Learn more about the companies that spun off from the legendary Fairchild Semiconductor. Read about their founding, growth, often spectacular success, and sometimes decline.

Explore CHM resources to listen to oral histories of company founders and leaders, view innovative products from our collection of artifacts, and read documents from the archives.

Amelco Semiconductor, Mountain View, CA (1961)

Founders: Jean Hoerni, Eugene Kleiner, Jay Last, Sheldon Roberts (all from Fairchild and Shockley)

With financing arranged by Arthur Rock, Amelco, the first spinoff to be headed by Fairchild cofounders, was established to build integrated circuits in support of Teledyne Corporation’s military and aerospace operations. Later renamed Teledyne Semiconductor, the company operated as a unit of Teledyne Components before being spun out in 1993 as Telcom Semiconductor Inc. Microchip acquired Telcom in 2000.

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General Microelectronics, Santa Clara, CA (1963)

Founders: Howard Bobb, James P. Ferguson, Robert Norman (all from Fairchild), Art Lowell (US Marine Corps)

Funded by Pyle National of Chicago, General Microelectronics (GMe) introduced the industry’s first commercial MOS IC in 1964 and developed custom chips for pioneering MOS LSI calculator manufacturer Victor Comptometer. Philco-Ford Microelectronics purchased the business in 1966 and moved the operation to Philadelphia. Several founders and employees went on to found American Microsystems.

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Applied Materials Technology, Santa Clara, CA (1967)

Founder: Michael McNeily (Union Carbide, Apogee Chemicals)

With funding from Robert Noyce and others, Applied Materials was founded to develop chemical vapor deposition (CVD) semiconductor processing systems. Prior to AMT, many semiconductor manufacturers built their own equipment. The company was a pioneer in offering a full range of process technology and service solutions for wafer fabrication for semiconductor chips, flat panels, solar photovoltaic cells, flexible electronics, and energy efficient glass.

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National Semiconductor, Santa Clara, CA (Restart 1967)

Restart founders: Charles Sporck, Floyd Kvamme, Pierre Lamond, Donald Valentine (all from Fairchild)

Bernard Rothlein and seven engineers from Sperry Rand Corporation founded National Semiconductor in Danbury, Connecticut, in 1959. An investor group led by Peter Sprague purchased the company and hired Charles Sporck, general manager of Fairchild, and a team of key manufacturing and marketing executives to reestablish the business in Santa Clara in 1967. National became a leading supplier of analog, TTL logic, and microcontroller devices until acquired by Texas Instruments in 2011.

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Intel Corporation, Mountain View, CA (1968)

Founders: Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce (both from Fairchild and Shockley) 

The founders recruited many scientists and managers from Fairchild, including future CEO Andrew S. Grove, to apply the silicon gate MOS process to build semiconductor memory devices to replace magnetic core storage systems in computers. Intel abandoned the mainstream memory business to focus on microprocessor and peripheral products in 1984. Now headquartered in Santa Clara, California, Intel is the world’s largest manufacturer of semiconductor devices.

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Advanced Micro Devices, Sunnyvale, CA (1969)

Founders: F. Botte, J. Carey, J. Giles, J. Gifford. J. Sanders, S. Simonsen, L. Stegner, E. Turney (all from Fairchild)

AMD was founded on a strategy of building improved versions of popular logic and analog integrated circuits from Fairchild and Texas Instruments. Under the leadership of Jerry Sanders, the company became a major supplier of MOS memory and Intel compatible microprocessor devices in the 1980s. AMD entered the graphics processor business by acquiring ATI Technologies of Canada in 2006.

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KPCB, Menlo Park, CA (1972)

Founders: Eugene Kleiner (Fairchild), Tom Perkins (HP), Frank J. Caufield (Oak Grove Ventures), Brook Byers (Stanford)

Led by Fairchild cofounder Eugene Kleiner and Tom Perkins, venture capital firm KPCB was founded to focus on early-stage investments in high-technology companies. The company has funded more than 500 ventures, including AOL, Amazon, Compaq, Electronic Arts, Genentech, Google, Intuit, Juniper Networks, Netscape, Sun Microsystems, and Symantec.

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Sequoia Capital, Menlo Park, CA (1972)

Founder: Don Valentine (Fairchild, National Semiconductor) 

Don Valentine founded venture capital firm Sequoia Capital to invest in early stage technology companies that have included Apple, Google, Oracle, PayPal, Stripe, YouTube, Instagram, Yahoo!, and WhatsApp and today control $1.4 trillion of combined stock market value. The firm has affiliated operations in China, Israel, and India.

