The Micromanipulator Company, a leader in analytical probing equipment for the semiconductor industry, announced today that Flywheel Ventures, a New Mexico-based venture capital firm, has acquired a majority interest in the company for an undisclosed amount from its current owner, the California Institute of Technology (“Caltech”). In addition to the transfer of interest, the company will also receive a direct $1 million cash infusion from Flywheel to support future growth and acquisitions. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
At the close of the transaction, Trevor Loy and Kim Sanchez Rael of Flywheel Ventures and Carlos Perea of MIOX Corporation (and a Strategic Advisor to Flywheel) will join Mike Slessor of Caltech and Bill Hartman of Micromanipulator on the company’s Board of Directors. Slessor, Loy, Rael and Perea all have significant semiconductor industry experience. Hartman most recently led MesoSystems Technology to a significant increase in valuation and sale.
Caltech acquired ownership of Micromanipulator via a gift from the estate of the company’s founder, Robert D. “Stan” Hancock, and will continue to maintain a minority interest in the company. Caltech and Micromanipulator sought the involvement of Flywheel Ventures in order to bring in additional value-added investors with significant entrepreneurial and growth expertise in the semiconductor equipment sector.
President and CEO Bill Hartman commented, “With Flywheel Ventures’ investment, semiconductor industry expertise and management assistance, I see a tremendous opportunity to build on Micromanipulator’s 50 years of probing leadership. Micromanipulator has long been known for outstanding product reliability and customer service. This investment will accelerate our development of new products, processes and services while creating our base for additional semiconductor, nanotechnology and MEMS device test solutions. We are already off to a very strong start to our 51st year in this industry. The active involvement of both Caltech and Flywheel on our Board of Directors will have a tremendously positive impact on our future growth.”
Flywheel Managing Partner Trevor Loy said, “Flywheel Ventures was attracted to Micromanipulator’s strong technology and intellectual property position, top-tier customer base of leading semiconductor manufacturers, strong brand awareness, and potential for revenue growth as well as expansion into new markets.”
Bill Hartman concluded by saying, “I am looking forward to the partnership with Caltech and Flywheel. Our employees, partners and customers are similarly excited by the investment and the exciting changes already ongoing at the company.”
The Micromanipulator Company is a leading manufacturer of analytical probing equipment for 150, 200 and 300 mm semiconductor wafers, solar cells, nanotechnology and MEMS devices. Micromanipulator provides probe stations and accessories for applications including reliability testing, low current/low noise IV/CV testing, high frequency testing, and probing for flat panels and PCB’s. Micromanipulator is located in Carson City, Nevada. For more information on Micromanipulator, please visit www.micromanipulator.com.
About Flywheel Ventures
Flywheel Ventures is a venture capital firm that makes investments of first institutional capital in the Mountain West. Flywheel targets companies based on innovations in information technology and the physical sciences. The firm matches talented entrepreneurs and market opportunities with Flywheel's capital, entrepreneurial experience, and industry relationships to accelerate innovations into profitable companies. Flywheel is based in Santa Fe and also has offices in Albuquerque and San Francisco. For more information on Flywheel, please visit www.flywheelventures.com.
About the California Institute of Technology
The mission of the California Institute of Technology is to expand human knowledge and benefit society through research integrated with education. Caltech investigates the most challenging, fundamental problems in science and technology in a singularly collegial, interdisciplinary atmosphere, while educating outstanding students to become creative members of society. In the Institute's 115-year history, Caltech faculty have been awarded 32 Nobel Prizes and 5 Crafoord Prizes, along with 47 National Medals of Science and 10 National Medals of Technology. For more information on Caltech, please visit www.caltech.edu.
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