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Cambridge GaN Devices secures $19M investment

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Funding enables UK start-up to deliver mass production of its GaN transistors

Cambridge GaN Devices (CGD), a fabless semiconductor company spun out of the power device group at the Engineering Department of the University of Cambridge in 2016, has raised $19m in Series B funding.

The investment was led by Parkwalk Advisors and BGF, with participation from IQ Capital, CIC, Foresight Williams Technology and Martlet Capital. The investment will enable CGD to begin mass production of its range of GaN transistors for power applications. CGD's new ICeGaN GaN transistor family addresses a $50bn global power semiconductor market across consumer and industrial power supplies, lighting, data centres and automotive HEV/EV.

Giorgia Longobardi, co-founder and CEO, CGD said: “As we move to a net-zero carbon society with rapidly increasing levels of electrification, we need clean, renewable sources of electricity and more efficient conversion methods. GaN provides the optimum conversion solution, reducing power losses by more than 50 percent and increasing energy conversion efficiency to above 99 percent. To take just one application example, if all data centres were to adopt GaN, this would save 12.4TWh of electricity per year, or 9 million tons of CO2 - the equivalent of taking 1.9 million internal combustion engines vehicles off the road for a year."

She added: "Our ICeGaN GaN transistors – which are now in the hands of customers at scale – are amongst the most efficient devices of their type on the market. Our devices are also the easiest for designers to use."

CGD is currently leading a $10m European-funded project developing GaN-based modules for low and high-power applications (GaNext); is participating in a UK supply chain initiative for PCB-embedded power systems with GaN devices (P3EP) and recently launched a project to develop highly reliable GaN power transistors and ICs to cut data centre emissions (ICeData).

CGD is also focused on key partnerships with their customers focused at the datacom and automotive solutions. The company has completed its brand development, moved to new offices, and now employs over 40 staff worldwide, with more planned to support the up scaling.

Longobardi said: “This latest round of investment is a great recognition of our success to date, with new and existing investors confirming the strength of our technology. Since 2016, CGD has been on a mission to make greener electronics possible and to shape the future of power electronics by delivering the most efficient and easy-to-use transistors. We are thrilled to be in a position to move to mass production and global supply, delivering devices where our unique technology can have the biggest impact.”

John Pearson at Parkwalk advisors said:“CGD's technology can play a significant role in the global shift to net zero and it is already making an impact in real world applications. Parkwalk is delighted to be able to continue supporting the company and its impressive and growing team. We look forward to seeing the next phase in CGD's exciting growth journey.”

Ian Lane, at CIC said: “We are delighted to have backed Giorgia and her team in this latest round. The commercialisation of CGD’s technology comes at an important point in time, as we look for technology enabled solutions to lower power consumption across applications, as diverse as phone chargers and data centres. Cambridge (UK) is a globally important hub for semiconductor design and CGD is a great example of the innovation in the cluster.”

Arnadu Garnier, business development manager at Imec.IC-Link said: “Imec.IC-link helps companies, academia, and emerging start-ups to bring their chip-based innovations to production by providing complete ASIC solutions, including design, access to advanced ASIC foundry technologies, assembly and test and qualification services. As a Value Chain Aggregator of TSMC, we supported Cambridge GaN Devices as the first GaN customer in Europe.”

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