LONDON – Wafer supplier Azzurro Semiconductors AG has closed a venture capital round of 14.5 million euro (about $19 million).
The money is to be used create a manufacturing site in Dresden, Germany as well extending the companies range of gallium nitride (GaN) on silicon epitaxial wafers.
The latest investment round was provided by new investors Wellington Partners, Good Energies and Emerald Technology Ventures and was joined by existing investors Cedrus Private Equity and IBG Innovationsfonds (managed by GoodVent).
Azzurro (Magdeburg, Germany), founded in 2006, is a spin-off from Professor Alois Krost’s research team at the Otto-von-Guericke University, Magdeburg, Germany. The company manufactures gallium nitride (GaN) epitaxial wafers with diameters of up to 150-mm for use in production as well as in R & D. These wafers are used for LED devices and power semiconductors. The company is planning to offer GaN layers on 200-mm diameter standard silicon wafers.
The LED industry has adopted GaN but is relying on small sapphire based substrates which have supply and cost constraints.
"The Azzurro team has worked hard for the last seven years to bring the core technology platform to commercialization readiness," said Erwin Wolf, CEO of Azzurro, in a statement issued by Wellington Partners. "The basic technology Azzurro is using was invented essentially by Professor Aloys Krost and Dr. Armin Dadgar at the Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg during the years 1999 to 2006 and was exclusively transferred to Azzurro. We have received highly encouraging feedback from our customers and are now building up more capacity to fully support our customers' ramp-up plans. We are delighted to have succeeded in bringing in substantial capital to finance our first production site to be built in Dresden."
"We share Azzurro's belief that the time has come to build a high volume GaN epiwafer foundry to enable industry wide adoption," said Christian Reitberger, general partner at Wellington Partners, in the same statement. "With this growth step, Azzurro will bring the industry the long anticipated arrival of GaN-on-Si and the benefits of economies of scale. We look forward supporting Azzurro in further building a world-class execution team to deliver on this promise."
Following this investment Reitberger, Frank Siebke of Good Energies and Markus Moor of Emerald Technology Ventures will join the supervisory board of Azzurro.
GaN is the most cool semiconductor material that promises revolutionary changes in solid-state optoelectronics (some might argue graphene is the coolest semiconductor but in my view GaN is closer to real revenue)...ability of producing GaN on CMOS substrate sounds very exciting! Kris