Semiconductor startup Phononic is still hiring in Durham, expands to Thailand

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Phononic has a new fully qualified facility, and it’s in Thailand.  But the company continues to grow and expand in the Triangle, an executive told WRAL TechWire this week.

The semiconductor firm focused on heating and cooling technology had previously announced a partnership with Fabrinet and the intention to build out and finish a facility in Thailand, and this week issued a statement that the facility has received full customer qualification for the joint manufacturing facility after less than a year.

“In the semiconductor world, customers routinely test and qualify parts based on the source of their manufacturing and assembly,” said Kevin Granucci, CRO at Phononic, in an interview with WRAL TechWire.  “This ensures adherence to quality and ISO standards.”

The facility boosts Phononic’s ability to deliver qualified parts to its customers, noted Granucci, “that meet or exceed all quality and reliability metrics.”

The company closed a $50 million funding round in July, and Granucci noted that a portion of those funds have begun to be used to expand sales and marketing functions as well as to fund the capital expenditures and equipment needs in the company’s Durham facility and in the new facility in Thailand.

The company continues to expand, noted Granucci, pointing out that the size of the company has doubled in the prior 18 months along with committing millions of dollars of capital expenditures to rapid prototyping and production.  The company continues to hire additional employees in Durham and is seeking experienced semiconductor operators and technicians, said Granucci.  Seven openings are listed on the company’s careers webpage.

But the partnership with Fabrinet “provides proximity to key customers and allows us to reposition some Durham resources to new product development, thereby supporting our customers’ existing and future needs simultaneously,” Granucci said.  It will also allow the company to “continue to focus on our innovation pipeline,” Granucci said in a statement issued by the company.

That pipeline includes product derivatives within each of the company’s market verticals, said Granucci, as well as expansion into new product platforms that the company has not yet announced.  The company announced a new product last month that will be used in the grocery industry, the Tote.

At the moment, said Granucci, “we have millions of devices in use for fiberoptic/5G/LiDAR and thousands of refrigerators and freezers used in vaccines and retail merchandising.”

The company is well-poised in the global marketplace, said Granucci.  There’s an accelerating demand for sustainable cooling solutions, he noted, “particularly in refrigeration/cooling given the CO2 impact of legacy refrigerants that harm the environment.”

Phononic is also positioned to meet customer demand, said Granucci, despite ongoing concerns over semiconductor shortages and other supply chain disruptions.

“While most of the world points to supply chain and labor interruptions as cause for delayed shipments or impacted revenues, our Fabrinet partnership announced last December and full qualification now, positions us to work through these global challenges while driving continued YoY revenue and shipment growth, said Granucci.  “We continue to move quickly and ably to support global growth despite unusual, if not historic, interruptions in supply chain and labor.”

That’s due to the company taking a proactive approach to its growth, said Granucci, and protecting its intellectual property.

“We use a combination of trade secrets and patents to protect all facets of our device, component, and systems level IP,” said Granucci.  “At the device level, the most protected parts of the semiconductor process are maintained in Durham, while the higher volume and less IP sensitive parts of the process leverage partners like Fabrinet who have a history and reputation for respecting their partners’ IP.”

Granucci declined to comment on the details of the agreement between Phononic and its partners.

Original Source: WRAL TechWire