes ArrayComm's i-Burst technology will help to bring about high-speed Net access to a wide range of portable Net access devices. [See "NAB: Sony Teams Up with High-Speed Wireless Net Firm," Feb. 11.]Transmeta, in Santa Clara, California, can be reached at +1-408-919-3000 or via the Internet at http://www.transmeta.com/.