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KLA Tencor, San Jose, CA (1975)

Founders: Ken Levy, Bob Anderson (both from Computervision) 

KLA Instruments developed automated photomask inspection equipment for semiconductor manufacturers. After merging with Tencor Instruments in 1997 (founded in 1976 by Karel Urbanek), the company emerged as a major supplier of process control and yield management products and services to the semiconductor industry.

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Apple Computer, Los Altos, CA (1976)

Founders: Steve Jobs (Atari), Ron Wayne (Atari), Steve Wozniak (HP)

Fairchild and Intel alumnus Mike Markkula served as chairman and raised funding from Sequoia Capital and Arthur Rock to secure early stage funding for the development of the Apple II personal computer. Through innovative design, independent-developer software support, and strong retail marketing programs, Apple emerged as the most successful early PC manufacturer. Based in Cupertino, California, today Apple is the world’s largest technology company with a dominant position in the market for mobile digital-lifestyle products. 

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Oracle, Santa Clara, CA (1977)

Founders: Larry Ellison, Bob Miner, Ed Oates (all from Ampex), Bruce Scott 

Established as Software Development Laboratories, Oracle was a version of the company’s early relational database management product that achieved widespread customer acceptance. Renamed Oracle, today the company, based in Redwood Shores, is one of the world’s largest vendors of business software and services. Oracle entered the Fairchild diaspora through investments by Sequoia Capital and the acquisition of Sun Microsystems in 2009.

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U-B Networks, Santa Clara, CA (1979)

Founders: Ralph Ungermann (Zilog, Intel) and Charlie Bass (Zilog)

Ungermann-Bass, also known as U-B Networks, was founded by two former Zilog employees. U-B specialized in large enterprise networks based on Ethernet technology and was the first successful networking company independent of a computer manufacturer. Tandem Computer purchased the company in 1988.

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VLSI Technology, Los Gatos, CA (1979) 

Founders: Jack Balletto (Fairchild, Synertek), Dan Floyd, Gunnar Wetlesen (both from Synertek), Douglas Fairbairn (Xerox PARC)

VLSI Technology founders wrote the business plan in 1979 and raised funding from Evans & Sutherland Computer Corp (lead investor—$3 million) along with several VC’s led by Hambrecht & Quist in 1980. Supported by a broad suite of computer aided engineering tools, VLSI was an early vendor of cell-based ASIC devices to the merchant market and manufactured the first ARM chip for Acorn Computer in 1985. Philips Semiconductor acquired VLSI in June 1999.

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LSI Logic, Milpitas, CA (1981)

Founders: Wilfred Corrigan, Mick Bohn, Jim Koford, Bill O’Meara, Rob Walker (all from Fairchild)

LSI Logic Corporation was founded by former Fairchild CEO Wilfred Corrigan to apply CAD software tools and fast turnaround prototype capability to deliver complex custom gate array devices. An early follower of the fabless manufacturing model, LSI chips were manufactured by Toshiba in Japan. The company merged with Agere Systems (former AT&T/Lucent) in 2007 to form LSI Corporation and in turn was acquired by Avago Technologies (now Broadcom) in 2014.  

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Linear Technology, Milpitas, CA (1981) 

Founders: Robert Swanson, Brian Hollins, Robert Widlar (all former National and Fairchild), Robert Dobkin, Brent Welling (both from National)

Founded by former employees of the National Semiconductor analog products business, with funding from Sequoia, Linear Technology was one of the first companies to focus exclusively on the design and development of high-performance analog ICs. Linear Technology was one of the largest independent analog IC manufacturers, with annual revenues over $1 billion, until its acquisition by Analog Devices in March 2017. 

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Sun Microsystems, Santa Clara, CA (1982) 

Founders: Vaughan Pratt, Scott G. McNealy, Andy Bechtolsheim, Vinod Khosla (all from Stanford), Bill Joy (UC Berkeley)

Sun Microsystems built high-performance workstations based on a Stanford University Network (SUN) design by Andy Bechtolsheim and became a major supplier of internet servers during the dotcom boom.  Sun contributed to the evolution of key computing technologies, including, Unix, RISC processors, thin client computing, and virtualized computing. Oracle acquired the company in 2010. 

