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We’re excited about High Voltage and Power Density semiconductors and are actively looking for startups

By Larry Chao, PhD
Partner Silicon Catalyst

Silicon Catalyst is proud to announce the newest “element” of our Periodic Table of Focus Areas. Today, “HV” (for
High Voltage and Power Density semiconductors) joins IoT, Wearables, Bio, Energy, and Transportation as focus areas for our 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. Just last week, we saw the acquisition of IXYS by Littelfuse for $750 million. This joins 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. 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 as we look at holding an event focused on HV later this year. Please feel free to reach out to me at larry@sicatalyst.com. I’ll be happy to share more of our thoughts or just apply to our startup incubation program.

Long live HV!

Long live HV!