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

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Ottawa-based GaN Systems has received a strategic investment from BMW i Ventures, BMW’s CAD $725 million venture capital fund.

While the investment was undisclosed, sources familiar to the matter told BetaKit that the investment was north of $40 million. GaN Systems is developing a fabless power transistor company that uses Gallium Nitride (GaN), a wide band gap semiconductor material that it says allows for higher energy efficiency, smaller form factors and higher performance. GaN’s transistors can be used in consumer devices, data centres, and industrial and automotive sectors.

“From computer and phone chargers and data centre servers, to factory motors and electric cars, our customers have validated the GaN value proposition of small, efficient, low-cost power electronics,” said GaN Systems’ CEO Jim Witham. “These benefits are widely recognized by the world’s biggest companies across all industries.”

Uwe Higgen, managing director of BMW i Ventures, added that GaN Systems’ power transistors have created “new possibilities” for engineers to build power electronics for today’s system standards.

“Gallium Nitride-based transistors have become, in my opinion, the next big stepping stone in miniaturization” he said. “We have seen systems a quarter of the size, while providing better efficiency than traditional silicon-based alternatives. With GaN, any system that needs power can become smaller, lighter and more efficient. These capabilities are particularly relevant in the automotive sector.”