Wayne Dai was also a professor of computer engineering at the University of California at Santa Cruz, so nurturing young engineers comes naturally. “Chinese engineers may be green,” Dai said, “but given the best design flows and tools, their energy compensates for their inexperience.”
VeriSilicon's Shanghai Office
Of a total of 380 people at VeriSilcon, 250 of them are now based in Shanghai.
More than 60 percent of VeriSilicon's Chinese engineers have an MS degree or above. They’re armed with an average of seven years of working experience. The majority graduated from one of China’s top 10 universities. To maintain diversity in its workplace, Dai said VeriSilicon’s engineers come from throughout China. “Less than 20 percent of our mainland employees are originally from Shanghai,” Dai explained.
No, this is not in Silicon Valley. It's VeriSilicon’s sun-filled break room in Shanghai..
VeriSilicon’s customer list is also diversified, including top chip companies from Silicon Valley, Asia and Europe along with system OEMs with global brands and startups in China and elsewhere. Its notable designs include: Microsoft Kinect 3-D video sensing device (based on the algorithm developed by Israeli company PrimeSense); MEMS 3-axis accelerometer sensor used by Bosch Sensortec; DTV panel processor SoC for a Japanese flat panel TV company; touch screen SoC for a Taiwan-based supplier; an Ethernet switch for a Chinese customer; and an apps processor SoC for a Tier One U.S. fabless company.
Dai stressed that VeriSilicon is neither “just an IP provider” nor “just labor for hire” company. He takes pride in its ability to provide a “turnkey custom solution service” by using a customer’s spec.
The best example is a 3-D vision processor implemented by using the algorithm and architecture developed using PrimeSense and VeriSilicon IP, including ZSP, 16-b A/D, PLL, LDO and RAM blocks.
PrimeSense’ 3-D video sensing device drives Microsoft Kinect, X-box 360 game console. VeriSilicon also provided PrimeSense with logistical services ranging from packaging to testing and IC manufacturing.
“A new-generation of fabless companies would need to be design lite,” Dai asserted. Case in point is Kinect. Microsoft's projected sales goal was 5 million units, but 8 million units were sold in just 60 days. VeriSilicon worked with SMIC and re-assigned 50 VeriSilicon employees to work in supply chain management to quickly ramp up the sensor chip supply, said Dai. The outcome was a fabless chip company that started with only $9 million. Then VeriSilicon pitched in to help Microsoft meet unexpected consumer demand for Kinect.