Flexciton announces £15m Series A to tackle issues facing global semiconductor industry

Flexciton, an optimisation technology company that has developed a unique solution to radically improve the efficiency and productivity of fab manufacturing processes, has announced a £15M Series A investment, led by Nadav Rosenberg (Saras Capital). Flexciton’s solution analyses the real-time data that each fab generates and applies cutting edge technology to decide which actions need to be taken to optimise production.

Modern semiconductor fabs are the most complex manufacturing environments in the world, with the production process generating more scheduling options than there are atoms in the universe. A next-generation chip wafer might go through between 500-2,000 machine steps in a dynamic process. The end-to-end process of making a single chip could take from six months to a year to complete.

Jamie Potter, co-founder and CEO of Flexciton, said, “Automation is already used by many semiconductor manufacturers. However, even in advanced fabs where scheduling itself is automated, the software used to make these decisions tends to be based on predefined rules programmed by humans and determined by historical data. Yes, it can calculate different options far quicker than a human operator could, but the options are still ‘best guesses’ rather than optimal outcomes.”

Potter, continued, “Flexciton is able to create an overview of how the entire fab is operating and rapidly sift through the trillions of options available, to come up with the optimal decision at that precise point in time. Using AI-powered mathematical algorithms and Mixed Integer Linear Programming, we can analyse real-time data – not historical – and make the best choices possible based on what is happening in a fab at a given moment. Our vision is to become the best in the world at running semiconductor fabs, before turning our attention to support other manufacturers. This investment plays a key part in achieving this, as we expand our team.”

The current chip shortage continues to make headlines worldwide, highlighting a semiconductor supply chain that is far from robust. Covid-19 may have impacted production, but it has shown how difficult it is for the industry to quickly adapt to surges in demand. 169 industries3 were affected by the shortage, from automotive and consumer electronics to steel producers and concrete manufacturers. But agility is not the only issue – demand continues to grow and the industry needs more capacity. Globally, the industry is expected to be worth $803 billion2 by 2028.

Flexciton has been proven to achieve efficiency gains of 10 per cent. To a fab using 1,000 machines, this can save a factory tens of millions per year. There are currently over 1,000,000 machines worldwide waiting to be optimised – a number that continues to grow due to the worldwide demand for semiconductors.

Nadav Rosenberg, an investor who has supported the team since their early days and led the current Series A round, added, “Semiconductors are the fundamental building blocks of modern life. More than any other development of the scientific age, they have completely revolutionised the way that we work, play, communicate and learn. Demand will keep growing,  and the industry must consider how to better utilise its current assets, before expanding and using further resources to meet demand. Efficiency is key. Flexciton is the first company to successfully apply this level of machine intelligence to real-world manufacturing, with hugely impressive results.”

Mike Chalfen, Chalfen Ventures, commented, “In a globally strategic industry, with billions in capex and opex spent on the world’s most complex manufacturing operations, Flexciton measurably saves enormous costs, fast. Its insight can change the very capacity, agility and economics of the semiconductor industry. Flexciton has the team, technology and ambition to be an enduring and important company.”