This looks like a good deal for Lattice. Other than the product, SB has a lot of great FPGA veterans on staff.
I agree with the comment that the math doesn't appear to work out for the VCs, but I do not think we know the full story here.
SB had two fundamental issues, 1) being a startup, and 2) socket life. Lattice solved #1 but in doing so inherited the socket life issue.
SB's niche FPGA business survives mainly on getting designed in (ie., socket wins) to high-volume products such as cell phones. Because cell phones have a short life cycle there's frequent opportunity for a device to get designed out. SB's FPGAs are typically targeted for a 'design out' because the functionality they provide usually gets pulled into a custom chip. In other words, SB FPGAs are a good temporary solution to time-to-market.
Once their investers started to understand the nature of the beast I suppose Lattice started looking like an extension to writing on the wall, and good exit strategy for execs with stock options.
Good point. I had forgotten that that was the total. In view of this, an interesting transaction. Perhaps SiliconBlue simply believed they had reached the limits of what they could accomplish as a small, independent startup.
Perhaps someone more skilled than me in such matters as this can explain how the VCs allowed this to happen. Do the math: someone is going to get disappointed, either the VCs or the staff, considering the offer is not even $5M more than the funding according to my math.
As we unveil EE Times’ 2015 Silicon 60 list, journalist & Silicon 60 researcher Peter Clarke hosts a conversation on startups in the electronics industry. Panelists Dan Armbrust (investment firm Silicon Catalyst), Andrew Kau (venture capital firm Walden International), and Stan Boland (successful serial entrepreneur, former CEO of Neul, Icera) join in the live debate.