Austin-area semiconductor facilities — such as the ones run by Samsung and NXP Semiconductors — rely on millions of dollars worth of equipment to churn out computer chips that are used in everything from your laptop to your car.
When that high-tech equipment breaks down, it can create major headaches for chipmakers, as ordering new equipment and getting it on hand can take many months.
One potential option is used equipment, but navigating the market for used can be tricky. That’s where Moov, a startup based in Austin and Tempe, Arizona, is looking to make its mark.
Moov operates a software marketplace and asset management platform that matches sellers of pre-owned semiconductor manufacturing equipment with potential buyers. Moov was co-founded in 2017 in San Francisco by CEO Steven Zhou. The company relocated to Tempe last year and last month announced that it would open a second headquarters in Austin.
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Raymond Mahon, Moov’s director of customer success, will head the Austin office and Sammy Mustafa, the company’s partner development manager, will lead the expansion of sales in the region.
Moov’s expansion comes as the semiconductor industry is navigating a number of challenges. Globally, a chip shortage is affecting the availability of the technology needed to power everything from phones to dishwashers. At the same time, tech companies are looking to make unprecedented levels of investment in the U.S., including in Texas.
“What we’re seeing now is chips are the new oil,” Zhou said. “There’s almost like an arms race between the US Canada and all these other global powers on bringing manufacturing back domestically. We’re very lucky to be caught in the center of that.”
Zhou said it’s a time of “unlimited demand” for semiconductor equipment. At the same time, the timeline for new equipment deliveries has gone from months to years, leading more companies to look to the used equipment market to get the parts and equipment they need.
“We’re trying to serve that demand by using our software and our people to unearth more latent supply overall,” Zhou said.
Zhou said chipmaking companies buy equipment year after year for billions of dollars, but the pace of innovation means companies are often upgrading the equipment every few years.
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Mahon said tech companies that want to sell their equipment don’t want to risk having a competitor buying their cutting edge technology, and they don’t want to sell it directly. As a result, the secondary market is broker-heavy, with multiple brokers for each transaction.
“Imagine you’re trying to buy a house …….