Menlo Micro raises $150mn in Series C funding

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Menlo Microsystems, the company behind the Ideal Switch technology, has announced the completion of a $150 million Series C funding round, bringing total cumulative funding to over $225 million.

Menlo Micro said that it would be using the funding to expand its domestic manufacturing and supply chain for the Ideal Switch.

“This funding milestone underscores the confidence our investors have in Menlo Micro’s transformative technology to fuel the electrification of everything and modernize the $100+ billion market for RF communications, power switching and protection devices in the 21st century,” said Russ Garcia, Menlo Micro CEO. “It will enable us to expand our manufacturing in the US and accelerate the development of our power roadmap to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges – from aging power grids to modernising smart buildings and factories and eliminating many of the inefficiencies in our legacy electrical infrastructure.”

Described by some as the electronic industry’s Holy Grail – the Ideal Switch combines a mechanical relay with a semiconductor switch. The company’s switches pack many MEMS relays onto a single chip that then functions as a massive mechanical relay, which is little more than the size of a microchip. It is tiny, fast, reliable, can withstand extreme temperatures, is ultra-low loss and can handle 1,000W. Most importantly, it is manufactured using conventional semiconductor equipment.

“The Ideal Switch is poised to replace every switch that distributes power. It is the most ubiquitous electrical component in the world – 20bn are shipped each year,” said Tony Fadell, Nest founder and Principal at Future Shape. “It’s simple, the Ideal Switch changes fundamental math on power delivery to cities, buildings, homes, and appliances from EVs to lights. It will cost less, last longer, act smarter, and lower climate-busting emissions thanks to its energy efficiency profile.”

According to Adroit Market Research, the global electrification market is experiencing tremendous growth, and is expected to be worth $128 billion by 2028. The Ideal Switch looks to transform the electrification of everything by increasing the energy efficiency of the entire legacy electric infrastructure, upgrading 100-year-old relay technology with a microelectromechanical (MEMS) switch.

According to Menlo Micro the Ideal Switch enables:

Increased Energy Efficiency: As just one example, there are over 1bn ceiling fans worldwide and using efficient Ideal Switches in fan controllers would save enough energy to take 17 coal-fired power plants off the grid.

Increased Reliability: A 1000x increase in reliability from electromechanical relays to the Ideal Switch means replacing all switches in the control of industrial processes and equipment can save over $7 trillion in operating costs by 2050.

Smarter Controls: The small size and built-in smart features of the Ideal Switch can enable a level of automation in devices that were previously not possible. One example, there are over 20B outlets and switches in U.S. buildings. Using efficient Ideal Switches in buildings can save the amount of electricity produced by 11 power plants.

“The 21st century is being defined by the electrification movement. What began with the electrification of transportation, Menlo Micro is now pushing this disruptive trend to another level with breakthrough switching technology that will fuel the electrification of everything,” said Ira Ehrenpreis, Founder and Managing Partner, DBL Partners.

“The company’s massively disruptive innovation enables the transformation of industries ranging from industrial and building automation, grid infrastructure, transportation, and applications that include virtually every electronic device that impacts our lives. Mass deployment of the Ideal Switch on a global scale has the potential to save gigawatts of power, dramatically cut carbon emissions, and enable a more sustainable future for humanity.”

The funding round was backed by Vertical Venture Partners and Future Shape. New investors included Fidelity Management & Research Company, DBL Partners and Adage Capital Management along with existing investors, Standard Investments, Paladin Capital Group, Piva Capital, and PeopleFund.