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Posted: Jul 05, 2011
EpiGaN Raises Capital for GaN-on-Si Production
(Nanowerk News) EpiGaN is pleased to announce that it has closed its first capital round of € 4 million, which will allow it to start volume production of GaN-on-Si epitaxial material for the nextgeneration efficient power electronics.
Incorporated in 2010, EpiGaN was founded by Dr Marianne Germain, CEO, Dr Joff Derluyn, CTO and Dr Stefan Degroote, COO, as a spin-off of imec. For more than 10 years, the founders jointly developed state-of-the-art GaN-on-Si 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-Si 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 Dr Marianne Germain, CEO of EpiGaN "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 Robert Bosch Venture Capital 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-Si 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.
EpiGaN has been incorporated in 2010 by Marianne Germain, Stefan Degroote and Joff Derluyn, as a spin-off of imec. It focuses on providing world-leading III-nitride epitaxial material solutions for top performance devices. EpiGaN gives device manufacturers access to a unique, proven and powerful technology to be used in key market segments such as power supplies for consumables, hybrid electric vehicles, solar inverters, RF power for base stations, smart grid.... The founders benefited from the entrepreneurial experience of SO Kwadraat (www.sokwadraat.be). For more information visit www.epigan.com