With eye on Albany for new factory, semiconductor startup raises $150M

March 09, 2022

Justin Dawes for Albany Business Journal – March 9, 2022

As it continues considering Albany and other regions for a new $150 million manufacturing facility, the semiconductor startup Menlo Micro said Wednesday morning that it has secured $150 million in series C funding. 

The money will primarily go toward the construction of that factory site, as well as the next generation of its electrical switch product. For its new facility, Menlo Micro is considering sites in New York state, from Albany to Rochester, as well as sites in California, Texas and Florida, according to Russ Garcia, Menlo Micro CEO.

Square footage of the factory will total roughly 100,000-150,000. The project will create 160 jobs. The site the company ultimately chooses – a decision that should happen in the next few weeks, Garcia said – will provide the best mix of business and research partnerships, workforce availability and site selection.

“Upstate New York becomes a strong location for us to look at because there's a lot of semiconductor expertise. The [Albany NanoTech Complex], where we already have our research and development, as well as the university network, is really strong.”

The California-based company is developing a smaller, more efficient version of an electronic switch that controls the flow of electricity from a power source to an application. The company says its new switch operates up to 1,000 times faster than the older version, and its system can more reliably monitor, measure and control the distribution of power. The company spun off from GE Research in Niskayuna in 2016 and is now headquartered in southern California.

"We're the tip of the spear on a brand new category of semiconductors that's going to have a very large impact on energy, communications and defense,” Garcia said. “The vision here is that everybody you know will touch the Ideal Switch in one way or the other over the next five to 10 years, whether it's switches in your home or building, switches in your communication network, or switches that automate factories."

Read the full article here.

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