While the mainstay applications of the MEMS segment continue to be strong performers, 2016 saw a big push toward lots of new and potentially high-volume MEMS devices. This presents many exciting opportunities, but the challenges are plenty.
Applied Materials hosted an Open Innovation Workshop in Shanghai where company experts joined industry and academic leaders to explore how materials engineering can help transform sectors of the global economy.
Applied Materials announced plans to establish a new, joint R&D lab with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). The lab, the second collaboration with A*STAR in Singapore, is a prime example of how Applied is expanding its partnerships with research agencies, leading universities and governments worldwide, and forging new models of innovation to accelerate the commercialization of advanced R&D.
For the next installment in my display survey series, I will focus on advanced display technologies coming down the pipeline and how materials engineering solutions will enable tomorrow’s TVs and mobile devices to be flexible, bendable and foldable.
2014 marked an exciting and active year, where Applied Ventures closed four new investments in early stage technology companies. The most recent investment is RayVio Corporation, a solid state ultraviolet (SSUV) light emitting diode (LED) startup first developed at Boston University and backed by some of the world’s leading investors.
Our display survey revealed a consumer sentiment that should surprise no one: cracked mobile screens are a big problem worldwide. Applied is working closely with customers and others in the industry to develop manufacturing technologies that not only deliver high-quality, power-efficient mobile displays, but also enable more durable screens that can withstand being dropped and can better endure wear-and-tear over time.
Innovation is alive and well in the semiconductor industry. That was a key takeaway from the strategic investor panel at the second annual Silicon Innovation Forum at SEMICON West, and one I can’t reinforce enough within the venture capital (VC) community.
As a member of the organizing committee, I’m pleased to share that Applied Ventures will be participating in the second-annual Silicon Innovation Forum (SIF) held in conjunction with SEMICON West 2014 in San Francisco on Tuesday, July 8.
The forum is designed to bring new and emerging innovators together with the semiconductor industry’s top strategic investors and venture capitalists (VCs), in order to enable closer collaboration and showcase the next generation of entrepreneurs in microelectronics.
The printing press revolutionized the world, transitioning the end of the Dark Ages to the beginning of the Renaissance. Could we be witnessing a similar revolution in the biotechnology space? The Applied Ventures team thinks so, and recently expanded our portfolio with an investment in Twist Bioscience Corporation, an advanced biotechnology start-up developing a proprietary semiconductor-based technology platform with the potential for synthetic gene manufacturing.
As part of its growth focus for Applied Materials, the Office of the CTO (Chief Technology Officer) aims to do the following:
Identify, incubate and commercialize growth opportunities in new and adjacent markets
Build a culture of open innovation at Applied Materials
Address market inflections and high value problems through differentiated solutions
Shape the future of our growth markets worldwide
The Internet-of-Things (IoT), the concept of connecting physical objects to each other and to the internet through sensors within or attached to the objects, is a key market inflection that is opening up new opportunities and ways of obtaining information. Cisco Systems estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices by 2020—creating a tidal wave of data! Wearable Computing or “wearables” is a small but rapidly growing segment within the IoT space and is one of the potential killer applications that could fuel IoT.
With 2013 in our rear-view mirror, I’m pleased to announce that Applied Ventures has completed another successful and busy year, investing more than $18 million in 2013, including closing six new investments in early stage companies. Altogether, since we first formed Applied Ventures in 2005, we have invested approximately $179 million in more than 50 portfolio companies spanning equipment, materials, device and process providers in the clean energy, semiconductor, display, lighting and energy storage sectors.
Applied Materials drives innovation in a variety of ways, including investing in internal R&D to continue to offer new products and technologies and collaborating with the world’s leading universities, research institutions, industry associations and consortia as well as government entities.
We’ve also developed internal programs to advance technology breakthroughs by encouraging and funding disruptive ideas that can accelerate product development.
The past two years have seen a significant decline in the number of venture firms making new investments in the Energy Technology and Semiconductor sectors. As a result, it has become increasingly difficult for private companies raising capital in these sectors.
Increasingly, corporate investors are playing a critical role in financing companies in these sectors, with 54% of energy tech and 24% of semiconductor private financing rounds in 2012 including one or more corporate investors1.
As the funding for energy tech and semiconductor startups from traditional financing sources has weakened, Applied Ventures continues to be a strong supporter of new thinking that will drive these sectors.