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Nordic VCs invest in Silicon Carbide technology company Norstel AB


February 15, 2005 -- Nordic technology investors Eqvitec Partners, Northzone Ventures and Creandum have invested in Norstel AB, a spin-out from the Finnish semiconductor materials company Okmetic Oyj.

Norstel develops and manufactures Silicon Carbide (SiC) wafers for extremely demanding semiconductor applications. SiC wafers are a basis for high voltage and high frequency electronics components used in DC-DC converter, radars, 4G base stations etc. SiC has the potential to be the facilitator for the next paradigm shift in electronics industry.

Norstel bases its business on the proprietary HTCVD technology that has been developed in a 10 year co-operative effort of a team of researchers at Linköping University, ABB and Okmetic. The development has been financed also by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research and various European projects.

The total funding of Norstel is over 20 million euros of which the Swedish government shall cover over 6 million euros during the next three years through the Swedish Energy Agency and VINNOVA as support for the product development.

“Norstel is an excellent example of long term research and development effort that finds its justification through market demand and customer interest. It is very easy for a venture capitalist to support companies like Norstel”, says Jukka Häyrynen, Partner at Eqvitec.


Significant savings in energy and reduced environmental impact
Applications involving conversion, transmission and management of electric power will be prime candidates for utilising silicon carbide semiconductor devices. Transmission losses can be significantly reduced, and at the same time household appliances and industrial systems designed around silicon carbide devices consume less power. SiC devices can be used to make more of the energy produced in solar power modules and wind power stations reach the consumer, or to improve the performance of hybrid cars.

Product development at Norstel takes place in close collaboration with device manufacturers, thus aiming at solutions that quickly can be introduced on the market. The effects on our society, including energy savings and reduced environmental impact, can be truly significant on a global perspective.


Telecommunications and radar
The high-quality silicon carbide from Norstel can also be used for high frequency devices. Electronic systems, such as mobile phone base stations and radar, can be made more efficient with reduced size.

- We have already obtained a major contract to deliver silicon carbide to a large project for a Western European Union new defensive radar system. The contract is with the Swedish Defense Materiel Administration (FMV), which is co-ordinating the Swedish part of the project. Norstel was the only European source of SiC high frequency material capable of meeting the stringent demands, says Asko Vehanen, CEO of Norstel AB.


About EQVITEC Partners:
EQVITEC Partners is the leading private and independent venture capital firm in the Nordic region with €260 million under management. EQVITEC focuses on technology companies and has invested in about 40 Finnish and international technology companies with growth potential. Additional information about EQVITEC Partners can be found at www.eqvitec.com


About Northzone Ventures:
Northzone Ventures is a leading Nordic venture capital firm specialized in innovative early stage investments within software, information technology and telecommunications. The firm has 8 investment professionals located in offices in Copenhagen, Oslo, and Stockholm, and has invested in more than 30 companies across Scandinavia since it was founded in 1996. Following the recent closing of its fourth investment fund, Northzone manages EUR 170 million in capital commitments from leading Nordic and international private equity investors. www.northzone.com.


About Creandum:
Creandum is a Nordic venture fund founded in 2003 investing in companies’ earliest pha


Publisher Contact Information:

EQVITEC Partners Oy
+358 9 6894 5533
jukka.hayrynen@eqvitec.com

Company profile of EQVITEC Partners Oy
Past press releases of EQVITEC Partners Oy.

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