Business News | Nov 29, 2010

AZZURRO Semiconductors Expands with 14.5 Million Euro from Global Investors

AZZURRO Semiconductors announced the closing of a growth financing round providing production capacity to address significant market demand. The EUR 14.5 million investment round was provided by new investors Wellington Partners, Good Energies and Emerald Technology Ventures and was joined by existing investors Cedrus Private Equity and IBG Innovationsfonds (managed by GoodVent).

AZZURRO is a manufacturer of ultra high quality Gallium Nitride (“GaN”) epi wafers based on large area silicon substrates. These wafers are used in the power electronics industry to build high performance devices and in the LED industry to manufacture inexpensive high-brightness LEDs.

High power electronics applications like power supplies, solar inverters or power converters for hybrid and electric vehicles were either manufactured with conventional silicon semiconductors or very expensive silicon carbide devices. GaN on silicon is a new material system which has unique advantages in terms of high efficiency and low cost at high voltages and currents. Previously this material was not available on large sized silicon wafers and therefore has not been widely adopted. AZZURRO closes this gap by providing high-quality GaN layers on 150 mm (and soon 200 mm) standard silicon wafers, enabling a whole new device category giving consumers more efficient electric devices.

The LED industry has adopted GaN but is relying on small sapphire based substrates which have supply and cost constraints. AZZURRO offers a platform technology for LED producers to process the wafers in standard silicon production facilities with high productivity. When compared to the conventional technology substantial cost savings can be achieved while maintaining the same performance.

“The AZZURRO team has worked hard for the last seven years to bring the core technology platform to commercialization readiness”, said Erwin Wolf, CEO of AZZURRO. “The basic technology AZZURRO is using was invented essentially by Prof. Dr. Aloys Krost and Dr. Armin Dadgar at the Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg during the years 1999 to 2006 and was exclusively transferred to AZZURRO. We have received highly encouraging feedback from our customers and are now building up more capacity to fully support our customers’ ramp-up plans. We are delighted to have succeeded in bringing in substantial capital to finance our first production site to be built in Dresden.”

“We share AZZURRO’s believe that the time has come to build a high volume GaN epiwafer foundry to enable industry wide adoption,” said Christian Reitberger, General Partner at Wellington Partners. “With this growth step, AZZURRO will bring the industry the long anticipated arrival of GaN-on-Si and the benefits of economies of scale. We look forward supporting AZZURRO in further building a world-class execution team to deliver on this promise.”

Following this investment, Christian Reitberger (Wellington Partners), Frank Siebke (Good Energies) and Markus Moor (Emerald Technology Ventures) will join the Supervisory Board of AZZURRO Semiconductors.

About AZZURRO:
AZZURRO is a strongly growing semiconductor company. Having pioneered the growth of gallium nitride on silicon substrates using metalorganic vapour phase epitaxy (MOVPE) AZZURRO is providing its customers worldwide with epiwafers for LED and high-voltage applications. AZZURRO’s unique capability to grow very thick highest-quality gallium nitride on large area silicon substrates (currently 150 mm) enables cost breakthroughs for high-brightness LEDs and other GaN-based devices.

About Wellington:
Wellington Partners is a pan European Venture Capital firm with some EUR 800 million under management, active in the fields of Electronics & Cleantech; Digital Media; and Life Sciences. Wellington aspires to work with entrepreneurs who have the drive to build world leading companies. The Cleantech portfolio comprises of technology leaders Enocean (energy efficiency), Agnion (wood gasification), Heliatek (organic PV), Enecsys (microinverters), EnStorage (flow cell batteries) and Glo (nanostructured LEDs). For more information please visit www.wellington-partners.com.

About Good Energies:
Good Energies is a leading global investor in renewable energy and energy efficiency industries. The firm invests in solar, turbine-based renewables, green building technologies and other emerging areas within clean energy. Founded in 2001, Good Energies manages the renewable energy portfolio of COFRA, a family owned and managed group of companies. For more information please visit www.goodenergies.com.

About Emerald Technology Ventures:
Emerald Technology Ventures is a global leader in cleantech venture capital and operates from offices in Zurich, Switzerland and Toronto, Canada. Founded in 2000, Emerald is a pioneer in this rapidly emerging sector and is focused on innovative technologies in energy, advanced materials and water. Since inception Emerald has managed three venture capital funds and two venture capital portfolio mandates totaling over EUR 300 million (USD 440 million). Emerald is currently investing out of its latest fund and is looking for energetic and passionate entrepreneurs with the vision to build world-class clean technology companies. For more information please visit: www.emerald-ventures.com.

About GoodVent Beteiligungsmanagement GmbH & Co. KG:
GoodVent Beteiligungsmanagement GmbH & Co. KG manages funds of IBG Beteiligungsgesellschaft Sachsen-Anhalt mbH (Federal State Saxony-Anhalt) as well as the Cedrus Private Equity Fund (private investors) with a totally volume of EUR 270 million GoodVent focuses on early stage Start-Up investments in Life Sciences, Surface Technology, New Materials, Chemical & Process Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Software/IT. The portfolio currently comprises 77 investments. For more information see www.goodvent.net.

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