SAN FRANCISCO -- Amid an expansion plan, R&D service provider Intermolecular Inc. is mulling plans to float an initial public offering (IPO).
The company is also hiring, expanding into a new building and entering new markets. In an interview at Semicon West here, David Lazovsky, Intermolecular’s president and CEO, said the company is looking at an IPO ''within the next 12 to 24 months.''
Lazovsky did not elaborate on the proposed IPO, although he said demand for the company’s services is booming. The San Jose-based company provides a range of R&D services using specialized equipment. It delivers a so-called High Productivity Combinatorial (HPC) technology products and services that enable customers in the semiconductor and clean energy sectors to maximize their R&D ROI.
The company saw double-digit growth in 2009 despite the downturn. Demand for its services is ''beyond our expectations'' in 2010, he said.
The IC industry still pours billions of dollars annually into R&D. But in recent years, as costs have skyrockted, chip makers have been outsourcing more of their R&D requirements to consortia, silicon foundries and third-party vendors. Some observers fear the trends portend a distant scenario in which the vast majority of chip makers cease R&D.
Originally, Intermolecular focused on the semiconductor business. At present, the company is working with various chip makers in the areas of high-k, next-generation memories and other segments. More recently, the company has expanded into solar.
To meet demand, the company plans to expand its workforce from 140 employees right now, to 160 people, he said. Responding to rapid growth, Intermolecular will relocate to a larger headquarters facility in San Jose in early 2011.
The new facility provides more than 140,000 square feet of office and lab space, offering a 300 percent increase in cleanroom space. The new facility will include a dedicated energy lab to facilitate the accelerated development of various photovoltaic and energy-related technologies.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.