Investor Questions

Common Questions

What is eNVM (Embedded Non-Volatile Memory)?
  • Embedded Non-Volatile Memory (eNVM) refers to a type of non-volatile memory technology that is integrated and embedded directly into a chip for the purpose of storing data. Information stored in eNVM is retained even when power is turned off. Generally, it has higher performance and speed compared to non-embedded (external) memory, therefore, all chips has and require eNVM functions.

What are the different types of eNVM ?
  • There are several types of eNVM, namely ROM, eFuse, OTP, MTP, embedded flash, and emerging memory (RRAM and MRAM). Among these, eMemory invents IPs and solutions for OTP, MTP, and emerging memory. eFuse and ROM (Read-Only Memory) are provided by foundries.

    ROM must be programmed during the design phase and remains unchangeable after manufacturing. In contrast, eFuse programming occurs during the wafer test phase and cannot be altered post-packaging. eFuse presents additional drawbacks, including smaller data density and a larger area on the chip. Moreover, it lacks security, making it susceptible to reverse engineering through techniques like electron microscopes. OTP occupies a smaller area, is programmable even after packaging, and is more secure due to invisible storage at the transistor level.

    Embedded flash also comes with its share of disadvantages. It is limited to mature process nodes and requires at least 10 additional mask layers, contributing to increased foundry costs. MTP does not need additional mask layers and can be used at advanced process nodes.

What exactly does eMemory do?
  • eMemory invents pure technology-based Intellectual Property (IP) at the transistor level. We invent IPs for non-volatile embedded memory, which means that the memory function is embedded on the chip and has at least 10-year data retention. Our OTP, a one time programmable device, guarantees the chip memorizes one-time and forever. For example, parameter setting, trimming, repair, code storage, UID, and more. Deriving from two OTP transistors, we also have hardware security-related IP solutions, namely PUF, which stands for physical unclonable function to serve as a hardware root of trust for chip security needs. In addition, we also invented embedded MTP (multiple times programmable) IPs, embedding multiple times programmable memory functions such as flash and EEPROM.

    For more technical explanations of each product, please refer to our product pages here.

What is your business model?
  • Our business model consists of 20-30% licensing revenue and 70-80% royalty revenue. The licensing revenue comprises technology licensing from foundries and design licensing from end customers. Design licensing is further divided into usage and NRE fees; the former for reusing our IPs from our IP library, the latter for customized designs. We place less emphasis on licensing to encourage customer adoption of our IPs but insist on collecting royalty because it is reoccurring and a fixed percentage of foundry wafer price. A royalty-based business will drive revenue as more customers adopt our IPs at more advanced nodes, resulting in higher ASP.

How do you grow your business?
  • To grow our business, our main goal is to increase our penetration rate in foundries. By expanding into more advanced processes, we can charge higher royalties per wafer, increasing ASP.

    Simultaneously, we can also achieve this goal by developing new technologies and applications. For example, in terms of new application development, we are working on repair functions for DRAM and additional security functions for flash. In terms of technological innovation, our NeoPUF technology offers chip fingerprints and perfect natural randomness. It's cost-effective, energy-efficient, high-speed, and compatible with global foundry processes. Our PUF technology serves as one of key business growth drivers, opening doors to new applications and partnership opportunities, especially in hardware-based security.

Who are your key foundry customers and their respective revenue contribution?
  • We currently work with 25 foundries worldwide. The majority of our royalty revenue comes from leading foundry customers T and U, contributing around 50% and 20% respectively. The remaining 30% are made up of revenue contributions from other foundry-based customers. 

What percentage of your revenue comes from leading customer T? 
  • The majority of our revenue contribution comes from Taiwanese foundries. Leading foundry T is our top foundry customer and almost 50% of our royalty revenues come from them. Since we have a lot of tape-out in leading foundry T's pipeline waiting for production, it might increase to 60% for leading edge.

How do you verify if you have received royalties from customers?
  • Our royalties are mainly collected from foundries. Compared to over 2000 fabless customers, collecting from our twenty-something foundry customers is much easier. Furthermore, foundries generally operate at a certain business scale and maintain a healthy financial status. They also possess a more comprehensive royalty report and production record system, making the reports from foundries more complete and reliable than reports from fabless customers. At the same time, we conduct regular reviews of foundries’ royalty reports and perform irregular on-site audits, cross-referencing them with fabless customers. Through these extensive procedures, we ensure that customers have paid their royalties.

How do you calculate penetration rate?
  • Our royalty rate is fixed and we receive a royalty report from foundry every quarter, based on process node. We calculate the penetration rate by dividing the royalty amount by the royalty rate (indicating the percentage of foundry revenue paid towards our royalties) then compare it according to the process’s revenue of the foundry’s previous quarter.

