OUR STORY

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Pioneering lamps using LEDs built from pure gallium nitride substrates (GaN on GaN™), Soraa has made ordinary lighting extraordinarily brilliant and efficient. Soraa's full spectrum GaN on GaN LED lamps have superior color rendering and beam characteristics compared to lamps using LEDs created from non-native substrates. Soraa is located in Fremont California, where it manufactures its GaN on GaN LEDs in the company's state-of-the-art facility.

Soraa was founded in 2008 in Goleta, California, by a team of pioneering professors from the worlds of engineering and semiconductors. In 2007, they made a bet on an LED technology platform completely different than current industry practice, a technology most industry experts at the time considered to be impossible to execute. They bet on Gallium GaN on GaN for their LEDs.

Before Soraa, all LEDs worldwide were made of GaN crystals grown onto a dissimilar substrate: usually sapphire or silicon carbide.

Soraa bet that GaN on GaN™ LEDs would produce more light per area of LED and be more cost-effective than technology based on other substrates. This strategy ran against every trend in the LED industry. But Soraa’s world-class team had the credentials, experience, and vision to make that bet and beat the odds:

  • Dr. Shuji Nakamura, inventor of the blue laser and LED
  • Dr. Steven DenBaars, founder of Nitres
  • Dr. James Speck of U.C. Santa Barbara's College of Engineering

That bet paid off: today, Soraa is the only LED manufacturer using perfect GaN on GaN™ crystals for its products.

Why use GaN on GaN™ LEDs? They're simply better:

  • GaN on GaN™ LEDs emit more light per LED material than any other LED
  • GaN on GaN™ LEDs handle more electric current per area than any other LED
  • GaN on GaN™ crystals are up to a thousand times more precise than any other LED crystal


Only Soraa creates GaN on GaN™ lighting products for tomorrow's general illumination market. Perfect crystals mean perfect light.

MEET THE SORAA TEAM

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Professor Shuji Nakamura
Founder
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Professor Nakamura may have single-handedly changed the technological face of the world. His discovery of p-type doping in Gallium Nitride (GaN) and development of blue, green, and white light emitting diodes (LEDs) and blue laser diodes (LDs) has enabled energy efficient, solid-state lighting used in displays, medicine, and the next generation of Blu-Ray optical storage. Now, Dr. Nakamura’s inventions are poised to replace Thomas Edison’s light bulb and save the world billions of dollars in energy costs.

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Professor Steven P. DenBaars
Founder
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Professor of Materials and Co-Director of the Solid-State Lighting Center at the University of California Santa Barbara, ranked number one in the nation by the National Research Council, Dr. Steven P. DenBaars’ interest in growth of GaN based semiconductors and their application to Blue LEDs, lasers and high power electronic devices lead to the first US university demonstration of a Blue GaN laser diode and more than seven patents pending on GaN growth and processing.

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Professor Jim Speck
Founder
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Materials Department Chair at UC Santa Barbara, ranked number one in the nation by the National Research Council, Professor Speck has worked extensively on the materials science of GaN and related alloys. He received the Quantum Device Award from the International Symposium on Compound Semiconductors in 2007, was named an inaugural MRS Fellow in 2008, received the JJAP Best Paper Award in 2008, became an APS Fellow in 2009, and received the IEEE Photonics Society Aron Kressel Award for his work on nonpolar and semipolar GaN-based materials and devices.

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Jeffery Parker
CEO
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Before joining Soraa, Parker was a senior executive with Rambus, one of the world’s premier technology licensing companies, serving as the President of the Lighting and Display Technology Division, focused on producing LED lamps and lighting fixtures. He was the founder and CEO of Global Lighting Technologies, an LED backlighting company, which he grew to more than $100M in revenue before selling the R&D division to Rambus in 2009. Parker has over 25 years experience in the information display, LED, medical, and lighting markets and has over 100 patents in LCD backlighting, fiber optics, LEDs, medical illuminators, and general lighting.

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Tom Caulfield
President & COO
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Dr. Caulfield was formerly COO of Ausra, Inc. where he led the repositioning of the company that ultimately led to a strategic partner acquisition, and EVP of Sales, Marketing and Customer Satisfaction at Novellus Systems, Inc. where he oversaw global field operations. He also brings extensive semiconductor industry experience to Soraa having served, over his 17 year tenure, as VP of Semiconductor Operations at IBM.

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Mike Krames
CTO
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With 20 years of laser diode and LED R&D experience, Mike is a former Executive VP at Philips Lumileds, where he formed and ran the Advanced Laboratories and its research on III-nitride epitaxy, LED device technology, and luminescent materials. He spearheaded many key solid-state lighting advancements, including flip-chip and thin-film flip-chip technologies, photonic crystal LEDs, ceramic phosphors, and advancing understanding of the “droop” mechanism in InGaN-GaN LEDs. A senior member of IEEE, he has published over 70 papers and has over 100 patents in the solid-state lighting field.

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Frank M. Steranka
SVP Engineering
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Dr. Steranka joined Soraa in June of 2010 and has been in the LED business since 1984. With Hewlett Packard’s Optoelectronics Division, he worked on the successful commercialization of a wide variety of LED products based upon the AlGaAs, AlInGaP, and InGaN materials systems. In 1999, he joined the Agilent-Philips Lumileds Lighting joint venture where he served in many roles including Executive Vice President of R&D and CTO. With a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Frank has participated in or led the release to market of over 200 LED products.

