Startup: Group IV Semiconductor, Silicon Lighting

Group IV Semiconductor, a startup that develops silicon-based lighting technology said yesterday that it has raised a second round of funding. The CEO of Group IV, Stephen Naor, told us that the funds will be used to commercialize the company’s technology within two years.

The Ottawa, Ontario-based company didn’t disclose the size of the round, which was led by Applied Ventures, a subsidiary of Applied Materials, and Garage Technology Ventures Canada. Existing investors Khosla Ventures and BDC Venture Capital.

The company develops ‘solid-state lighting’, which creates light without activating a gas, like for fluorescent bulbs, or heat a filament, like for incandescent bulbs. Solid-state lighting technology commonly uses layers of semiconductors to create light in a much more energy efficient method than traditional lighting.

Compact fluorescent bulbs are a well-known option in energy-efficient lighting, but some people dislike the color of light they produce. Solid-state lights can produce white light comparable to traditional incandescent bulbs. They also can offer more energy-efficient lighting. Group IV’s web site says efficiency levels can be as high as 80 percent.

But companies are struggling to make solid-state lighting technology as bright as traditional lighting while lowering the high costs of manufacturing. Group IV Semiconductor’s CEO Naor told us that his company is focused specifically on lowering the cost of manufacturing solid-state lighting, and makes most of its design decisions based on cost.

Naor says that Group IV uses a technology that makes it possible for the lights to be manufactured by existing equipment in silicon fabs. This means manufacturing costs can be kept low. He says that’s also one reason why silicon processing technology company Applied Materials has invested.

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