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Magnetic storage device maker Everspin spins its way to Nasdaq

Magneto-resistive RAM chipmaker Everspin Technologies is trying to make sure its in-memory magnetic storage technology will spin into the future. The Chandler, Ariz.-based vendor this month raised $40 million in an initial public offering needed to “continue as a going concern” beyond 2016, according to its security filing.

Everspin shares started trading on the Nasdaq Global Market Oct. 7 under ticker symbol MRAM. Investors purchased 5 million shares at $8 per share. Underwriters retain an option to scoop up an over-allotment of 750,000 shares at the offering price, which would increase proceeds by roughly $6 million to $46 million.

In a concurrent transaction, Everspin said it expects to get an additional $5 million via a private placement of 625,000 shares with China-based NOR memory maker GigaDevice Semiconductor (HK) Limited.

Shares in Everspin peaked at $9.99 during the first day of trading before pulling back Monday to $6.69 on volume of 161,170 shares, a drop of 33%.

The early-stage vendor has lost money every year since its 2008 spinout from Freescale Semiconductor Inc., now a subsidiary of Netherlands-based NXP Semiconductors. A net loss occurs when a company’s debt, operating expenses and taxes exceed its profit.

Everspin has accumulated an $89.7 million deficit and has $2.6 million in cash and cash equivalents on hand. Through June, Everspin’s net loss was $10 million on revenue of $12.8 million. Net losses in fiscal year (FY) 2015 were $19 million on total revenue of $26.5 million, which followed a $10 million net loss on revenue of $24.9 million in FY 2014.

Magneto-resistive RAM technology stores data as a magnetic state. Traditional semiconductor memory uses an electrical charge.  Everspin MRAM is available as a discrete device or an embedded system on a chip.  The products are designed to read and write data at speeds on par with DRAM and SRAM.

Everspin’s magnetic storage combines the persistence of nonvolatile memory with the speed and endurance of random access memory.  The MRAM devices can be used as byte-addressable memory channel storage. Everspin stacks chips in a vertical plane to boost cell density and enable MRAM to function as persistent memory.

Everspin integrates magnetic storage by integrating industry-standard CMOS wafers during manufacturing at its Chandler fab plant. The storage uses a magnetic tunnel junction device to make calls to system memory. Manufacturing of higher density MRAM chips are outsourced to fab partner Global Foundries, which holds a $5 million ownership stake in Everspin.

Newcomers like Everspin and RAM card makers could represent the next wave of storage technology, following the dizzying pace of adoption of NAND flash. Everspin’s lower density MRAM products range from 128 kilobits to 16 megabits (Mb). Common uses are found in automotive, industrial and transportation application.  Higher density chips range from 64 Mb to 256 Mb and provide magnetic storage to the enterprise storage market, including server, SSD and appliance vendors.  Everspin counts Broadcom, Dell, IBM and Lenovo as storage customers.