What percentage of your customers are Chinese customers?
  • Around 10-15% of our customers are from China, including 9 foundries and over 900 chip companies.

Why is the market moving towards embedded?
  • Embedded provides better performance overall compared to external because it is more high-speed, low-power and secure. As processors are moving forward, all the accompanying technologies have to improve performance to catch up.

Are you adopted by AI customers?
  • We have always had AI clients who utilize our IP for security, SRAM repair and other related AI applications.

    Given that AI systems need to process a vast amount of sensitive data and code, enhancing security is crucial. Our PUF-based solutions meet the stringent security requirements of our clients in protecting AI-related information and technology.

    Furthermore, with the growing demand for AI, such as larger training data and the need for high-speed computing, there's an increased use of multi-core, high-performance CPUs. This necessitates more high-density embedded SRAM to cater to faster computations and larger training models. The rise in SRAM memory density raises the likelihood of memory defects, thereby increasing the demand for SRAM repair. Currently, advanced process clients are adopting our IP for SRAM repair.

Why does it take at least 5-10 years for your technologies to commercialize?
  • It takes a while for our technologies to take off because all of our technologies are original inventions and need to undergo an extensive process of patenting, passing foundry qualifications, and accumulating production records.

    The first stage of commercializing a technology requires spending at least 1-2 years in the foundry qualification stage. Due to the risks associateds with embedded memory, we must prove that our technologies work. Once proven, we need to find early adopters, which take another few years before moving from tape-out to production. Once each technology has accumulated enough production record, larger companies will adopt our IPs, this process typically takes another few years.

How much do you spend on R&D?
  • Over 70% of our expenses are allocated to R&D. These expenses are mainly comprised of employee salaries, software, other equipment, as well as application and maintenance costs related to patents.

    Our R&D expenses are mostly sustained by our partners, a key factor contributing to our high operating margin. The high costs associated with testing and qualification, including foundry shuttle, mask, test chip and more, are fully covered by our foundry partners. They not only cover these costs, but also pay us license fee. A similar arrangement exists with technology partners.

Do your patents expire?
  • Our technologies are original inventions and all need to be patented, which do expire after 20 years. However, our agreement with foundries are perpetual and don't have an end date. As long as a chip is produced within the agreement's timeframe and utilizes our IPs, it must adhere to the agreement terms and pay the predetermined royalty rate.

    To ensure continuous protection, we continually enhance and modify our technologies, creating different versions to renew patents. Notably, each technology is safeguarded by a comprehensive patent pool, encompassing cell patents, design patents, and more. That is why we have over 1500 patents as of now.

    Take our NeoBit for example, it was invented 20 years ago and remains protected by current patents, still contributing to tape outs and generating royalties.

What risks does your company face?
  • Our main potential risk is encountering clients who fail to pay royalties. In order to mitigate this situation, we not only carefully assess the financial status of clients at the beginning but also explicitly stipulate the penalties for non-payment of royalties in our contracts, ensuring the operation and interests of our company are protected.

    So far, over 99% of our royalty revenue comes from licensed foundries and IDM customers. These foundries/IDMs generally have considerable business scale and good financial conditions. When we receive royalty reports and payments from them each quarter, we can also assess their financial status on a quarterly basis. Since our company’s establishment, there has not been any occurrence of unpaid royalties. Furthermore, we conduct an annual review of the credit conditions of these foundry/IDM customers and make appropriate adjustments to ensure that our operations and interests are not compromised.

What is your payout ratio?
  • Our payout ratio is almost 100%. For more information on Yearly EPS vs. Dividends, please visit here.

Who are your competitors?
  • For our AntiFuse OTP, our main competitor is Synopsys, which acquired our previous competitors Kilopass and Sidense. However, we hold the major market share because their technologies face yield issue when moving into advance nodes, and they have fewer process nodes in worldwide foundries. Currently, the primary OTP solution is eFuse, offered by foundries for free as a standard cell. However, it falls short in terms of area cost-effectiveness, yield, reliability and flexibility compared to AntiFuse OTP.

    Regarding MTP, our main competitors are small vendors, as the market has not really taken off. Nevertheless, we are beginning to see some applications gradually shifting towards adoption. We believe that our MTP-related technologies will dominate the market, just as our OTP has.

