Ideal Semiconductor CEO On The Boost From The CHIPS And Science Act

Mark Granahan, founder and CEO of Ideal Semiconductor, shares how funding from the Chips and Science Act can be a gamechanger for semiconductors.

Ideal Semiconductor is a Bethlehem, Pa.-based five-year-old fabless chip startup focusing on what it calls “breakthrough” power efficiency technology.

“It‘s been very difficult for us because we don’t have our own fabrication. We don’t have our own assembly and test capability, ” Mark Granahan, founder and CEO of Ideal Semiconductor said.

That’s because the majority of the supply chain manufacturing process is handled overseas in Asia.

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“It’s a bit of a crisis in terms of the logistics associated with sending materials, sending those wafers over into the Asia-Pacific region, getting them assembled into the appropriate packaging, configurations, and then tested and then shipped back to the U.S. or shipped who knows where else around the world for use,” Granahan said.

And when you look at impacts from the pandemic and other issues, the challenges increase.

“The whole COVID situation and the geopolitical situations have probably injected, at least 18 to 24 months of delays into our development schedules and go-to- market and go-to-production types of schedules. So, it‘s had a direct impact on the supply chain as a startup company, as well as all the larger companies that have experienced similar situations,” Granahan said.

But those obstacles could ease up, thanks to the passage of the CHIPS and Science Act.

“It‘s our hope that the entire supply chain kind of gravitates towards the U.S. shores,” Granahan said.

The act provides roughly $52.7 billion billion dollars in new funding to boost domestic research and manufacturing of semiconductors in the United States.

“Improving the productivity of our research and development is critical because we burn cash on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. It’s our hope that we can get some capital to bring some of those critical items back into the U.S. back under our roof.”

“For those of us who are in the channel, it’s about supply, consistency, and really making sure that that has some longevity to it and that there isn’t any disruptions or geopolitical issues that could come into play. This really kind of helps streamline and flatten everything out for everyone that’s in the computer industry,” said Kent Tibbils, VP of marketing at hardware and software distributor ASI Corp.

Ideal Semiconductor’s CEO wants to see the government come out with a policy statement to maximize the funding once it starts rolling out and help startups like his own.

“Sprinkling dollars around to private or public entities, quite frankly, is not going to get the job done. I think we‘re just going to see that money go out, and we’re not going to see the return that we really need. So the power of the federal government making a long-term policy statement, from an economic standpoint, from a regulatory standpoint, from an infrastructure standpoint, that policy needs to encompass all of those things,” Granahan said.