One of the best returns on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) by an Israeli share over the past year was by Weebit Nano, whose share price has soared almost 250% since June 2017. The share price jumped 16% today, after having risen even higher during the day, pushing Weebit Nano's market cap up to A$105 million (NIS 283 million), less than two years after it was merged with an Australian stock exchange shell at a company value of A$36 million.
Today's rises following the achievement of a technological milestone reported by the company. Weebit Nano, founded in 2015, deals with non-volatile memory. Weebit Nano's CEO is Coby Hanoch and its chairperson is David Perlmutter. Former Tower Semiconductor Ltd. (Nasdaq: TSEM; TASE: TSEM) CEO Yoav Nisan-Cohen is a director at Weebit Nano.
Hanoch says, "The company is developing the next generation of memory for the semiconductor industry. We are an Israeli startup listed on the ASX. Our development is mostly done in France together with a partner named Leti. The memory we're developing is what is called 'non-volatile,' meaning that it still remembers the information when you turn off the electricity. The non-volatile memory now in use is flash memory, such as USB. What we're developing is 1,000 times as fast and requires one thousandth as much power as flash."
The company reported today that it had displayed a megabyte of memory using 40-nanometer technology in compliance with the timetable set by the company two years ago. Hanoch says that this means that the company's current memory can meet the requirements of most designs for system on a chip. The report by the company states that its technology today demonstrates greater memory capacity that what exists in the market it is aiming at - a market currently estimated at over $25 billion.
When is the technology expected to become commercial?
Hanoch: "There a long process ahead before it becomes a real product. In the semiconductor industry, everything is measured in years. We believe that we'll get to a product that can be sold in two years."
He nevertheless adds that the company can start posting revenue next year when it begins its cooperation with companies in order to develop versions suitable to the specific needs of each company, as is the usual practice in the industry.
After the leap in the price on ASX, are you headed for Nasdaq?
"We certainly aren't ruling out this option. We're still without revenue at the moment, so Nasdaq won't talk with us. When we start moving, however, and we're strong enough, the Nasdaq option is always relevant."
Production and R&D center in France for reasons of economy
Weebit Nano currently has over 20 employees, mostly in France in the production center designed for R&D purposes. Hanoch says that there is a big advantage in France: "I wish they would also do it in Israel: the French government gives me back €0.60 of every euro I pay Leti. When we hired a doctoral student, they paid us 120% of his salary for the first two years. The government takes these actions in order to strengthen R&D because they also want to be the startup nation."
Incidentally, the company was founded on the basis of technology invented by Prof. James Tour from Rice University. Another ASX-listed Israeli company, Dotz Nano, is also based on technology developed by Tour. The two companies' business is tangential, but they are completely separate companies. Dotz Nano has an A$11 million (NIS 30 million) market cap.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 25, 2018
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