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Acco Raises $35 Million For RF CMOS Technology

French-American start-up plans to 'obsolete expensive GaAs power amplifiers used in today's mobile phones'

Acco Semiconductor, a French-American start-up, has closed a $35 million funding round-one for its CMOS RF power amplifiers and antenna switches for smart phones and IoT.

This latest round is led by Bpifrance, through its growth fund Large Venture, with participation from investors in both the US and France including Foundation Capital, Pond Ventures, Partech Ventures, Omnes Capital, Siparex Group and A Plus Finance.

"Acco's proprietary and patented high-breakdown voltage CMOS transistor has broken the code on size and power efficiency in 4G power amplifiers," says Rich Redelfs, general partner at Foundation Capital and chairman of Acco. "With this new round of funding, Acco now has the resources to scale and obsolete expensive GaAs power amplifiers used in today's mobile phones."

Acco's bulk CMOS cellular power amplifier is said to offer highly linear performance yet can operate at high power without breakdown or degradation. The use of CMOS in the RF front-end improves functionality at a reduced size and cost for both smart phones and the Internet of Things, as well as leverages the mature, reliable, high volume CMOS supply chain, according to the company.

Strategy Analytics estimates the mobile power amplifier market at $3.5 billion representing a significant business opportunity for the company. The huge growth projections for cellular - connected IoT devices will further expand this potential.

According to Christopher Taylor, director of RF & Wireless Components at Strategy Analytics: "Designing the RF front-end of an LTE phone to support regional and global cellular bands has gotten extraordinarily difficult. Starting with monolithic integration of the PAs and switches, bulk CMOS has great potential for simplifying the RF front-end and making it more space efficient and less costly-satisfying a critical need in the cellphone industry."

The investment is timed to support the launch of Acco's newest generation of industry standard RF front-end CMOS solutions and will provide working capital as well as R&D funds for next generation products while enabling the company to add incremental local support for its increasing customer base.

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