Santa Clara University

Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

CIE Advisory Board Profile

Jack Balletto Founder & Managing Member

Sunrise Capital Funds 

Jack Balletto, a 37-year Silicon Valley veteran, is a respected venture investor and entrepreneur. Balletto received master’s and bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Santa Clara, and in 2002 was honored by the University as one of its distinguished engineering graduates.  

His career began at Lockheed where he worked in the microwave/ECM (electronic countermeasure) field. He then joined Fairchild Semiconductor in 1969. After Fairchild and a short stint at Ricoh Electronics, Balletto co-founded his first semiconductor company – Synertek – with two associates from Fairchild Semiconductor. Synertek became a major factor in the advent of both the video game and the PC industries. The company was successfully acquired by Honeywell in 1978. 

At his second startup, VLSI Technology, Balletto was a founder and its first CEO. In 1983, 26 months after its first and only venture round, VLSI had an IPO which raised over $60 million. VLSI was largely responsible for launching the EDA, foundry, and ASIC industries. After a 20-year existence as one of the Valley’s most innovative companies, VLSI was acquired by Philips Semiconductor in 1999.  

After co-founding two vertically integrated semiconductor companies and spending twenty years in a variety of operating roles in the semiconductor and microwave industries, Balletto launched his career in venture capital.  He worked in Hambrecht & Quist's (H&Q) venture capital group where he was involved with joint ventures in Japan, London, and Australia. He also sourced the first financing round for Xilinx to H&Q and later sponsored a capital equipment company, ATEQ, whose scanning laser lithography machines are now responsible for producing a significant percentage of the reticles printed in the United States. Eventually the company was acquired by Applied Materials. In 1996 he formed the first of three Sunrise Capital funds. 

Mr. Balletto earned his Master’s ('67) and Bachelor’s ('62) degrees in Electrical Engineering from Santa Clara University.   

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