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Crystal Sonic wins Lam Capital venture competition with $250K investment Crystal Sonic wins Lam Capital venture competition with $250K investment
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Chip-related startup Crystal Sonic won the third Lam Capital Venture Competition as well as a $250,000 investment from Lam Capital.

The winner was announced at the Enabling Future Semiconductors event at Lam Research’s headquarters in Fremont, California. made the announcement. Crystal Sonic helps semiconductor manufacturers reduce waste and cost by enabling thin device lift-off and substrate re-use. That means they can help separate parts of the substrate and reuse it. That reduces the waste of chip-making materials.

Tim Archer, CEO of Lam Research, at the company's venture competition.
Tim Archer, CEO of Lam Research, at the company’s venture competition.

The event focused on exploring novel semiconductor technology and manufacturing technologies and it highlighted a dozen different startups who were the finalists among 70 applicants in the semiconductor-focused competition.

The runner-up was Lidrotec, which makes tools for cutting semiconductor chips.


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The aims is to invest in disruptive companies that advance the semiconductor ecosystem through next generation industrial automation, technology and product innovation.

This is the third annual event for the Lam Capital Venture Competition, and the first one since the 2022 event, said Audrey Charles, senior vice president for corporate strategy at Lam Research, one of the biggest suppliers of semiconductor manufacturing equipment. The first event took place before the pandemic in 2019. I spoke to Charles in an interview at the event.

Lidrotec was the runner-up in Lam Capital’s venture competition. (Tim Archer is left, Alexander Igelmann of Lidrotec is center, and Audrey Charles is on the right).

Lam Research has been investing in chip-related startups for years and it has made 20 investments so far, with $1 million to $10 million going into each startup.

Charles said that many of the applicants had a heavy emphasis on AI, particularly as a way to counteract growing costs, increasing technological complexity and sustainability issues. The six judges included Weili Dai, serial entpreneur and cofounder of Marvell and a frequent investor in semiconductor startups including Silicon Box.

Other judges included Rene Do, senior investment director, SK Hynix; Ben Haskell, investment director, Lam Capital; Amir Salek, senior managing director, Cerberus Capital Management; Vera Schroeder, partner, Safar Partners; and Lucas Tsai, senior director, market development and emerging business, TSMC North America.

Audrey Charles is SVP of corporate strategy at Lam Research.

Archer said the competition is good for Lam Research, which is a 44-year-old semiconductor equipment manufacturing company, because it enables it to nurture collaboration with customers and the wider chip ecosystem.

“We can only be successful based on the types of innovation we see today,” Archer said.



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