Semiconductor maker to announce Purdue partnership

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Bloomington, Minnesota-based SkyWater Technology, a semiconductor manufacturer, is scheduled to make an announcement Wednesday at Purdue University regarding a strategic partnership, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. announced Tuesday.

Gov. Eric Holcomb, Indiana Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers and Purdue University President Mitch Daniels are scheduled to join executives from SkyWater to make the announcement.

SkyWater bills itself as the only U.S.-investor owned pure-play semiconductor and technology foundry. The company went public in April 2021, raising about $97 million in its initial public offering. The firm was previously part of San Jose, California-based Cypress Semiconductor but became an independent company in 2017 when it was acquired by Oxbow Industries, a private equity firm headquartered in Minneapolis.

The company, which makes integrated circuits for customers including Infineon, D-Wave, Microsoft and Steifpower, lost $16.6 million in the first quarter on revenue of $48.1 million. Shares closed at $9.46 each Tuesday, down from their IPO price of $14.

Last July, Skywater executives met with Holcomb to discuss opportunities in Indiana to support increased domestic semiconductor manufacturing.

The tech company announced plans in November to open research space at the WestGate@Crane Technology Park in Odon. The company is a U.S. Department of Defense-accredited supplier, which prompted it to open a facility near the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division.

SkyWater CEO Thomas Sonderman attended the Global Economic Summit held in Indianapolis this past May. He said the company viewed Indiana as taking big steps to expand its commitment to the microchip space, both in terms of educational commitments and by offering incentives for would-be manufacturers.

“I think Indiana has done a great job of removing a lot of the uncertainty, which makes it easier to make decisions when you want to move fast,” said Sonderman. “And that’s the one thing that I think everyone’s making clear is, we have to move fast [on semiconductors].”

During the summit, the state announced the creation of the Accelerating Microelectronics Production & Development task force, which is intended to strengthen Indiana’s role in semiconductor manufacturing through procurement of new projects and federal funding.

In May, Purdue launched its Semiconductor Degrees Program, a set of degrees and credentials for both graduate and undergraduate students. The university said it launched the program, in part, to respond to the projected need for at least 50,000 trained semiconductor engineers in the United States.

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