4 October 2010


glo raises $25m, establishes Silicon Valley engineering center, and hires CEO

Nanowire semiconductor LED developer glo AB of Ideon Science Park, Lund, Sweden has closed an SEK170m ($25m)fundraising round, led by new investor Wellington Partners and joined by existing investors Provider Venture Partners of Stockholm, Hafslund Venture, Agder Energi Venture, Teknoinvest of Oslo, and VantagePoint Venture Partners of San Bruno, CA, together with LU Innovation and LUAB (the investment arm of Sweden’s Lund University) as major owners, plus glo’s founders and employees.

“Wellington Partners, headquartered in London/Munich, has been one of the most successful pan-European venture capital firms and has invested in more than 100 companies throughout Europe since its founding in 1991,” says glo’s executive chairman G. Russell Mortenson.

glo was founded in September 2005 as a technology spin-out from the Nanometer Structure Consortium (nmC) at Lund University. The firm focuses on commercializing LEDs for general illumination using the proprietary heterostructured semiconductor nanowire technology research of the team of Solid State Physics professor Lars Samuelson, head of nmC and glo’s chief scientific officer. Specifically, glo develops nanowire-based LEDs (nLEDs) emitting at brightness levels suitable for general illumination applications and with performance equal to or better than current state-of-the-art planar chips, yet simultaneously at much lower manufacturing cost at the die level, it is claimed, by using readily available, low-cost and large-area silicon substrates with mass-production friendly technologies. glo controls a portfolio of patents and patent applications covering relevant innovations in nanowire epitaxial growth and process technologies made by the Lund team and by glo itself. The firm says that it maintains a close working relationship with nmC and has access under contract to relevant labs and intellectual property developed there.

To supplement its current efforts in Sweden and Denmark (GLO ApS at DTU Danchip in Lyngby, where it began pilot production in May), glo has now also established a California-based engineering center in Sunnyvale, CA, USA.

In addition, Fariba Danesh has been appointed as CEO of both glo AB and the new US subsidiary GLO-USA Inc. Danesh was most recently senior VP & general manager of Avago Technologies, with responsibilities including LEDs and laser devices. She was also previously executive VP of Maxtor Corp, chief operating officer of Finisar Corp, CEO of Genoa Corp, and VP of Seagate Technology.

“Her deep experience in III-V semiconductors and high-volume global production and business environments will be very helpful to GLO in its next stage of development,” reckons Mortenson. “Dr Bo Pedersen will initially continue with GLO as deputy managing director supervising the company’s newly expanded activities in Europe, while Ms Danesh will be responsible for overall company supervision and strategy globally as well as direct supervision over the newly established Silicon Valley (US) efforts,” he adds.

Danesh will help to lead GLO in its final steps towards mass production of what is claimed to the world’s first nanowire-based semiconductor LED device in a commercial phase. “The wafer and device engineering capabilities at the new company facilities in Sunnyvale, along with the strong research team and foundation in Lund, will help accelerate initial productization of this ground-breaking technology,” she says.

glo has developed technologies to fabricate perfect one-dimensional crystalline semiconductor structures (nanowires), and complex structures composed of nanowire-trees, with direct control of morphology and chemical composition, including atomically sharp heterostructures. Such nanowires hold great promise as LEDs because: (1) they are produced to a large extent with self-assembly techniques, providing complex structures with relatively simple processing; (2) the limited radial extent of the nanowires allows heteroepitaxial combination of materials with virtually no regard to lattice matching or thermal expansion issues, avoiding the strains and defects in conventional planar LEDs that plague both efficiency and manufacturing yields; (3) the vertical form factor of the nanowire itself promotes efficient light extraction, and (4) nLEDs can be grown directly on large-area (6” or even bigger) silicon wafers with mass-manufacturing techniques already in common use, avoiding the high cost of small (2–4”) expensive wafers (such as sapphire, SiC and GaN) uniformly used by the LED industry.

glo says that these advantages allow simple growth of complex networks of optically active heterostructured materials with monolithically integrated electronic devices on inexpensive mono- and poly-crystalline silicon substrates.

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