Advanced Inquiry Systems seeks second chance with new backing [The Oregonian, Portland, Ore.]
(Oregonian (Portland, OR) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Oct. 14--Advance Inquiry Systems Inc., a semiconductor test company that's weathered multiple setbacks, has a new benefactor, raising hopes that it may yet produce a marketable product.
Once known as Octavian Scientific, AISI was among Oregon's best-funded tech startups in the decade after the dot-com crash. It raised at least $43 million through 2010 developing new testing tools for the chip industry. Backers included OVP Venture Partners and Intel Capital, among others. The company employed 22 at a Hillsboro office as of 2009.
But product development stalled around that time, according to Mark Gardiner, who ran the company from 2003 to 2006, and returned as chief executive in 2011. A private equity fund called QVT Financial inherited a major stake in AISI through a prior investment, according to Gardiner, and investors set about rescuing the business.
AISI has shed its 25,000-square-foot Beaverton office, Gardiner said, and moved to small quarters in Beaverton. It now employs fewer than a dozen, but founder Morgan Johnson remains with the company as chief technology officer.
Regulatory filings suggest that AISI has raised more than $1 million in outside investment this year; Gardiner said that money comes from QVT, to help the company finish developing its technology and win acceptance from an unnamed chip manufacturer. Gardiner said that could come as soon as next year.
"We're in their lab right now," he said.
-- Mike Rogoway; 503-294-7699
(c)2013 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)
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