Kenneth Donahue, a veteran executive in the silicon chip industry, has taken over as chief executive officer at semiconductor firm Ziptronix.
Donahue replaces Phil Nyborg, who led Ziptronix for two years and helped the company land $2.8 million in financing earlier this year.
Donahue is not a new face in the Triangle. He was among the early management team members at Unitive and later served as its CEO before the company was acquired by Taiwan-based Amkor in 2004. Unitive also was a semiconductor firm.
“Ziptronix represents an exciting opportunity to work with the next generation of semiconductor integration technology,” Donahue said in a statement.
Nyborg is no longer with the company, a spokesperson for the company told WRAL Local Tech Wire on Friday evening. The change in CEOs was announced Friday but actually had taken place “recently,” the spokesperson added.
Ziptronix is a spin-off from RTI International and is focused on three-dimensional integration technology for semiconductors. RTI, Grotech Capital and Alliance Technology Ventures are among the other investors in the firm.
Donahue has spent 17 years in the electronics industry. He stayed with Amkor after the Unitive acquisition and most recently was Amkor’s president and general manager for its wafer level processing business unit.
“We are very pleased that Ken has joined the Ziptronix team,” Intersouth General partner Mitch Mumma said in a statement. “The company is at a critical point, poised for tremendous growth as the semiconductor industry continues to adopt new 3-D integration technologies that will rely on critical processes like those that Ziptronix provides. Ken is the right person, with exactly the right experience and skill set, to set the direction for the business and drive that growth.”
Ziptronix signed its first commercial customer in January. Utilizing patented technology, Ziptronix has developed means to stack and bond silicon chips, delivering more performance in less space and requiring less power. That means Ziptronix chips also produce less heat.
The company believes its chip technology will be widely useful for mobile devices. Founded in 2000, it has raised $36 million.
Ziptronix holds 17 patents and has filed for numerous others. The “secret sauce” is a process that Ziptronix calls “digital bond interconnect” that enables chips to be bonded at a molecular level without using any adhesive or material foreign to silicon.
The process uses material found in silicon – silicon oxide – for the bonding. The bonding is created as a silicon wafer is “diced”, or cut into pieces, and laid on top of a second whole wafer. Once bonded, the wafers are cut into individual chips.