Microwave Journal

Executive Interview: Amitava Das, CEO of Tagore Technology

September 15, 2021

What is the elevator speech for Tagore Technology?

Tagore is the only company that exploits the advantages of GaN in both RF/wireless and power management applications. Tagore has been shipping RF GaN products over the past three years and is beginning to ship power GaN ICs. Tagore’s customer base spans four continents and includes top-tier companies.

Tell us the story of Tagore Technology’s formation and the backgrounds of your executive team.

Tagore is a “white haired” startup. We have been in the semiconductor industry for many years, and some of our key management team members worked in the pre-IPO stage of such companies as Skyworks and Maxlinear. We had been working on CMOS technology for a few decades and then GaN came along and we felt it had great potential. So, we started Tagore Technology to exploit the advantages of GaN in both RF and power management.

Unlike many semi startups, the Tagore team has worked in all facets of the semiconductor supply chain, encompassing technical marketing, design, fabrication, OSAT (overseas assembly and test) and distribution.

While GaN on silicon has been adopted for power management, it hasn't achieved technical or market success for RF applications. What led you to choose it for RF, and do you feel it's sufficiently mature?

GaN is very well accepted in the RF space. In fact, RF GaN is ahead of power GaN in terms of revenue and market share. In 2026, the combined GaN market will be about $3 billion, of which, RF GaN will be $2 billion.

It's interesting that your initial RF GaN designs were switches. Why start with a switch and why GaN?

Most companies are focusing on GaN power amplifiers (PA) because GaN has higher power handling (watts/mm) capability above approximately 3 GHz compared to other technologies—LDMOS at lower frequency and GaAs at higher frequency. Switches are also required along with PAs and, traditionally, high power switches are designed with PIN diodes. PIN diode switches require lots of passive components, high voltage—as high as 200 V at low frequencies— and high current—can be 100+ mA—to operate, occupying valuable board space. Tagore’s GaN switches take 3 to 5 V to operate, occupy 10x less board space and take microamps of current. Our GaN switches are becoming very popular with the designers of high power radios. We just released our second generation of RF switches with outstanding performance, such as low insertion loss and low harmonics.

We’ve heard TSMC is your GaN on silicon foundry. What are the capabilities of their process for RF (e.g., power density, frequency range, linearity, wafer size, cost)?

Depending on the product, we work with a variety of GaN foundries. All of our products are on 6-inch GaN wafers. Processing GaN can be done using a depreciated 0.25 m factory, so the front-end processing is easy. The real expertise is in the growth of epi.

Outline your RF and power management product lines (e.g., product categories, intended applications, etc.).

We offer a complete portfolio of RF switches, PAs and power products based on GaN technology and low noise amplifiers (LNA) based on GaAs technology, for a wide range of applications including public safety and tactical radios, 5G infrastructure, servers, electric vehicles and USB power delivery. Our newly released second generation of RF switches featuring 10 to 100 W of average power offers best-in-class insertion loss, power handling and harmonic performance. The new devices are best suited for post PA harmonics filter switching for military radio communications and land mobile radios.

This year you expanded your product and process portfolio to add GaAs LNAs and driver amplifiers. Is this to offer your customers a more complete solution for the block diagram?

The RF front-end requires LNAs, PAs and switches. We started our business with switches, followed by PAs. We developed GaN LNAs which can handle high power, but the noise figure was not sub-0.5 dB. So, we developed a GaAs LNA with a noise figure as low as 0.35 dB at 2 GHz, which is one of the best-in-class GaAs LNAs available in the market today.

Discuss your marketing and sales strategy and channels to market.

We have a vast global network of sales reps covering North America, EMEA and Asia. Richardson RFPD and Digikey are our global distributors.

What is the common thread that ties the RF and power management portions of your business together (e.g., process technology, sales channel)?

GaN. We want to be known as “the GaN company.”

This year is the 10th anniversary of Tagore Technology. How would you measure your progress compared to your original business goals?

We started in 2011 and operated mostly as a design house until 2015. We raised our first venture funding in late 2015. We have developed a solid portfolio of RF and power products in the last five years or so, which is quite rewarding. We have more than 100 customers globally who trust the Tagore brand, including some iconic companies. We are now in the growth phase. We are no longer a one product family company. We have the complete portfolio of RF front-end ICs that our customers are demanding. In power, we are making progress and have started winning customers. And all these with just Series A funding. We are quite happy about where we are today.

Where would you like the company to be in five years?

We established Tagore as the premier GaN company that maintains a low profile but delivers outstanding products. Significant developments are happening in epi growth, both in the RF and power GaN space. We want to leverage those developments to create products that can be useful for higher frequency and higher power. “GaN can” is our mantra.