GaN Systems nails $189.7 million CAD to drive semiconductor innovation

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GaN Systems, a producer of gallium nitride power semiconductors, has secured a $150 million USD ($189.7 million CAD) growth capital funding round.

The company intends to use the funds to accelerate innovation and adoption of its technology across automotive, consumer, industrial, and enterprise markets.

GaN plans to use the capital to accelerate the adoption of its tech across automotive, consumer, industrial, and enterprise markets.

Fidelity led the round with Vitesco Technologies, BMW i Ventures, and other undisclosed investors. The date the round closed was not disclosed.

Gan said the investment will help fuel its rapid market penetration as global power electronics companies shift from legacy silicon devices to small, low-cost, efficient power systems.

Jim Witham, CEO of GaN called the transaction a game changer. “The demand for higher-performing, more efficient power electronics is growing exponentially, and traditional silicon solutions cannot keep up. Gallium Nitride takes the baton from legacy silicon to enable smaller platforms to run cooler and use fewer materials,” Witham said.

The company also announced a strategic partnership with Vitesco that will see GaN solutions used across Vitesco’s EV platform.

GaN also partnered with the BMW Group in September to provide automotive-grade power transistors which increase efficiency in electric vehicles.

The company claims its power semiconductors are a key ingredient to achieve the small size, lightweight, and high efficiency required in the next generation of high-performance electric vehicles. Under the terms of the agreement with BMW, GaN is providing capacity for multiple applications in series production.

BMW’s relationship with GaN began more than four years ago when BMW’s engineers found that small size, lightweight, low-cost onboard chargers, DC/DC converters, and traction inverters were enabled by GaN. This led to an investment from BMW’s venture capital firm, BMW I Ventures, to support and accelerate GaN’ automotive-related technology.

BMW Ventures did not disclose its investment in GaN in 2017, although sources at the time told BetaKit that they believed it was more than $40 million.

RELATED: Ottawa-based GaN Systems receives strategic investment from BMW i Ventures

Global companies, including industry leaders like Dell, Samsung, HARMAN, Siemens, Signify, and Philips, rely on GaN Systems’ transistors to reduce CO2 emissions and increase the utility and energy efficiency of their power systems.

With just a small change in the electronics design, GaN Systems claims its transistors allow design engineers to significantly decrease the size, weight, and power lost by 4-times while reducing overall system costs.

GaN’s semiconductors have found their ways into at least one Canadian autotech firm as well.

Montréal-based motor-tech company FTEX raised $485,000 in a pre-seed, all-equity SAFE funding round in October for its powertrain systems for electric vehicles. Their solution combines GaN-based drivetrains with software-based transmission systems.

FTEX entered into a partnership with GaN last July to develop GaN-powered motor drives for EVs. In its announcement, FTEX explained that the motor drives will combine GaN Systems’ transistors with FTEX’s products to increase the range and power of EVs by as much as 30 percent.

Featured image courtesy of GaN Systems

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel

Charles Mandel's reporting and writing on technology has appeared in, Canadian Business, Report on Business Magazine, Canada's National Observer, The Globe and Mail, and the National Post, among many others. He lives off-grid in Nova Scotia.

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