CEO Interview: Jim Witham, GaN Systems

November 22, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
GaN Systems raises $150m for EV push
GaN Systems in Canada has raised $150m from existing and new investors including BMW and Vitesco. CEO Jim Witham talks to Nick Flaherty about his plans.

“Gallium nitride (GaN) has really reached a tipping point,” Jim Witham, CEO of GaN Systems tells eeNews Europe as the company raises $150m for expansion. “Electrification is really driving power electronics, and with the IoT, sensors everywhere, it all requires power. Growth has been tremendous and now is the time to really accelerate the growth.”

“The lead investor is Fidelity, with $4tn of assets under management so it’s a pretty big statement that institutional investors are seeing this big change in power and they are trying to figure out how to put money to work,” he said.

The company had previously raised $20m from investors including BMW iVentures who were part of the new round alongside a new strategic investor in Vitesco, the powertrain spinout of Tier One supplier Continental.

“We have been working with Vitesco for some time on on-board chargers (OBC), DC-DC converter and inverters for electric vehicles,” he said. “With customers in automotive the obvious first place is the OBC and DC-DC converter for the weight reduction and cost reduction, then the inverters. These use a lower frequency so the gap between GaN and silicon does narrow, but most of the time driving is stop and start and that favours the fast switching of GaN.”

“There’s two main areas for the investment. It gives us the resources to execute on rapid market growth for the products and the business we have today. The second is new products to expand the portfolio. Phone chargers have pretty much gone GaN, audio, data centre power, and we are seeing moves into automotive with BMW and this Vitesco announcement,” he said.

"Application engineering and sales need to be close to your customer and the European automotive and EV market is very strong so there’s obviously some investment in

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