Alien Lands $66 Million in Funding

By Ari Juels

RFID products and services provider Alien Technology says it will use the money to expand into new markets.

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RFID products and services company Alien Technology, located in Morgan Hill, Calif., has completed a $66 million round of funding—its eighth and largest round to date. Its second-largest round, raised in 2000, totaled $58 million.

This new round appears to be the largest single amount raised by any individual RFID technology company, and it brings the total capital invested in Alien to more than $200 million. "This funding is a validation of Alien as a market leader," says Alien's CFO, Ron Shelton.

Alien's CFO, Ron Shelton

The company announced that it will use the money to expand and drive new market opportunities. In May, Alien purchased Quatrotec, an integration services and project management firm focused on commercial aviation and other transportation markets, as a means of strengthening its position in the transportation industry (see Alien Buys Airport Systems Integrator ). Shelton says this funding could be used to make more acquisitions to boost Alien's presence in other emerging RFID markets.

The funding was led by SunBridge Partners, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based venture capital firm with an emphasis on computing and manufacturing innovations. Existing Alien investors Advanced Equities and Digital Bandwidth, based in Chicago; Equitek Capital, based in Beachwood, Ohio; London-based Lago Ventures; and Miami Valley Venture Fund, based in Dayton, Ohio, also contributed to the $66 million.

Alien Technology, which entered the market in 1999 and was an early provider of EPC Class 1 tags and readers (interrogators) patented a tag-manufacturing process called Fluidic Self Assembly. Alien says it uses this method to assemble passive RFID tags at rates upwards of 2,000,000 per hour, whereas other conventional assembly methods reach rates of around 10,000 per hour.

Alien's main manufacturing facility is in Morgan Hill, Calif. but it has broken ground on a second manufacturing facility in Fargo, N.D. (see Alien to Build High-Capacity Tag Plant), which should be operational by the middle of 2006, according to Shelton.