The top 50: Faran Nouri, managing director, Lam Capital

Faran Nouri is vice-president of strategic development at Lam Research and a founding member of Lam Capital, the corporate venturing arm of the US-based wafer fabrication equipment company. She joined Lam Research in 2014 when the firm was looking to set up an investment unit.

Nouri’s initial responsibilities included drawing up Lam Capital’s vision and mission and specifying the areas of investment of strategic relevance to the parent company. She set up fund structure, developed investment processes, approval committee, governance and accountability system, and hired investment professionals globally.

Today, the unit invests in early-stage companies developing technologies in areas including semiconductor ecosystem, industry 4.0, AI for manufacturing – primarily focusing on seed, series A and B investments ranging from $1m to $5m per round.

Among Lam Capital’s current portfolio companies are Antheia, a developer of affordable, plant-based medicines;, a predictive intelligence platform transforming industrial products and processes; additive manufacturing firm Fabric8Labs; and, an analogue in-memory compute company for accelerating edge AI.

The unit has recently achieved exits in Omniome, a proprietary DNA sequencing platform which was acquired by Pacific Biosciences in September 2021, and Reno Subsystems, a process control developer for the semiconductor industry, the latter having been bought by Dutch manufacturer ASM International in March 2022. Another former investee company, metal printing company Velo 3D, had its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange in September 2021.

Nouri has an engineering background with a bachelor’s and a master’s degrees in electrical and electronics engineering from University of Colorado Boulder. She began her career as an engineer, first at Hewlett-Packard Labs and TMA – a startup spun out of Stanford University – before moving into the semiconductor capital equipment sector.