Many people look to me for predictions about changes in the EDA industry and some even talk about predictions that I made 10 years or more ago that are proving to be true. When many of those predictions are first made, people ask what I am drinking, especially those related to ESL and verification. But I have to admit there are other changes that take me by surprise, or perhaps more accurately they were happening right in front of my eyes and I just didn’t notice. One of those changes hit me in the face at DAC this year. It is the way in which the EDA industry itself is changing. The business models, the notions of startups being acquired by the big three as they consolidate the industry to provide front to back flows for the complete design cycles has almost stopped. Those days are over, or at the very least in decline.
At DAC this year, I have been conducting many interviews with small and mid sized EDA companies. Many of these companies have been around for 10 or more years. Companies like Carbon, Jasper, Real Intent, Tanner and companies that we have just started to hear about ICScape, JEDAT and many many more. These are not startups, they do not have acquisition in their immediate plans. They are stable, viable, even mature EDA companies. While I am sure they would not turn down a great offer, they are not looking for it. They are quite happy as they are. Growth for them is good.
So, what changed. Quite simply the EDA industry has become so large that a single company cannot hope to do it all with any reasonable level of competence. Even the big EDA companies need partners to fill in the holes. Open databases and other connectivity mechanisms allow the frameworks to be extended with innovative offerings from the smallest of the small and to have an equal playground to show their unique capabilities. It also changes the mindset of the startups. It is no longer enough to come up with a good idea, find a few paying customers and get bought. They have to think about the long term viability of their offerings, how to grow a business, the expectations of investors, founders and customers. They have to think about creating and growing a company.
I call this the emerging middle class of the EDA industry and I have been talking to many of these companies here on the show floor. Not about their products and new features, but about their experiences along the way, what they have learned and the way in which they see their business changing and growing. It is exciting to hear so many of their stories and I look forward to bring them to you in the coming weeks and months.Brian Bailey
– keeping you covered
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