Ben Franklin


Texas Instruments Lehigh Valley: Innovation and Expansion in Northeastern Pennsylvania

Now more than ever, job creation is a hot-button issue–not only creating more employment opportunities, but also keeping jobs in the area. Texas Instruments Lehigh Valley (formerly CICLON Semiconductor Device Corporation) has excelled at both efforts, and plans expansion and new hiring in 2011. Even after CICLON’s acquisition in 2009, all jobs remained in northeastern Pennsylvania.

If Texas Instruments Lehigh Valley's technology were adopted in computer systems worldwide, the reduction of power use would equal the output of more than 12 coal-fired power plants annually.

Texas Instruments Lehigh Valley’s technology dramatically increases efficiency in power systems, delivering new levels of systems compactness, cost and performance. Its highly efficient power chip reduces the heat given off by power supplies and redirects that energy to the device being energized, making it 20% more efficient. If this technology were adopted in computer systems worldwide, the reduction of power use would equal the output of more than 12 coal-fired power plants annually.

Starting Life in the Incubator

Mark Granahan launched the company at the Ben Franklin Business Incubator at Lehigh University. Investments by Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern PA (BFTP/NEP) enabled CICLON to conduct thermal, electrical, material, and mechanical analyses of its new, low-cost, high-performance power semiconductor package. Ben Franklin also linked the company with vital equipment at Lehigh University.

“Ben Franklin was instrumental in starting our business,” said Mark Granahan, now General Manager of Texas Instruments Lehigh Valley. “In addition to providing funding, an outstanding facility with office space and lab space, and links to specialized equipment, they gave us support for our financial systems and human resources. Their assistance allowed us to focus on what was important to our early-stage company: technology development.”

CICLON began with just three employees—the founders—in 2005. At the end of 2010, it had grown to a staff of 60, with plans to end 2011 with an additional 15 to 20 employees. The company has already hired five people this quarter, and continues to seek new talent for the organization. In 2007, CICLON graduated from the original incubator space and became the anchor tenant in the new post-incubator space at Ben Franklin TechVentures. In February 2009, when CICLON was acquired by Texas Instruments, all local jobs were retained.

Rapid Growth to World-Leader Status

Like any organization, BFTP is only as good as the people involved with it—and these are some remarkable individuals.
—Mark Granahan, Founder and General Manager, Texas Instruments Lehigh Valley (formerly CICLON)

CICLON’s technology has been designed into products offered by world leaders in electronics. The company has enjoyed design wins with major electronics corporations, a strong and expanding patent portfolio, and growing sales.

In addition to crucial infrastructure support, BFTP/NEP has provided $150,000 in financial assistance to the company. And the relationship continues: Texas Instruments Lehigh Valley will be moving into the brand new 47,000 sq. ft. Ben Franklin TechVentures2 facility once it is completed by the end of 2011.

TechVentures2 is expected to create as many as 200 new high-paying, sustainable technology jobs and retain 100 more jobs at startup companies in its first three years. It will also provide job and internship opportunities for up to 20 university students each year.

“Like any organization, BFTP is only as good as the people involved with it—and these are some remarkable individuals,” said Granahan. “They helped us fulfill our vision. The more businesses they can touch, the more success we will see in northeastern Pennsylvania.”

Although it boasts the world’s most efficient power switch, the company is dedicated to maintaining its competitive edge. The technology is expanding worldwide and the company is set on a goal of growing to a billion dollars in revenue.

“We are proud to offer something that the world not only needs, but demands: a higher-efficiency power device,” said Granahan.

This article was featured in
Keynotes April, 2011
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