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Services and support for deep-tech startups

Team up with a single trusted partner to find the shortest and surest route to startup success.

It’s still a powerful image: building a billion-dollar business from your garage. But these days your start-up could just as likely be hatched in a university lab. And for everything beyond that very first stage, you need access to advanced infrastructure and expertise. Not to mention the funds to cover their considerable costs.

As a world-leading R&D hub, imec not only hosts a world-class infrastructure and more than 4,500 researchers. It’s also at the heart of an unparalleled ecosystem of companies, universities, startups and organizations from the world of nano- and digital technology. That’s why imec is the perfect place to bring your disruptive idea and develop it into a product.

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ASIC development

Using one or more application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) in your product can be a strong market differentiator. It allows you to:

  • Lower the cost per unit, especially in case of mass manufacturing.
  • Integrate many functions in a tiny device.
  • Protect your intellectual property (IP).

But even in mainstream IC technology, developing an ASIC is far from straightforward. The design phase requires specific skills, design tools and IP. Imec lowers that threshold by giving you access to its first-rate ASIC design team and partnerships with design tool vendors, design companies and IP vendors.

The next phase – manufacturing your ASIC – is even more daunting for startups. Directly approaching a big foundry is seldom an option. At the least, you need a manufacturable prototype. Imec’s multi-project wafer (MPW) runs in partnered foundries enable cost-efficient prototyping by sharing photomasking and processing costs with other designers. Once your idea is validated, imec.IC-link can assist you all the way up to mass production.

Explore our ASIC development services

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Disruptive deep-tech R&D

We’re now experiencing a new wave of disruptive innovation – tackling fundamental challenges by leveraging technologies such as hardware-driven AI and molecular engineering. If you’re a deep-tech startup, you can fully benefit from imec’s research capabilities, IP and mature development platforms to break into such new territory.

In imec’s cleanrooms, you can bring your technology to maturity. The 300mm cleanroom is uniquely equipped for concept and process development of highly advanced technologies, while the 200mm cleanroom also allows the prototyping and low-volume manufacturing of complex devices.

Here are some of the mature technology platforms where imec is pioneering:

In imec’s 200mm cleanroom with an advanced silicon pilot line, we:

  • Develop a process.
  • Realize a prototype.
  • Support low-volume runs.
  • Transfer the process to leading foundries for high-volume runs.

Discover our custom microdevice development services

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Funding and venturing

Since its beginning more than 35 years ago, imec has supported numerous startups and launched more than 40 spinoffs. So we know that deep-tech startups need more than just technology.

Imec’s venturing teams have privileged access to the deep-tech ecosystem and venture builders. This is how they help you to get the most out of your ideas:

  • technology-market match – We show you how to turn your innovation into a sustainable competitive advantage. And to make the right technology choices.
  • talent – We help you to hire the right people by tapping into our far-reaching network.
  • capital – We bring you in touch with a network of deep-tech investors and help you to shape your business plan. And you could be eligible for direct support through our own investment funds imec.istart and imec.xpand.

Let’s talk about your future

Deep-tech startups supported by imec

These startups talk about how access to imec’s technology and support contributed to their success: 

  • Axelera AI, which joined forces with imec to develop groundbreaking computing architecture for high-performance AI, and successfully closed a seed investment round of $12 million joined by imec and imec.xpand. Read the press release
  • Xanadu, which develops photonic chips for fault-tolerant quantum computing. Read the press release
  • Biotelemetry, which developed the next generation of its wearable device for arrhythmia detection with imec. Read the article 
  • Tridimeo, which produced a highly-precise 3D vision solution for industrial robots with imec’s hyperspectral imaging technology. Read the article 
  • Genalyte, which, together with imec, developed and produced disposable biosensor chips for its diagnostic and molecular detection equipment. Read the press release 
  • Sarcura, which collaborates with imec on high throughput cytometry automated (T-)cell separation. Read the press release
  • Neurogyn, which leverages imec’s expertise in implantable solutions to develop a neurostimulation device for pelvic nerve disorders. Read the press release

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