ACCO Semiconductor Inc., a leader in CMOS RF solutions for smartphones and IoT, announced the closing of a $35 million funding round. ACCO, a French-American company whose main R&D center is based close to Paris (France), is currently accelerating its business into various brands of LTE smartphones now found in several countries throughout Asia and Europe.
ACCO has developed and patented RF front-end technology for mobile communications devices (power amplifiers and antenna switches) that uses standard complementary-metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) processing. ACCO’s breakthrough bulk CMOS cellular power amplifier offers highly linear performance yet can operate at high power without breakdown or degradation, which was previously considered impossible. The use of CMOS in the RF front-end improves functionality at a reduced size and cost for both smartphones and the Internet of Things, as well as leveraging the mature, reliable, high volume CMOS supply chain.
Strategy Analytics estimates the mobile power amplifier market at $3.5 billion representing a significant business opportunity for the company. The huge growth projections for cellular connected IoT devices will further expand this potential. According to Christopher Taylor, Director of RF & Wireless Components at Strategy Analytics, “Designing the RF front-end of an LTE phone to support regional and global cellular bands has gotten extraordinarily difficult. Starting with monolithic integration of the PAs and switches, bulk CMOS has great potential for simplifying the RF front-end and making it more space efficient and less costly—satisfying a critical need in the cellphone industry.”
This latest financing round is led by Bpifrance, through its growth fund Large Venture, with participation from investors in both the US and France, including Foundation Capital, Pond Ventures, Partech Ventures, Omnes Capital, Siparex Group and A Plus Finance. The investment is timed to support the launch of ACCO’s newest generation of industry standard RF front-end CMOS solutions and will provide working capital as well as R&D funds for next generation products while enabling the company to add incremental local support for its increasing customer base.
“We are excited to be investors in ACCO, whose revolutionary cellular radio component dramatically reduces cost and complexity,” stated Nicolas Herschtel, Investment Director at Bpifrance Large Venture. “We believe ACCO’s highly integrated technology perfectly fits the industry requirements and that this new equity round will enable the company to scale and achieve its commercial goals.”
“ACCO’s proprietary and patented high-breakdown voltage CMOS transistor has broken the code on size and power efficiency in 4G power amplifiers,” said Rich Redelfs, General Partner at Foundation Capital and Chairman of ACCO. “With this new round of funding, ACCO now has the resources to scale and obsolete expensive GaAs power amplifiers used in today’s mobile phones.”
“The commitment from Bpifrance and other participating investors validates the importance of building the RF front-end in bulk CMOS—the process used in nearly the entire electronics industry,” stated Greg Caltabiano, ACCO President and CEO. “Not only is this important for smartphones, but also critical to IoT where highly integrated, highly functional, low-cost solutions will drive success of the entire market.”