- Buyers Guide
Javelin Semiconductor Inc., one of the first companies to bring standard silicon designs to mobile-phone amplifiers, has been acquired by Avago Technologies Ltd. (AVGO).
Austin, Texas-based Javelin developed power amplifiers used to boost the radio signals from cellphones. Unlike most companies in the space, its chips are built using industry-standard silicon manufacturing processes, rather than more exotic materials, like gallium arsenide.
"We're happy with it. The buyer got a good deal too," said Jon Bayless, a general partner at Sevin Rosen Funds, one of Javelin's two venture investors. He declined to disclose the price but said it was a "good multiple."
Sevin Rosen, Silverton Partners and a few individual investors put $21.5 million into Javelin since its founding in 2007. The most recent round was a $5 million infusion a year ago.
Representatives from Avago, Javelin and Silverton couldn't be reached in time to comment.
Many startups in the last decade have tried to build silicon power amplifiers to replace legacy products, but few had success.
Power amplifiers are the last major circuit in mobile phones that isn't widely built in silicon. Compared with gallium arsenide, the standard for power amplifiers today, silicon is less expensive, has a stable supply chain and can be built with smarts in the amplifier, so there's no need to package it with a separate chip for features like power regulation or boosting multiple frequencies.
Companies like Axiom Microdevices and Star RF Inc. tried to create these products several years ago. The former sold for $10 million, while the latter shut down.
Javelin's products were designed into several smartphone products over the last year, including several versions of Samsung (SSNHY) Galaxy phones.
Another company in the space, Amalfi Semiconductor Inc., was able to build power amplifiers for older phones and generated significant revenue selling them. It was sold for $47.5 million in the fall to RF Micro Devices Inc. (RFMD). It had raised $76 million, according to VentureWire records.
Black Sand Technologies Inc., another Austin, Texas, company with funding from Austin Ventures and North Bridge Venture Partners, competes directly with Javelin, as does ACCO Semiconductor Inc., which is backed by Foundation Capital and other firms.
With a few design wins under its belt, Javelin was at the point where it would need to spend to build up a sales, marketing and administrative infrastructure to build the company, so instead it has decided to sell to a larger company that already has that infrastructure in place, Mr. Bayless said.
Avago, a Singapore semiconductor and components company, announced last week that it had agreed to purchase CyOptics Inc., a maker of optical networking components, for $400 million in cash.
Source: The Wall Street Journal http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20130419-709324
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