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3 July 2014

Chinese GaN-on-Si LED maker LatticePower raises $80m

LatticePower Corp of Nanchang, China, which claims to be the first company to commercialize GaN-on-silicon LED lighting, has announced an $80m initial round of Series D equity financing led by Asia Pacific Resources Development Investment and GSR Ventures and joined by fellow existing investors Mayfield Fund and Crescent HydePark. The firm has also launched an LED mobile flash for smartphones and other handheld devices, joining other lighting products.

At a signing ceremony in Hong Kong, Sonny Wu, co-founder & managing director of GSR Ventures and executive chairman of Lattice Power, and LatticePower’s CEO Dr Min Wang hosted guests including industry veterans, investment bankers and analysts.

Since 2006, GSR Ventures has been the lead investor for LatticePower, spinning the technology out of a local university laboratory in Jiangxi and building a team of device physics and new-materials PhDs from around the world to overcome the challenges of creating GaN-on-silicon LEDs. Developing GaN-on-Si LEDs have been a vexing problem for the industry as a result of the lattice and thermal expansion mismatches between GaN thin film and the silicon substrate, says the firm. By developing a series of proprietary technologies to overcome these challenges, LatticePower is able to manufacture reliable and affordable LEDs with over 150lm/W efficacy (competitive with products from other manufacturers), it adds. LatticePower has so far filed more than 200 global patents. LatticePower raised $70m from GSR, Mayfield, AsiaVest Partners from Taiwan, Keytone Ventures from Beijing, and Singapore’s Temasek Group in several rounds since 2006. It also raised $55m from the International Finance Corporation in 2010.

The latest round of funding will be used to expand LatticePower’s R&D and manufacturing capabilities, finance its sales growth, and to further develop high-performance, affordable GaN-on-Si LED light bulbs and fixtures.

“This new round of funding will allow us build the necessary scale to be competitive in this fast-evolving and growing market and enable the company to meet the growing demand for our industry-leading products from an expanding customer base across the globe,” says Wang.

LatticePower will immediately expand production in China and is scouting locations for R&D and manufacturing facilities in the USA. More specific announcements on site selection of these facilities as well as new strategic partnerships will be made in the autumn.

“With dedication and innovation contributed by scientists like Dr Zhao and Dr Sun as well as industry leadership by Dr Min Wang, LatticePower’s disruptive silicon-based LED technology has achieved world-class performance — exceeding criteria like ENERGY STAR,” notes Wu. “The GaN-on-silicon technology is highly scalable using automated production, making it more affordable than other technologies in the market,” he claims. “The company will leverage its proprietary technology to build a global network of R&D teams, starting by integrating a Korean and Taiwanese team in 2014 and expanding to build a US R&D and manufacturing center by 2015.”

“This is one of the first technology investments that leverages China-based innovation to solve a difficult industry problem, and it will have a big impact on the global market,” comments Francisco Sanchez, former US Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade. “I am looking forward to the company bringing this R&D and manufacturing to the United States.”

This latest round of investment completes a transformation of the firm from a Jiangxi-based R&D startup to a global company with R&D and sales operations in Changzhou, Nanchang, Hong Kong, and Palo Alto, CA, USA.

Tags:  Lattice Power GaN-on-Si LEDs

Visit: www.latticepower.com

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