Chiral powers next-generation electronics with nanomaterials as it raises $3.8m


Nanotechnology company Chiral is incorporating nanomaterials into electronics with the speed, precision, and control that can transform future chipmaking. The ETH Zurich spin-off closed a $3.8 million pre-seed funding round led by Founderful and HCVC.

Research has evidenced the use case and impact of nanomaterials across a range of electronics including high-performance transistors, low-power sensors, quantum devices, and many more. However, existing production methods, mostly based on chemistry, are not controllable, which has thus far prevented commercialization of these devices.

Chiral has built high-speed, automated, robotic machines that integrate nanomaterials into devices. These machines can robotically place micrometer-sized (or even nanometer-sized) materials on small chips. Repeating these motions in a fast and automated manner requires a very high level of engineering, which, when done right, ensures the precision and control that conventional chemistry-based methods lack.

The development of Chiral’s technology started as a national research project conducted at the ETH Domain institutions (ETH Zurich, EPFL, and Empa), in which the company’s co-founders, Seoho Jung, Natanael Lanz, and Andre Butzerin participated as PhD students. After 4 years of R&D, the research team finished its first prototype machine, which was 100 times faster than the other systems available at the time. The immediate reaction of the market to the prototype, which quickly led to the company’s first batch of pilot customers, convinced the co-founders that they should continue their activity as a company. They incorporated Chiral in June 2023 as a result.

The pre-seed funding round will accelerate the development of Chiral’s next machine, which will unlock new market opportunities with its versatility and performance. In addition, the startup will scale its team to keep up with the growing demand and customer base. The round was co-led by Founderful (formerly Wingman Ventures) and HCVC and includes grants from ETH Zurich and Venture Kick.

Enabling the AI revolution

Alexis Houssou, Founding Partner at HCVC, commented: “With the current boom in AI applications, we stand at a pivotal moment where the slowdown of Moore's law threatens to decelerate the pace of technological progress significantly. The team at Chiral has embarked on a critical mission to pave the way toward a groundbreaking post-silicon era, promising to transcend current limitations and unlock new possibilities for advancement. We couldn't be more excited to support their mission, in collaboration with Founderful, as they build the future of computing infrastructure.”

Pascal Mathis, Founding Partner at Founderful, commented: “We're thrilled to join forces with Chiral alongside HCVC. Chiral's AI- and robotics-based technology lets us envision a future where nanomaterial-based chips are being produced at the scale needed for commercialization – a major bottleneck up until now. We look forward to supporting Seoho, Natanael and André in their journey to introduce a new paradigm of chips beyond silicon.”

Seoho Jung added: “In the future, it will be normal for electronic devices or chips to contain nanomaterials. The development roadmaps of the world's leading chipmakers like TSMC, Samsung, and Intel all share our vision. We are confident that Chiral technology will empower the industry to make this transition faster."