GaN power chip startup Transphorm raises $35M, led by Japanese backers

October 5, 2012 - Transphorm Inc. has closed a $35M Series E financing round led by the Japanese government-backed Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ) with Nihon Inter electronic Company, as well as its impressive list of existing financial backers: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Foundation Capital, Google Ventures, Quantum Strategic Partners (a private investment fund managed by Soros Fund Management), Lux Capital, and Bright Capital. The deal also includes a business alliance with Nihon Inter Electronics to be "a reputable second source" for mass production of Transphorm’s GaN power devices, according to the startup which has raised a total of $104M to date.

Transphorm’s technology for power conversion aim to reduce energy loss by up to 90%, simplifying design and manufacturing for components in computer servers, solar panels, HVAC equipment, and electric/hybrid vehicles. Earlier this year it unveiled its high voltage (600V) GaN technology, and about a month ago got JEDEC qualification for its 600V GaN HEMT device which it says reduces energy loss by 50% compared to silicon-based power conversion designs.

"The need for energy efficiency remains paramount even as the sources of energy change," stated Umesh Mishra, CEO of Transphorm. "We look forward to working with Transphorm as they continue to build energy efficient solutions for consumers and businesses around the world," added Hidetoshi Shibata, executive managing director INCJ.

INCJ, established in 2009, is a public-private partnership between the Japanese government and 19 major corporations, including Sharp, Sumitomo Electric, Toshiba and General Electric Company, Japan. It claims the capacity to invest up to ¥2B in its mission to "support industrial renewal in Japan by investing in highly innovative businesses."

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