Venture backed Soraa has hired Eric Kim away from Intel and Kim will take the helm as President and CEO of Soraa on July 6. The secretive startup has not made its mission public beyond a stated foc on energy savings using gallium nitride semiconductor technology. Solid-state lighting (SSL) based on LEDs is a likely target market.
Soraa is backed primarily by Khosla Ventures and states that it has "established a vertically integrated fabrication facility" in California. Company founders include Shuji Nakamura and Stephen DenBaars – both noted experts in the LED and LED-lighting fields. Nakamura is credited, while at Nichia, with inventing the first high-brightness white LED based on a GaN blue LED with yellow phosphor.
Kim has served as the Senior Vice President of Intel's Digital Home Group most recently. Previously Kim worked at Samsung. Kim's background could hint at a Soraa play in the blue LED area for DVD and Blu-Ray applications or in some next-generation optical storage technology.
Nakamura and DenBaars however, have been more focused on LEDs for lighting. And in the small amount of public information that exists on Soraa, the company was credited with collaborating with Momentive Performance Materials on SSL efficiency. As we covered in a prior article, Momentive received a US Department of Energy (DOE) grant to develop low-cost LEDs for SSL and specifically to improve the performance of the LED source.