Menlo Microsystems wants to make electrical switches far more efficient

May 31, 2022

Dean Takahashi for Venture Beat – May 31, 2022

Menlo Microsystems unveiled its Ideal Switch recently and it also raised $150 million to shake up the electronics industry.

It calls this the biggest innovation since the transistor, as it can power its functions with less than a milliwatt and switch at speeds in the billions of operations a second. The Irvine, California-based company raised the money to start domestic manufacturing, and it hopes its tech will save over $7 trillion by 2050.

The lead investors in the recent round included Vertical Venture Partners and Tony Fadell’s Future Shape, with participation from new investors Fidelity Management & Research Company, DBL Partners and Adage Capital Management. Existing investors also participated. All told, the company has raised $225 million.

Garcia said that there are a billion ceiling fans in the world. If you replaced existing fans with Ideal Switches, he said you could save enough energy to take 17 power plants offline.

To Garcia, the Ideal Switch is the electronic industry’s Holy Grail, as it is a device that delivers the benefits of a mechanical relay and a semiconductor switch, with no compromises. It is tiny, fast, reliable, withstands extreme temperatures, is ultra-low loss and can handle thousands of watts. And it can be built with conventional semiconductor equipment.

Fadell noted in a statement that electrical switches that distribute power are shipped on the order of 20 billion a year. Adroit Market Research said the global electrification market is experiencing tremendous growth, projected to reach $128 billion by 2028. The Ideal Switch is transforming the electrification of everything by increasing energy efficiency of the entire legacy electric infrastructure, upgrading 100-year-old relay technology with a microelectromechanical (MEMS) switch.

The company said it can eliminate 20% of global emissions and bringing $37 billion in electricity savings by 2050, a major contribution to the fight against climate change. The company is evaluating chip manufacturing locations in California, New York, Texas, and Florida.

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