VeriSilicon's strengths lay in its foundry neutrality (VeriSilicon works with SMIC, IBM, Grace Semiconductor, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Globalfoundries); in its speedy design work (Dai claims that the company tapes out one chip a week and can ramp up one product a month); and in its turnkey service for custom silicon solutions.
It also provides a SoC/SiP platform-based IP portfolio.
Ever since it acquired ZSP division from LSI logic in 2006, VeriSilicon has leveraged an embedded DSP core to offer single-core HD audio solutions and a suite of certified HD audio software. Dai claims that more than 50 percent of standalone Blu-ray players are ZSP-based. VeriSilicon’s SoC platforms range from multimedia (HD audio) to wireless (3G/4G/WiMax/LTE/TD-LTE) to speech.
Its other claim to fame is Hantro Video IP. The Finnish video hardware manufacturer of video for mobile devices is now a part of Google, which selected VeriSilicon to be strategic partner for Hantro IP.
VeriSilicon now finds itself in a position to integrate, customize and support Hantro Video IP for both chip customers and systems companies through IP licensing or turnkey service, said Dai. Under the Google partnership, VeriSilicon has already licensed Hantro Video IP to 25 semiconductor companies including several top chip makers.
Dai’s ambition for VeriSilicon doesn't stop at multimedia apps-centric SoC/SiP platforms. It is diversifying into new areas ranging from RF-related platforms for a LED lamp controller SoC to mixed signal platforms for power line communication and network over coaxial cable. SoCs for apps like smart sensors and meters are also being targeted.
Wayne Dai in his corner office at VeriSilicon in Shanghai
Dai, who knows China and Silicon Valley inside out, strives to build his company by combining the best of the both worlds. Hence, VeriSilicon is by no means your typical China fabless vendor, nor is it a "one trick pony" but rather a business built to “be scalable with its flexible turnkey business model,” Dai said. While building a large IP portfolio, the company also hopes to make its business “repeatable” based on application-centric SoC platforms, he added.
VeriSilicon has already gone through five rounds of funding and could go public in 2013. Nowhere near as big as Marvell Semiconductor, co-founded by Dai’s sister, Weili, Wayne Dai’s ambitions remain big. For example, VeriSilicon’s Shanghai office recreates the huge aquarium in Marvell’s spacious Santa Clara lobby. The difference is that VeriSilicon’s aquarium consists of four large LCD panels, and all the tropical fish are virtual.
Comparing this to his sister’s aquarium, Dai chuckled and said, “Obviously, this isn’t as big as the fish tank at Marvell. But then, we don’t have to feed the fish.”
Or clean up after them, either.
Related links and stories:
-New Semi Model: Fabless and Designless
-Awinic, China fabless, flourishes by mimicking Huawei work ethic
-Apexone: Here comes muPad from Shanghai
-How Leo Li led Spreadtrum’s turnaround
-Four reasons why its 'game over' for foreign chip firms in China