As an early-stage start-up company, Mosaic Microsystems worked hard to navigate the Covid-19 pandemic. Our #1 goal was to keep our employees safe. Fortunately, we had recently closed a $2.25M seed investment from BlueSky Capital and Corning Incorporated, received a Phase II Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant from the National Science Foundation, and a Phase I SBIR award from the Air Force (AFWERX). These helped us to navigate the uncertainties brought on by the constraints caused by COVID-19.
We also saw some interesting market dynamics created by the pandemic. Early on, we saw an increase in requests as some companies worked to re-shore some products. Conversely, we saw a number of development activities significantly delayed as our customers had difficulty getting into their cleanrooms to process wafers. Activities that would normally take 1-2 months were now taking more than 6 months. There were a few instances where some projects were canceled as customers focused on existing products and often needed to re-align resources to make products with reduced staffing, and/or managing facility shutdowns.
Many of us shifted to working full time from home, but as an essential business, our cleanroom remained open following all CDC guidelines, and we were able to continue driving the technical development critical to bringing our products to market. We were able to establish new capabilities, such as introducing 300 mm capability to Mosaic’s portfolio and progressed well in our work with the Department of Defense. The funding mentioned above, and customer sales allowed us not only to maintain full staffing levels but also add a key employee.
While the summer months were quiet on the commercial side, we have seen an increase in activity as fall and winter approach and people are beginning to gain confidence with vaccines on the horizon. In the end, Mosaic will emerge from this pandemic stronger than it started.