NEW YORK -- In tough economic times, it’s not very often you see a semiconductor company come on the scene and be a viable competitor. Touchstone Semiconductor, which “touched down” on the electronics industry just two years ago as a second-source supplier, is an analog company with staying power.
And its president and chief executive, Brett Fox, intends to keep it that way. How? It’s simple, he said. “Our vision all along has been to go after anything and everything in the signal path. If we can add value, do something different, we will do it.”
Indeed, there’s a huge market opportunity with worldwide analog market estimated to reach more than $43 billion in annual sales this year, according to Databeans. Garnering just 2, 3 or 4 percent market share and well, Fox could easily have an analog concern with clout. So much so, that it could eventually be ripe for an initial public offering. “We didn’t start this company to flip it,” Fox stressed.
The company doesn’t reveal sales, nor would it provide sales growth figures. But Fox noted that the Touchstone is backed by some hard-hitting investors, who have given Touchstone some early credibility.
Silicon Valley venture capital firms Opus Capital and Khosla Ventures infused $12 million to help launch the company in 2010.
In fact, Gil Cogan, one of its VCs who helped fund the deal, was one of the original investors in Maxim Integrated Products, the analog power house, Fox said.
Fabless Touchstone (Milpitas, Calif.), however, seems to be gathering power of its own. Last month alone, the company recently announced the TS12001 voltage detector, which combines a 0.58V reference and a resettable latched comparator in a single package. And 0.9µW operational amplifier (op amp), comparator and voltage reference in one IC. This 10-fold reduction in power consumption and operation down to 0.8V enables always-on, single-cell operation that was not previously possible. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. is Touchstone’s manufacturing partner.
But there are still plenty of holes to fill in Touchstone’s product portfolio in order to avoid becoming what Fox calls a “one category” company. Along with amplifiers and voltage detectors, Touchstone also provides timers and is a second-source supplier for Maxim’s analog products. What’s lacking? A/D and D/A converters, as well as interface ICs and power management chips, Fox said.
He also plans to grow the company’s presence in China.
With its skilled engineering team that averages 20 years of experience and 10 patents, the task of becoming a high-performance, low-power analog leader isn’t out of reach.Either way, Fox is determined to take Touchstone in that direction.