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Altera, San Jose, CA (1983)

Founders: Robert Hartmann, Michael Magranet, Paul Newhagen (all from Fairchild), James Sansbury (HP)

Altera Corporation was founded to produce electrically erasable programmable logic (EPLD) and field programmable gate array (FPGA) integrated circuits and development tools that allowed users to produce their own custom logic chips on their workbench. Intel acquired the company in its largest-ever purchase in 2015.

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Maxim, Sunnyvale, CA (1983) 

Founders: John F. Gifford, Fred Beck, Dave Bingham, Steve Combs, Lee Evans, Dave Fullagar, Roger Fuller, Rich Hood, Dick Wilenken (all from Intersil)

Maxim Integrated Products Inc. was founded to design and manufacture specialty linear and mixed-signal integrated circuits. Several founders had formerly been employed by Fairchild and subsequently Intersil Inc. (founded by Jean Hoerni) and by that time a subsidiary of General Electric. Maxim acquired Dallas Semiconductor in 2001. 

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Cisco Systems, Stanford, CA (1984) 

Founders: Leonard Bosack, Sandy Lerner (both from Stanford)

With funding from Sequoia Capital, Cisco Systems was founded to pursue the concept of a local area network connecting geographically disparate computers over a multiprotocol router system. Their first product, the Advanced Gateway Server, was based on a router built by William Yeager and Andy Bechtolsheim at Stanford. Today, Cisco is the largest supplier of internet-related telecommunications equipment.

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Cadence, San Jose, CA (1988)

Founders: James Solomon (SDA, National), Richard Newton (UCB), Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli (UCB), Glen Antle (ECAD, SEL), Paul Huang (ECAD, SEL)

Cadence Design Systems Inc. is an electronic design automation (EDA) software and engineering services company created under CEO Joseph Costello in 1988 by the merger of Solomon Design Automation Systems (SDA) and ECAD Inc. The company grew by new product development and acquisition, including Valid Logic Systems and Verilog pioneer Gateway Design Automation, to become one of the largest suppliers of electronic design software tools.

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SanDisk, Palo Alto, CA (1988) 

Founders: Eli Harari (Waferscale, Intel), Sanjay Mehrotra (Atmel, IDT), Jack Yuan (Hughes)

SanDisk was founded to develop nonvolatile semiconductor memory devices and storage systems based on Flash technology. The company established a strong presence in the consumer market with its memory cards and readers, USB flash drives, and solid state drives. Hard drive manufacturer Western Digital acquired SanDisk in 2016.

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Nvidia, Santa Clara, CA (1993)

Founders: Jen-Hsun Huang (AMD, LSI Logic), Chris Malachowsky (HP, Sun), Curtis Priem (Sun)

With early funding from Sequoia Capital, Nvidia developed specialized graphics processing unit (GPUs) chips and subsystems. With transistor counts in the billions, Nvidia produces some of today’s most complex semiconductor devices for applications in parallel processing and artificial intelligence projects. 

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Brocade Communications Systems, San Jose, CA (1995)

Founders: Seth Neiman (Sun), Kumar Malavalli (HP), Paul R. Bonderson (Intel, Sun)

While at Hewlett-Packard, Brocade cofounder Kumar Malavalli coauthored the Fibre Channel specification that formed the basis of the company’s first product. A Fibre Channel Switch for Storage Area Networks and specialized SAN chip designs were followed by Ethernet switches, routers, and networking software products for the data center market. Singapore-based chip maker Broadcom announced the purchase of Brocade in 2016.

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eBay, San Jose, CA (1995)

Founder Pierre Omidyar (Claris/Apple, Ink Development)

Founded as AuctionWeb, an online auction house, eBay was one of the notable survivors of the dotcom bubble of 2000. The purchase of PayPal in 2002 popularized consumer online banking transactions. Today eBay is a multibillion-dollar operation, providing e-commerce sales and services via the internet to business and consumers in over 30 counties. 

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Yahoo!, Stanford, CA (1995)

Founders: David Filo (Stanford), Jerry Yang (Stanford)

Stanford electrical engineering graduate students Filo and Yang created “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web” in 1994. With early funding from Sequoia, the search engine domain created in 1995 diversified into a web portal and became one of the most visited sites over the next decade. A succession of CEOs failed to retain market share against Google and Microsoft. Verizon acquired the company in 2017. 

