PlanarMag Raises First Round

PlanarMag Inc., a developer of electromagnetic components for the computer, data networking and telecom markets, has raised first-round funding from American River Ventures. No financial terms were disclosed, although VentureWire places the round amount at $1.5 million.




American River Ventures (ARV), an early-stage venture capital firm that focuses on new technologies which support a sustainable future through energy efficiency, energy intelligence and advanced materials, today announced that it has closed a seed investment in PlanarMag, Inc., a developer of electromagnetic components for the computer, data networking and telecommunications industries. In conjunction with the initial seed investment, Harry Laswell and Barbara Grant, ARV Managing Directors, joined PlanarMag's Board of Directors. The initial funding will support the growth of the company as it focuses on product development and hiring of key employees.

PlanarMag's technology was developed by a cross disciplinary team that includes Professor Anh-Vu Pham of University of California, Davis (UC Davis) and industry veterans, such as Lee Harrison, the former Vice President of Operations at Keyeye Communications.

“PlanarMag is another example of a company innovating by leveraging UC Davis as a source for incredible technologists,” stated Harry Laswell of American River Ventures. “Based on PlanarMag's innovative technological approach, we believe the company is well positioned to grab a large share of a billion dollar electromagnetic component market.”

PlanarMag is the second company that American River Ventures has funded and helped build that has utilized technologists from UC Davis. In 2006, ARV funded SynapSense, which was co-founded by Dr. Raju Pandey, an Associate Professor with the Department of Computer Science at UC Davis, and Peter Van Deventer, a former Intel executive and established veteran of global technology market development.

“We are pleased to see innovative companies in our area being built, especially companies that have a research link to the university,” stated Barry Klein, Vice Chancellor for Research for University of California, Davis. “We look forward to supporting Dr. Anh-Vu Pham and PlanarMag as it grows to reach its potential.”

Company Founders

As President and CEO of PlanarMag, Harrison has a long history of global technology and business management. Prior to founding PlanarMag, Harrison was the Vice President of Operations for KeyEye Communications. He has over 20 years of high-level management experience, including General Manager of the Optical Ethernet Organization and General Manager of the Networking Components Division at Intel. Prior to Intel, Harrison was Vice President of Operations for Level One Communications, which was acquired by Intel. At Level One, he was responsible for worldwide manufacturing, logistics, strategic planning, and product/test engineering.

As the Chief Technology Officer for PlanarMag, Anh-Vu Pham is instrumental in establishing the intellectual property upon which the company was created. At the University of California at Davis, Pham is currently an Associate Professor and leads the Microwave Microsystems Lab, which has been supported for eight years by both industry and government agencies for research on RF/microwave/millimeter wave circuits and their integration in organic platforms. In 1997, Pham co-founded RF Solutions, a fabless semiconductor company providing RFICs for WiFi applications, which was acquired in 2003 by Anadigics Inc. (NasdaqNM:ANAD). He has published a book, several book chapters and over 90 peer-reviewed papers.

About American River Ventures:

American River Ventures is an early-stage venture capital firm that focuses on emerging companies that provide a platform for a sustainable future through energy efficiency, energy intelligence and advanced materials. Founded in May of 2001, the firm offers entrepreneurs direct experience in the day-to-day realities of building great companies. American River Ventures' general partners have a solid blend of operating and management experience in both corporate and start-up environments – – they have been directly responsible for successfully starting or running companies, developing new products, and growing companies into attractive acquisitions. Located in Sacramento, California, American River Ventures has $100 million under management. For more information, visit or call 916-780-2828.