SAN JOSE, Calif. – The hard-scrabble struggles of a startup are the challenges that energize Sir Robin Saxby. The retired co-founder of ARM Ltd. is back in the startup world, sharing lessons learned as he picks up a lifetime achievement award this week from the Global Semiconductor Alliance.
“Typically I am doing a little bit of investing, but I am really driven by the incubation [of small companies] and the idea of [emerging] technologies,” said Saxby in a telephone interview with EE Times from his home in England.
“As a company becomes more successful that means more quarterly earnings statements and responsibilities and so on, but for me personally it’s the incubation I love,” he said.
Saxby is currently working with a handful of small companies including Plessey Semiconductors, a veteran U.K. chip maker and the first ARM licensee. Plessey recently completed a management buy out to remake itself as a supplier of gallium nitride process technology for sensors.
He is also involved with Sontia (Sheffield, U.K.), a startup that licenses phase-shifting DSP audio software. In addition, he works with Ideaworks (London), a software development startup.
“These companies are like ARM was years ago--mean and lean, but they have a little cash,” he said.
“It’s good to be in touch with the kids,” said Saxby who turned 65 this
year. “I tell them, I did this and so can you—you need to encourage
people not to give up."