4 October 2021
Cambridge GaN Devices named Tech Scale-Up of the Year
Fabless semiconductor company Cambridge GaN Devices Ltd (CGD) – which was spun out of the University of Cambridge Department of Engineering’s Electrical Power and Energy Conversion group in 2016 to develop power semiconductors using gallium nitride (GaN)-on-silicon substrates – has taken three titles at the Business Weekly Awards. The company’s core business is to design, develop and commercialize power transistors and integrated circuits.
Following in the footsteps of former winners such as London Stock Exchange-listed cyber-defence company Darktrace (which was valued at about £2.5bn earlier this year upon its IPO), CGD has been named Technology Scale-up of the Year, with the founders also recognised in individual categories.
Chief executive officer Dr Giorgia Longobardi has been named Cambridge Judge Business School Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, which looks to recognize a female founder “who can demonstrate outstanding achievements in the last 12 months and who inspires and nurtures other women to excel”.
Chief technology officer professor Florin Udrea has been named Cambridge Enterprise Academic Entrepreneur of the Year, which seeks to identify “outstanding work by an academic as an innovator, founder or consultant in the past 12 months”.
In March, CGD completed its $9.5m Series A fundraising round, led by IQ Capital, Parkwalk Advisors and BGF. Using its proprietary ICeGaN technology, the firm is in the process of developing a range of energy-efficient GaN-based power devices to be deployed in key market segments such as consumer, switch-mode power supply (SMPS), lighting, data centers and automotive EV/HEV in 2022.
Since GaN-powered devices are significantly higher performing than state-of-the-art silicon-based device (enabling reductions in the size and weight of power converters, while producing energy efficiencies higher than 99%), CGD reckons that its transistors have the potential to transform the sustainability of everyday power devices, such as significantly reducing the energy losses and cooling requirements in data centers, slowing the drain of electric vehicles’ batteries to increase distances travelled on a single charge, and harvesting more of the sun’s energy to convert as much solar power into electricity as possible.
So far this year, CGD has been named ‘DeepTech Investment of the Year’ at the UKBAA Angel Investment Awards. The judges of the Business Weekly Awards this year included Dr Hermann Hauser (Amadeus Capital Partners co-founder), Hanadi Jabado (executive director of the Entrepreneurship Centre at Judge Business School), David Gill (managing director of St John’s Innovation Centre), and Claire Ruskin (CEO of Cambridge Network), as well as judges from AstraZeneca, Mills & Reeve, Stansted Airport, PwC, and Barclays.
“The Business Weekly Awards wins are an enormous achievement and testament to the mission we are on to change the electronics market with innovative products that help to solve problems through world-class engineering,” says Longobardi. “GaN-based power devices have an increasingly vital role to play in building a more energy efficient world,” she adds.
“By creating greener electronics, the drive towards net zero will be eminently more possible,” says Udrea. “There is a more sustainable future in some of the most power-intensive industries and this has strengthened our belief and resolve that we’re on the right track to realising it.”