Cambridge GaN Devices raises $9.5m Series A to accelerate the deployment of energy efficient devices reshaping the future of power electronics
Cambridge University spinout’s latest funding round will be used to double staff and expand its GaN product portfolio following decades of research in power devices
Cambridge, 18th February 2021 – Cambridge GaN Devices (CGD) has raised $9.5 million in Series A funding. The investment was co-led by IQ Capital, Parkwalk Advisors and BGF, and includes investment from Foresight Williams, Cambridge Enterprise, Martlet Capital, Cambridge Angels and Cambridge Capital Group. The funding will be used by CGD to expand its product portfolio of energy-efficient power devices and to double the size of its team.
CGD was spun out of the renowned power device group at the Engineering Department of the University of Cambridge in 2016 to exploit a revolutionary technology in power devices, a market worth in excess of $30 billion. The company’s core business is to design, develop and commercialise power transistors and integrated circuits based on the most energy-efficient material available, Gallium Nitride (GaN).
GaN power devices are significantly higher performing than state-of-the-art silicon-based devices, enabling significant reductions in the size and weight of power converters, whilst producing energy efficiencies higher than 99%.
CGD is developing a range of GaN transistors that are customised for key applications in market segments such as consumer and industrial Switch Mode Power Supply (SMPS), lighting, data centres and automotive HEV/EV. The higher efficiency of CGD devices combined with the unique ease-of-use introduced by the Company’s proprietary IP will allow CGD GaN to easily replace silicon in those key applications, while enabling more compact power systems and better use of energy resources.
The company is the result of decades of research in power devices and GaN reliability carried out with world leading organisations in the field, and through several partnerships and collaborations. CGD is currently leading a $10 million European-funded project with 13 industrial and academic partners across Europe, GaNext, developing GaN-based modules for low and high-power applications.
Giorgia Longobardi, CEO and founder of CGD, commented:
“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 grown significantly and we are thrilled to be in a position to deliver several products to market, following decades of industry-leading research in reliability of power devices. This investment will allow us to supplement our experienced team with additional experts and expand our markets globally, creating more sustainable electronics worldwide.”
Eric Stodel, CEO at Neways, a leading EMS System Innovator and Lifecycle Partner in the GaNext project, commented:
“Our close collaboration with CGD has been an incredibly rewarding win-win experience. It enables us to develop an extremely compact solar inverter based on the GaN technology. The team’s enthusiasm is inspiring and contagious, and the shared expertise within our companies has been instrumental in making our combined project a great success with much more future potential”.
Ed Stacey, Managing Partner at IQ Capital, commented:
“We are proud to support the CGD team as they build on their core technology, from a strong base of academic research and IP, to create the world’s best GaN power devices for a wide range of applications. This highly experienced team has incredible potential to disrupt the electronics industry with new devices that will unlock commercial and environmental gains for suppliers and customers.”
John Pearson, Investment Director at Parkwalk Advisors, commented:
“Parkwalk are delighted to have completed this investment into CGD, with their ambitious and experienced team, we are excited to continue supporting them on their journey to commercialise their innovative and highly disruptive technology.”
Tim Rea, investor at BGF, commented:
“Clean tech and sustainable investments are at the heart of BGF’s growth strategy for 2021 and beyond. CGD’s technology has the power to make a significant impact on power consumption. Its founders are second-to-none and we look forward to working with them, and a cohort of brilliant co-investors, to bring this product to market.”
Nick Mettyear, Investment Manager at Foresight Williams, commented:
“The team are designing market-leading products with a huge range of practical uses. Their devices will ultimately improve performance, reduce cost and lead to reduced emissions.”
About Cambridge GaN Devices
Cambridge GaN Devices (CGD) is a fabless semiconductor company span-out by Prof. Florin Udrea and Dr. Giorgia Longobardi from Cambridge University in 2016 to exploit a revolutionary technology in power devices. Our mission is to shape the future of power electronics by delivering the most efficient and easy-to-use transistor. CGD designs, develops and commercialises GaN transistors and ICs enabling a radical step change in energy efficiency and compactness and is suitable for high volume production. CGD technology is protected by a strong IP portfolio which constantly grows based on the company’s leading innovation skills and ambitions. In addition to the multi-million seed fund and Series A private investments, CGD has so far successfully secured four projects funded by iUK, BEIS and EU (Penta). The technical and commercial expertise of the CGD team combined with an extensive track record in the power electronics market has been fundamental in early market traction of our proprietary technology.
About IQ Capital
IQ Capital is a deeptech venture capital firm that invests in thought-leading founders addressing some of the largest problems in the world – across sectors including machine learning & AI, human-machine interfaces, advanced engineering/robotics & materials, health tech & life sciences, fintech and cybersecurity.
IQ Capital’s 45+ portfolio companies are visionaries and dominate their respective markets on a global scale. Our initial investments at Seed and Series A range from £0.5m to £10m, with capacity for follow-on investment up to £30m through our Growth Fund.
About Parkwalk Advisors
Parkwalk is the largest growth EIS fund manager, backing world-changing technologies emerging from the UK’s leading universities and research institutions. With £330m of assets under management, it has invested in over 120 companies across its flagship Parkwalk Opportunities EIS Fund as well as the award-winning enterprise and innovation funds Parkwalk manages for the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Bristol and Imperial. Parkwalk invests in businesses creating solutions to real-world challenges, with IP-protected innovations, across a range of sectors including life sciences, AI, quantum computing, advanced materials, genomics, cleantech, future of mobility, MedTech and big data.
BGF was set up in 2011 and has invested £2.5 billion in nearly 400 companies, making it the most active investor in the UK. BGF is a minority, non-controlling equity partner with a patient outlook on investments, based on shared long-term goals with the management teams it backs. BGF invests in growing businesses in the UK and Ireland through its network of 16 offices. In 2018, Canada launched its equivalent – the Canadian Business Growth Fund – and in 2019, Australia did the same, both based on BGF’s funding model.
About Foresight Williams
Foresight Group (“Foresight”) and Williams Advanced Engineering started their investment collaboration in 2016 with the launch of the Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund. 2019 saw the launch of a sister fund, the Foresight Williams Technology VCT share class which sits within the Foresight Solar & Technology VCT plc. These two funds target investment in companies where we believe Foresight’s and Williams’ expertise and services can be harnessed to assist with the development of the businesses, with the objective of achieving successful exits at high-value multiples.
Neways Electronics International N.V. (Neways) is an international company active in the EMS (Electronic Manufacturing Services) market. Neways products are used in sectors such as the semiconductor, medical, automotive and general industry. Neways recorded net turnover of € 533.4 million in 2019. Neways shares are listed on the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange (symbol: NEWAY).
About Cambridge Enterprise
Part of the University of Cambridge, Cambridge Enterprise supports academics, researchers, staff and students in achieving knowledge transfer and research impact. We do this by helping innovators, experts and entrepreneurs use commercial avenues to develop their ideas and expertise for the benefit of society, the economy, themselves and the University. Liaising with organisations both locally and globally, we offer expert advice and support in commercialisation and social enterprise, including help with academic consultancy services, the protection, development and licensing of ideas, new company and social enterprise creation, and seed funding.