Transphorm aims to redefine power conversions

KKR bet big on GaN power chips

Transphorm aims to redefine power conversions
Transphorm, an early stage California-based gallium nitride (GaN) power semiconductor company funded by Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers, Google Ventures, and KKR, is redefining electrical conversion issues globally. It is also scouting for opportunities in India by engaging with various stakeholders.

In an interaction with Deccan Herald, Transphorm President and founder Primit Parikh said the company will make transformational changes in power saving technology with gallium nitride (GaN) replacing silicon material.

“Transphorm is fortunate to be at the right place at the right time. Our previous experience and innovative technology helped us to reach greater heights and raise a good fund,” he said. “We are the only company in the world which improved this material on performance, reliability, size, and qualification. We proved our engineering and were product-ready in four years. Now, we were expanding market reach. Right now we are making impact on GaN power semiconductors’ efficiency and size. We have taken the efficiency level to 98 and 99 per cent, and reduced size to half,” he said.

The next wave

Parikh said silicon power semiconductors have reached maturity, and GaN will power the next wave of technology. According to Gallium Nitride (GaN) Semiconductor Devices (Discretes & ICs) Market, Global Forecast and Analysis (2012–2022) published by MarketsandMarkets, the overall GaN power semiconductor market accounts for less than one per cent of the total power semiconductor market, currently valued at $34 billion, including power discretes and power ICs. By 2022, the entire base for power semiconductors and electronics players with GaN will reach $1.75 billion, registering a CAGR of 63.78 per cent.

In late 2014, Transphorm acquired the GaN portfolio of Fujitsu Semiconductor and entered into a partnership with it to produce chips at its automotive-class wafer fabrication facility in Japan. “We have more than 1,000 patents. We have done strategic deals with other companies and licensed patents out of it. We make power transistors and power modules. We don’t make invertors and make reference modules to our clients. We tell our partners how to use and integrate software. We find huge opportunities in telecom, power supplies, video games, automotive (both hybrid and electric), defence, and aerospace,” he said.

He said the company has released its first generation products in the market and work is going on for the next generation. “In invertors, Yaskawa Electric Corporation and Tata Power Solar are our key customer partners.We are very selective in finding partners,” he said.

When asked about starting production in India, he said the company may explore opportunities to be part of the Make in India campaign.

“Wafer manufacturing is a high capital-intensive business and we are looking for a time when the full ecosystem will evolve in the country. But we are scouting for opportunities to better support our customers locally. Some good laocations could be New Delhi and Bengaluru,” he said.

Infinia, Panasonic, GaN Systems, and Exagan are the major competitors for Transphorm in this segment.


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