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Juniper Networks, Mountain View, CA (1996)

Founders: Pradeep Sindhu (Xerox PARC), Bjorn Liencres (Sun Microsystems), Dennis Ferguson (MCI Communications)

Most early internet routers were intended for phone calls and had dedicated circuits for each caller. Juniper set out to create packet-based routers optimized for Internet traffic. With funding from KCPB, the Juniper M40 router was accepted by major international telecommunications companies, and by 2001, the company controlled one-third of the market for high-end core routers. 

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Google, Menlo Park, CA (1998)

Founders: Sergey Brin, Larry Page (both from Stanford) 

As graduate students, Brin and Page collaborated on BackRub, a search engine that operated on Stanford servers before founding Google on seed money from Sun founder Andy Bechtolsheim. With funding from KPCB and Sequoia, the company moved to Mountain View in 1999 and quickly emerged as the dominant search engine worldwide. The Android mobile OS was introduced in 2009. The original search business operates today under the Alphabet corporate entity.  

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Facebook, Cambridge, MA (2004)

Founders: Chris Hughes, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo Saverin, Mark Zuckerberg (all Harvard College) 

Originally launched to serve Harvard students, the Facebook social media website quickly expanded to colleges across the country. Within a few months, entrepreneur Sean Parker became president, moved the company to Palo Alto, California, and secured funding from PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel. Facebook reached a market cap of $250 billion in 2015 and exceeded 1.5 billion users in early 2016.  

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LinkedIn, San Jose, CA (2003)

LinkedIn, San Jose, CA (2003)

Founders: Reid Hoffman, Konstantin Guericke, Jean-Luc Vaillant, Allen Blue, Eric Ly (all from PayPal)

Launched in 2003, the LinkedIn site offered a social networking service for professionals. With seed funding from colleagues at PayPal followed by venture money from Sequoia, LinkedIn reached over two million users in 2005, allowing monetization of the service through subscriptions, paid job postings, and advertising. Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26 billion in 2016.

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Tesla Motors, San Carlos, CA (2003) 

Founders: Elon Musk (PayPal), Martin Eberhard (Nuvo Media), Marc Tarpenning (Nuvo Media), JB Straubel (Volacom), Ian Wright

Tesla Motors was incorporated by Eberhard and Tarpenning, who financed the company until Musk led a Series A round and joined in an operational role. Tesla’s strategy to commercialize electric vehicles, starting with a premium sports car and then moving into more mainstream vehicles. The company is expected to deliver over 350,000 vehicles in 2019.

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WhatsApp, San Jose, CA (2009)

Founders: Brian Acton, Jan Koum (both from Yahoo!)

WhatsApp, a cross-platform, instant messaging and social media application for smartphones that launched on the App Store in 2009, was funded by Sequoia Capital in 2011 and acquired by Facebook as the largest-ever purchase of a venture-backed company in 2014.

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Instagram, San Francisco, CA (2010)

Founders: Kevin Systrom, Mike Krieger (both from Burbn)  

With seed funding from Baseline Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz, Instagram, an online mobile photo-sharing site that enabled users to take pictures and share them through social networking platforms such as Facebook, was launched as a free mobile app in 2010. Facebook acquired the service for approximately $1 billion in cash and stock in 2012.

Niantic, San Francisco, CA (2010)

Founder: John Hanke (Keyhole) 

Formed to develop mobile applications as a startup within Google, Niantic found success with augmented reality games including Ingress and Pokémon Go published in partnership with Nintendo. Google, Nintendo and others invested in the company after it was spun out in 2015.

Uber Technologies, San Francisco, CA (2010)

Founders: Travis Kalanick (Red Swoosh), Garrett Camp (StumbleUpon)

Uber is an online transportation network company that develops and operates an app that allows users to request a trip using a smartphone and automatically summons the driver nearest to the consumer.  As of 2017 the service was available in over 66 countries. Investors include Google, Chinese search engine Baidu, and Toyota.

Pinterest, San Francisco, CA (2011)

Founders: Paul Sciarra, Evan Sharp (Facebook), Ben Silbermann (Google)

Pinterest is a web and mobile application that supports a photo sharing website that the company describes as a “catalog of ideas.” Japanese ecommerce company Rakuten led a $100 million investment in Pinterest, alongside venture investors, including Andreessen Horowitz.

Snap, Stanford, CA (2011)

Founders: Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, Reggie Brown (all from Stanford University)

Snapchat is a mobile application developed as a graduate student assignment at Stanford University for creating multimedia messages called “snaps” consisting of a photo or a short video that is explicitly short-lived and self-deleting. KPCB invested in the company in 2014. Under the name Snap Inc., the company based in Venice, California, went public 2017.


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