CIA-launched fund invests in image sensor company

In-Q-Tel, a private investment firm launched by the CIA to support U.S. intelligence agencies, is among those that invested $15 million in Pixim, which makes image sensors for surveillance cameras.

In-Q-Tel, a private investment firm launched by the CIA to support U.S. intelligence agencies, has invested in image sensor maker Pixim, the company said Wednesday.

The investment was part of a $15 million funding round announced in March that also included Tallwood Venture Capital, Ridgewood Capital and the Mayfield Fund.

Pixim sells digital image sensors and associated software used in surveillance cameras. The technology is geared to work in particular with difficult lighting conditions. The company's Orca chips are used in more than 100 camera models available today.

"In-Q-Tel invested in Pixim because it offers government and commercial users a new capability to significantly enhance critical decision making," said Troy M. Pearsall, In-Q-Tel's executive vice president of technology transfer, in a statement.

Image sensors convert analog information from light into digital information that can be processed by a computer. Pixim uses a technology it calls Digital Pixel System that uses an analog-to-digital converter at each sensor pixel rather than sharing a converter among many pixels.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.


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