ATHENS, Greece Intellectual-property licensing company On Demand Microelectronics GmbH is seeking venture capital investment in an effort to become a silicon supplier.
"We need $20 million to go fabless,” Ronald Lintner, On Demand’s chief financial officer, disclosed during a “Meet the Money” VC pitching panel at the European Technology Roundtable Exhibition (ETRE) here Sunday (Oct. 16).
A spinoff of Analog Devices, Inc. On Demand has completed a silicon design of its Vector Signal Processor (VSP) and will “tape out by next March,” Lintner told the audience of technology and investment executives. He explained that it wants to "produce our own product as an IC” to position itself for growth by moving as quickly as possible from being a supplier of IP core architectures to a fabless silicon company.
"We want to have our own chip,” Lintner said.
The company is working with three foundries and will tape out its design as part of a multiproject wafer. Linter did not disclose the names of the target foundries or details of the VSP’s silicon geometry.
The VC investment would be used to accelerate On Demand’s market shift to the fabless model.
Despite some skepticism from a panel of investors who grilled Lintner on the wisdom of entering the crowded HDTV silicon market, the CFO claimed the company has a unique architectural approach and a two-and-a-half-year road map to share with potential investors.
On Demand is targeting the fast-growing HDTV market with its VSP technology based on a scalable VLIW architecture. The VSP can be programmed using single-instruction, multiple-path commands to minimize program memory. It also uses multiple-instruction, multiple-path commands to guarantee full use of all parallel-processing units at all times. Designers can also configure the width of the data path to suit the accuracy of the application.
In July, On Demand (Vienna, Austria) said it was pitching its vector processor as a platform architecture that could be configured and scaled to the requirements of a variety of digital TV chips. "The key value we bring is the ability to provide our customers with architecture for a specific application that can be customized before tapeout," said Rumman Syed, director of business development at On Demand. At the time, it had reportedly signed up two IP licensees to use its technology.