From planes to smartphones, semiconductors have become a technology that modern society is dependent on. They’ve made our computers smaller and the manufacturing of high-tech gadgets more environmentally responsible.
Right now, chips can vary in size and they’re quite costly, which means they can only be used for certain use cases. But imagine what would be possible if they were smaller and inexpensive; the impact they could have would be incredible.
Enter Vancouver’s EPIC Semiconductors. The company, helmed by visionary CEO Linda Zadeh, has created the world’s first battery-free, microscopic AI chip. It can “feel, think, learn, and respond” to changes in the environment, is self-powered, and can communicate with printable and flexible circuits. Today, the technology is valued at more than $700 million and the company has secured over 20 granted patents. It has also won Linda the respect of Fortune 500 leaders the world over.
“What we’re doing is applicable to everything in society because everyone wants to have more information at their disposal and we want it securely connected to the cloud,” she says. “What we’re doing is giving companies that kind of opportunity.”
So how does this technology work? Take for example carmakers: most auto manufacturers want smart cabins; cabins that “give information to passengers about what’s happening on the road and to retrieve information from inside the vehicle, like knowing if a child has been left in the car.” If automakers implanted EPIC’s chips into the fabric or metal of their cars, they’d be able to transmit that information securely and in a split second without disruption from nearby frequencies.
“Our product is changing industries,” she adds.
The idea for “SMART DUST,” as the microscopic semiconductor is called, came to Linda in 2008. She was participating in Wired’s NextFest in California and stumbled on work highlighting the power of low-frequency technology. As a lover of math and engineering, she started to think about how she could leverage low frequencies to create a product that would transmit information securely. Thus, EPIC’s Semiconductor was born.
For Linda, the work she and her team has done over the past decade-plus wouldn’t have been possible without the support of organizations like ventureLAB.
“Usually for a company of our size, you’d have to pay a lot of money to access the services they offer… it could cost millions… they bring experts across industries together to counsel startups in a way that’s unique… the access to expertise is incredible,” she says. The support of fellow entrepreneurs within the organization has also been priceless. Being a part of a community can help startups push through setbacks and move their missions forward.
Today, Linda and her team are looking forward to going public. “We know there is demand for what we’re doing.here is a lot of attention on what semiconductors can do. The next stage for us is really about opening up more investment opportunities so we can continue to grow.”
Her advice for entrepreneurs who are just getting started is simple: “Get started now. Go after your blue ocean. You will become stronger and stronger over time… and look into catalyst organizations like ventureLAB early… they’ll be able to help you expand efficiently. They can help you change the world.”
ventureLAB’s Capital Investment Program is tailor-made for companies who are ready to pursue angel or seed-stage rounds of investment. ventureLAB guides participants through an intensive program focusing on elevating pitches, connecting with aligned investors, and developing long-term capital strategies. To become a part of the program, join ventureLAB today.
ventureLAB is a leading global founder community for hardware technology and enterprise software companies in Canada. Located at the heart of Ontario’s innovation corridor in York Region, ventureLAB is part of one of the biggest and most diverse tech communities in Canada. Our initiatives focused on raising capital, talent retention, commercializing technology and IP, and customer acquisition have enabled thousands of companies to create over 4,000 jobs and raise more than $200 million in investment capital. At ventureLAB, we grow globally competitive tech titans that build-to-scale in Canada, for global markets.