Menlo Microsystems Raises $150 Million to Build Smaller, Smarter Electronic Switches

Pat Maio
Pat Maio has held various reporting and editorial management positions over the past 25 years, having specialized in business and government reporting. He has held reporting jobs with the San Diego Union-Tribune, Orange County Register, Dow Jones News and other newspapers in Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
​Menlo Microsystems
Image courtesy of Menlo Microsystems

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Menlo Microsystems, an Irvine-based maker of electronic switches, has raised $150 million in new funding as it looks to expand its domestic manufacturing capabilities, the company announced Wednesday.

The Series C round was led by Palo Alto-based Vertical Venture Partners and Paris-based Future Shape, which is headed by Apple alum (and iPod and iPhone co-inventor) Tony Fadell. Fidelity, DBL Partners and Adage Capital Management were also new investors in the round, which takes Menlo Micro’s total funding to $225 million.

Menlo Micro's Ideal Switch.

Image courtesy of Menlo Micro

The cornerstone of Menlo Micro’s business is its patented Ideal Switch: a smart device component that can divert an electrical circuit from one conductor to another and can be used in everything from lights and computer keyboards to fans and thermostats. The company pitches the Ideal Switch as enabling circuits to be 100 times smaller and 100 times more efficient across industries including medicine, aerospace and defense, telecommunications and consumer electronics.

While switches may not seem like the most exciting solution to our current energy crisis, their collective power could be a huge disruptor to the energy market. If the 1 billion ceiling fans used worldwide swapped their existing controllers with an Ideal Switch, according to company's marketing materials, it would save enough energy to take 17 power plants off the grid.

Menlo Micro also cites a study by Adroit Market Research that underscores the need for a switch swap. “The global electrification market is experiencing tremendous growth, projected to reach $128 billion by 2028,” according to Dallas-based Adroit. If the Ideal Switch were to replace all of the world’s aging electrical relay technology, all industrial processes could save a total of $7 trillion in operating costs by 2050, Adroit stated.

Menlo Micro CEO Russ GarciaMenlo Micro CEO Russ Garcia.Image courtesy of Menlo Micro

Menlo Micro CEO Russ Garcia said the new funding “will enable us to expand our manufacturing in the U.S. and accelerate the development of our power roadmap to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges.”

Formed in 2016 after being spun off from GE Ventures (the venture capital arm of General Electric), Menlo Micro plans to scale up its manufacturing in the not-too-distant future. The company said it is exploring possible manufacturing locations in California, New York, Texas and Florida, but has not disclosed a timeline for selecting a manufacturing site.

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AgTech Startup Leaf is Helping Farmers Brace for Unexpected Rainfall After Record Year

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

green leaf drawing and rolling farm lands
Evan Xie

At least 50,000 acres in the state of California are estimated to be underwater after a record-breaking year of rainfall. So far this year, California has received nearly 29 inches of rain, with the bulk being dumped on its central and southern coasts. Farmers are already warning that the price of dairy, tomatoes and other vegetables will rise as the weather prevents them from re-seeding their fields.

While no current technology can prevent weather disasters, Leaf Agriculture, a Los Angeles-based startup that launched in 2018, wants to help farmers better manage their properties by leveraging data.

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Two LA Startups Participate in Techstars' 2023 Health Care Accelerator

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

Two LA Startups Participate in Techstars' 2023 Health Care Accelerator
Courtesy of Techstars

Earlier this month, Techstars announced that their 2023 accelerator program will have two simultaneous cohorts–Techstars health care and L.A. As previously reported on dot.LA, Techstars has brought on board returning partners Cedars Sinai, United Healthcare, along with new partners that include UCI Health and Point32Health for its health care cohort.

“For our healthcare program, this is the first time we've had multiple partners as sponsors,” Managing Director Matt Kozlov said. “This allows us to support and mentor a wider diversity of companies than we've been able to help historically.”

The in-person program is taking place in Los Angeles and two out of the twelve companies accepted into the health care program are based in Southern California.

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The Influencer-to-Podcaster Pipeline Is Ready to Explode

Nat Rubio-Licht
Nat Rubio-Licht is a freelance reporter with dot.LA. They previously worked at Protocol writing the Source Code newsletter and at the L.A. Business Journal covering tech and aerospace. They can be reached at
The Influencer-to-Podcaster Pipeline Is Ready to Explode
Evan Xie

It’s no secret that men dominate the podcasting industry. Even as women continue to grow their foothold, men still make up many of the highest-earning podcasts, raking in massive paychecks from ad revenue and striking deals with streaming platforms worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

But a new demographic is changing that narrative: Gen-Z female influencers and content creators.

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