Silicon Catalyst Looking for High Voltage and Power Density Startups

November 14, 2017 by Paul Shepard

Silicon Catalyst recently announced the newest "element" of their Periodic Table of Focus Areas. "HV" (for High Voltage and Power Density semiconductors) has joined IoT, Wearables, Bio, Energy, and Transportation as focus areas for the Silicon Catalyst incubator.

As markets move from commodity CMOS in dominant high volume markets like PC's and cell phones to a world where we are making everything smarter from such different markets as automotive to industrial to medical applications, development of new, differentiated product technologies becomes critical for multi-billion markets such as 5G, LIDAR, dc-dc converters, to wireless charging.

"We've seen an increasing number of players active in High Voltage and Power Density semiconductors. Earlier this year, we saw the acquisition of IXYS by Littelfuse for $750 million. That joined another major deal of over half a billion dollars which was Maxim's acquisition of Volterra Semiconductor, a combination of two of Silicon Valley's largest tech companies," stated Larry Chao, PhD, Partner with Silicon Catalyst.

Dr. Larry Chao

"But they aren't alone, from large corporations like ABB, Infineon, and Texas Instruments to startups like Appulse Power, Efficient Power Conversion and Quora Technology, we're seeing increasing activity in this high voltage and power density space.

"It's not just in the Bay Area. Wavetek Microelectronics spun out of UMC's New Business Group in Taiwan, Virginia Tech has leading research in Blacksburg, Virginia, and Fayetteville, Arkansas is home to a large number of innovative high voltage and power density companies centered around the University of Arkansas.

"This move is being driven by limitations in silicon, particularly in terms of linearity, stability, and cost. Although materials like "gallium nitride" and "silicon carbide" entered our vocabulary long ago, there are still great challenges to make them reusable and free of defects, but this technology is important for both power applications and RF.

"We are aggressively searching for the next generation of these technologies and the companies that will create them. We're excited to develop relationships with players in this ecosystem and proud of relationships at the corporate, university, and startup level.

"If you are active in the high voltage and power density space, whether it's creating a new startup or doing fundamental research, we'd love to hear from you. Please feel free to reach out to me at Silicon Catalyst. I'll be happy to share more of our thoughts or just apply to our startup incubation program," invited Dr. Chao.