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Nick Farraway
Senior VP International
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An internationally recognized lighting expert with over 30 years of global industry experience, Nick brings a wide range of lighting knowledge of lamps, fixtures and applications to the Soraa team. He previously held senior executive roles at Sylvania, Thorn, and Zumtobel Lighting, working through all channels from International project specification to general wholesale distribution and retail. He led the successful bid teams on leading International projects as diverse as London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 and Wembley International Football Stadium. Nick holds a BEng from Middlesex University.

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George Stringer
Senior VP North America Sales
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A highly recognized sales leader in the lighting industry, George comes to Soraa after 16 years with Acuity Brands Lighting in a variety of senior level sales and sales management roles, including Vice President and General Manager for Corporate Accounts, Renovation, and Government; where he revitalized the National Account organization introducing a new strategic vision and turning it into a high performance sales channel. He brings considerable expertise in all sales channels and motions; direct, distribution, manufacturer’s representatives, and national and regional accounts.

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Susan Larson
VP Sales Americas
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Susan joined Soraa in 2010 as Director of Sales and helped to start the Lamps Division. She brings extensive lighting industry experience, with key roles in LED companies such as Lynk Labs, Led Engin, Exclara, and Neo Neon. She is also the former CEO of iLight Technologies, a leader in innovative LED solutions. Susan received her MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a BA in Psychology and Neurobiology from Northwestern University.

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Mark D’Evelyn
VP Bulk Technology
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Dr. D'Evelyn joined Soraa in April 2008 to lead the development of low-cost, high-quality bulk GaN substrates. During 15 years at GE Global Research and 7 years at Rice University, he and his groups investigated synthesis, processing, and applications of a range of electronic materials, including GaN, diamond, silicon, and radiation-detector materials. He holds a PhD in Physical Chemistry and 50+ US patents, has published 80+ papers and book chapters, is a certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt, and has served as principal investigator on 15+ grants and contracts.

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Jack Moyer
VP Human Resources
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Jack brings over 30 years of HR management experience in the technology and consumer sectors, in companies at differing stages of development from startup through rapid growth and maturing organizations. Before coming to Soraa he headed the HR function for SMART Modular Technologies leading program implementation and supporting operations in the U.S., Europe, Latin America, and Asia.

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Frank Shum
VP LED Lamps Products
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Frank joined Soraa in 2009 as VP LED Package Development where he pioneered Soraa micro GaN array packaging technology. He then founded the LED Lamp group and directed the technology and business strategy for the LED MR16 product family. Before Soraa, he worked in several Silicon Valley optical startups including Bridgelux, Altamar Network, SDL Inc, Radiance Design and Luximo, where he developed the industry most efficient LED Desk Lamp, winning the DOE Lighting For Tomorrow Award. Frank has over 50 patents and patents pending in the optics field.

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Eran Ziv
VP Supply Chain Operations
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Eran joined Soraa in April 2011. He has 18 years of experience as Senior Finance and Operations leader. He is an expert in cost, forecasting, and contract manufacturer management. Before coming to Soraa he worked in the Telecom and Network industries at Telrad Networks and 2Wire. He holds BA in Economics from Haifa University and an MBA from Bar-Ilan University, both in Israel

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Sudhir Chopra
VP Operations
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Sudhir Chopra joined Soraa in July 2012 as Vice President of Operations. With a career spanning over 25 years in the semiconductor industry, Sudhir most recently held Senior Management level positions at Maxim Integrated Products and Lam Research Corporation. At Maxim, he directed Process Engineering teams for developing next generation process technologies. At Lam Research he managed the Customer Technical Liaison activities. Sudhir earned his M.S. degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana and his B.S. from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur.

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Nahid Afshar
VP Global Manufacturing Engineering & Quality
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Nahid Joined Soraa in January 2012 and established the Quality Organization. Before Soraa she spent 25 years at Seagate Technology, primarily focused in Recording Media Operations and Engineering. Her most recent position was an Executive Director with global responsibilities. Her team delivered millions of dollars cost reduction/process improvements to Seagate through the application of Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing in US, Asia and Europe. She holds a BS in Chemistry from California State University Hayward and is a Six Sigma Black Belt.

   

INVESTORS

Khosla Ventures ABOUT
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Khosla Ventures: a venture capital firm run by people who listen to, analyze, and advise entrepreneurs. We manage a main fund that supports early- and late-stage investments and a seed fund for developing very early-stage experiments. We focus on next-generation energy projects, new materials, mobility, the Internet and silicon technology. Our firm was established in 2004 by Vinod Khosla, who helped turn a computer science project into Sun Microsystems, a multibillion-dollar phenomenon.

NEA ABOUT
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Across three key domains—information technology, healthcare and energy technology—NEA applies its company-building expertise, vast network of resources and strong capital base to help our portfolio companies become leaders in their respective markets.

NGEN ABOUT
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Founded in 2001, NGEN Partners is a pioneering investor in the cleantech sector. They invest in early to late stage businesses that offer economically valuable products and services that positively affect the environment. With a history in materials science, NGEN has deep expertise in alternative energy, energy efficiency, pollution abatement and green resources.

Angeleno Group ABOUT
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Angeleno Group is a pioneer in providing growth capital for next generation clean energy and natural resources companies. AG invests opportunistically in a range of deal types, with a strategy that is sector-focused, stage-agnostic and research-driven. Since its founding, AG has become one of the largest dedicated energy growth equity investment firms, making investments on a global basis with investment professionals operating in the U.S., Asia and Australia.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Soraa's board of directors includes:

  • Steven P. DenBaars, founder of Soraa
  • Charles Giancarlo, Managing Partner, Silver Lake Partners
  • Manny Hernandez, Khosla Ventures
  • Ravi Viswanathan, PhD, General Partner of NEA
  • Samir Kaul, Khosla Ventures
  • Zeb Rice, Angeleno Group