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Impinj – Profile

January 12, 2005

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HQ: Seattle, WA
Founded: 2000
Management: CEO is William Colleran. He sold a previous company to Broadcom (where he stayed on as Director of Business Development) and has experience as a Merrill Lynch tech banker. The venerable Dr. Carver Mead, one of the early pioneers of chip design, is a co-founder of the company. He and a former student, Chris Diorio, developed Impinj’s “floating-gate” technology.
Investors: Raised $52 million in 3 rounds from ARCH Venture Partners, Mobius Venture Capital, Polaris Venture Partners, Unilever Technology Ventures, UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund, and Madrona Venture Group.
Business Model: Impinj’s core products are chips for RFID tags, the technology which promises to make the barcode obsolete. Company’s secret sauce, Self-Adaptive Silicon, allows for cheaper, less power-hungry RFIDs. Impinj technology also works over longer ranges.
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Behold the Self-Adaptive Silicon
Competitors: Texas Instruments, Philips Semiconductors, Intermec
Dirt: The fact that UPS has invested in Impinj means the company, among other reasons, should be taken seriously. UPS has also invested in Savi Technology Inc, a provider of software used in creating RFID supply-chain networks. RFID is a classically over-hyped technology. Even Albert Wright, VP of engineering for UPS, told InformationWeek: “Right now, it’s strictly a value proposition. Bar codes are reliable and very inexpensive. It’s going to be some time before the adoption rates of RFID can rival those of bar codes.” At least Impinj is now shipping products and has a war chest of cash. If the RFID market meets its vast expectations, Impinj is sitting pretty.

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