    For PUF, our main competitor is SRAM PUF, which is inferior in terms of reliability, randomness, uniqueness and robustness. In the PUF-based solution segment, our competitors are Rambus, Secure IC and Synopsys. We are the only vendor with a comprehensive solution, from hardware-based to software-based IPs, including our proprietary OTP and PUF technologies, as well as cryptographic algorithms and anti-tampering designs. In addition, since PUF is derived from our OTP technology, it is manufacturable on all OTP-qualified foundry process nodes worldwide.

Is it possible for customers to simultaneously use different technologies from your company? How do you charge royalty in that case?
  • Our customers do have many products that simultaneously utilize different technologies from our company, such as OTP+PUF, OTP+MTP or MTP+MTP, to meet their specific product functionality design requirements. When a product uses multiple of our technologies, we will charge relevant royalties for each different technology, respectively.

Since MTP allows multiple rewrite cycles, will it replace OTP which can only be written once?
  • The two technologies will not cannibalize each other since they serve two different purposes.

    OTP is designed to permanently memorize information once and is used to store data that shouldn’t be changed, such as device ID, security codes, permanent settings, and more. Once programmed, the information is expected to remain constant throughout the device’s lifespan. (More OTP information here.)

    MTP is designed to be programmed and erased multiple times, from a thousand to hundreds of thousands. MTP is used in applications that require frequent updates and modifications, such as complex PMIC, MCU or E-paper applications. (More MTP information here.)

    Many chips require OTP for functions such as trimming and parameter setting. However, not all require MTP. We also have alternatives such as external flash memory and EEPROM. In addition, to enhance the functionality of integrated circuits (ICs), many customers do require embedded MTP. This enables repeated rewriting for additional information storage and code updates within the chip and meets low power consumption requirements.

eMemory has been working on MTP for a long time. What is the reason behind MTP’s slower takeoff? Why do you believe that MTP is now entering its growth phase?
  • The reason MTP faced slower adoption is because in terms of memory cell architecture and peripheral circuits, MTP is more complex. The complexity at a fundamental physical level results in a longer lead time between technology development and customer production. To develop the best solutions, the MTP technology specifications need to align with customer ICs, and the MTP technology itself should offer cost-effectiveness and competitive advantages over external alternatives. However, each alteration in IP specification requires re-qualification and development with foundry process technologies, typically taking a few years before achieving significant customer volume shipments.

    Moreover, scenarios where multiple rewrites and embedding are imperative, alternative solutions with higher specifications and maturity, such as eFlash, are available. To choose MTP, there must be a compelling reason, such as cost considerations or challenges in integrating eFlash into specialty processes like HV/BCD.

    However, MTP is gradually gaining momentum due to the shift in customer and market application demands towards embedded MTP solutions. This shift aims to enhance in-house chips in terms of both functionality and cost-effectiveness. Various mainstream requiring MTP are progressively increasing. Notable examples include DDR5 SPD, which require 100K re-write times, making embedded EEPROM necessary. The enhanced complexity of the new SPD features makes external EEPROM unsuitable, and eFlash is less fitting from a cost perspective, thereby providing a favorable entry point for MTP. Other applications, such as e-paper drivers, are leaning towards MTP due to the need for regular adjustments in more complex panels.

What security problems does NeoPUF solutions solve? If not NeoPUF, then what is the alternative? Why will NeoPUF be increasingly adopted in the future?
  • eMemory's NeoPUF solutions leverages the unique physically unclonable variations that occur in the silicon manufacturing process to solve multiple security issues such as:

    1. Device Authentication: NeoPUF generates a unique identifier for each device based on its inherent physical unclonable variations. This unique identifier can be used for device authentication, ensuring that only legitimate devices are authorized to access a system or network.
    2. Key Generation: NeoPUF can be used to generate private keys that are unique to each device, to enhance the security of cryptographic protocols, such as encryption and digital signatures.
    3. Anti-Counterfeiting: The uniqueness of the NeoPUF can be used to detect counterfeit or cloned devices. By verifying the password stored in NeoPUF during the authentication process, it becomes challenging for attackers to replicate the device's identity.
    4. Anti-Tampering: NeoPUF generates a private key and public key pair, enabling the signature function to prevent files from being tampered with.
    5. Random Number Generation: The inherent unpredictability of NeoPUF can be used to generate random numbers, which are crucial for various security applications, including cryptographic protocols and secure communications.


    If the chip does not use PUF, random numbers must be generated by a random number generator (TRNG). However, TRNG relies on the competition between two identical circuits to generate random numbers, resulting in several problems. First, the randomness will be insufficient, and the generated random numbers may not be unique. Second, the method for generating random numbers is easily influenced by surrounding variables such as temperature, voltage, and noise, leading to inconsistent results.


Have anymore questions?

Please submit your questions using the link below, we will contact you via email.