Pixim gets another $13m

Sunday, February 1, 2009

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--Pixim, a provider of image sensors and processors for enterprise security cameras, announced in December it has closed $13 million in additional venture capital funding from existing investors Mayfield Fund, Ridgewood Capital and Tallwood Venture Capital.

Pixim last raised $15 million in March of 2007.

“We were gratified with how smoothly [the fundraising] went, given the environment” said John Monti, vice president of sales and marketing at Pixim. He said the funding is mostly intended to prepare for the worst in 2009. “We’re having a tough time predicting next year,” Monti said, “and we wanted to have a lot of dry powder in case [the market] deteriorates significantly. There are a lot of big companies that are staking their reputations on our products, so we want to make sure we’ve got really deep pockets.”

He noted that other chip manufacturers serving the industry - such as H.264 compression semiconductor maker Mobilygen, which just sold to Maxim Integrated Products in October - have been struggling or selling off their assets. “It’s fiscally responsible, what we’re doing,” Monti said. He also noted, for example, that Mayfield actually increased their ownership percentage of Pixim. “They’re betting big on a few bets,” and Pixim is one of them.

“Our thought is that we want to emerge from whatever downturn in the business happens with a position to pick up more market share faster,” Monti said, “and our investors are of the same opinion.”

Pixim is now in 300 different cameras sold in more than 90 countries worldwide, and Monti noted that more than half of those 300 cameras have been added in the past year. Pixim is now in Cisco’s IP cameras, Dedicated Micros’ cameras, and “Siemens is broadening their line,” he said by way of example.

He also emphasized that Pixim is still selling 90 percent of its chips into analog cameras and predicted that the vaunted crossover to IP, where more IP cameras being installed than analog, is still a few years into the future, and being pushed back by as much as two years by the economy.

“If we had bet on IP back eight years ago when we were founded,” Monti said, “we’d be toast right now.”

Pixim’s Digital Pixel System image capture and processing technology is designed to enhance camera performance in all lighting conditions, and numerous applications. The company is currently working on an HD solution, as well as a lower-end chip.