EpiGaN raises € 4 million for GaN-on-Silicon production
Capricorn Cleantech Fund, Robert Bosch Venture Capital (RBVC), and LRM jointly invested € 4 million in EpiGaN, to launch volume production of gallium nitride-on-silicon wafers.
Imec spin off EpiGaN has closed its first capital round of € 4 million, which will allow it to start volume production of GaN-on-silicon epitaxial material for the next-generation efficient power electronics.
Set up in 2010, EpiGaN was founded by Marianne Germain, CEO, Joff Derluyn, CTO and Stefan Degroote, COO, as a spin-off of research institute imec. For more than 10 years, the founders jointly developed state-of-the-art GaN-on-Silicon technology on 4” and 6” wafers at imec, part of which has been licensed to EpiGaN.
They are today joined by a strong consortium of investors who share their vision on GaN-on-silicon as a key technology for enhancing power management efficiency, implementing renewable energy sources, or enabling cleaner transportation technologies with reduced environmental impact.
“EpiGaN has demonstrated the capability of its innovative material to support record device performance either in high voltage, high current or high frequency operation“, says Marianne Germain. “We are proud that investors have decided to support our initiative and will enable us to commercially provide the same high-standards material quality in large volume to our industrial customers.”
The participation of RBVC lends credibility to the strategic vision of the company: “We are impressed by the technological achievements of EpiGaN and the capabilities of the team. As a leading manufacturer of power electronics modules and systems, we believe that this technology has the potential to make significant contributions to the world of power conversion and are happy to be part of the investor syndicate supporting the company,” said Gadi Toren, venture capital investment partner at RBVC and future board member of EpiGaN.
Marc Lambrechts, who will join the board of EpiGaN on behalf of Capricorn Cleantech Fund, is convinced EpiGaN addresses a key target market: “Power conversion is an essential technology for an impressive number of cleantech applications such as energy efficient power supplies, solar inverters, wind energy, electric or hybrid vehicles and smart grids. The customers of EpiGaN will benefit from higher efficiency, improved reliability and reduced system size and weight, by using the EpiGaN state-of-the-art GaN-on-silicon technology.”
The support of the investors will allow EpiGaN to implement its own production capacity and increase its market supply: 4” and 6” GaN-on-silicon wafers for high voltage or RF applications are readily available from EpiGaN while a 200 mm wafer technology is under development in EpiGaN. EpiGaN will deploy its activities at the Research Campus Hasselt in Limburg, geographically located squarely within Leuven, Eindhoven and Aachen.
“EpiGaN has chosen Limburg as the best location to grow their business after an in depth location study. We are happy that our intertwined offer of venture capital and sector specific infrastructure played a key role in the decision process”, says Stijn Bijnens, CEO of LRM; “EpiGaN will contribute to the development of high-tech solutions for the renewable energy domain, an area where Limburg is willing to play an important role”.
“Imec has pioneered the use of Si substrates for GaN technology, for its cost efficiency and its bright perspective of leveraging on the silicon-based semiconductor industry. We are proud to see that a highly-innovative, long-term research project leads to the creation of a high-potential spin-off, bringing imec technology to the market”, concludes Luc Van den hove, President and CEO of imec.