Embedded Systems Conference
Breaking News
Oldest First | Newest First | Threaded View
<<   <   Page 2 / 2
User Rank
Re: VC community been away from semiconductor industry?
fayjay   9/18/2013 6:21:20 PM
I value Gary Smith's opinion on the semiconductor industry and how it affects the ancillary industries like semiconductor IP and EDA.

It'd be helpful to be able to read Smith's objections here in the comments section so we can see a discussion. As posted, Smith's comment takes us to a url that wants $500 to read. Come on, Gary!

User Rank
Simon7382   1/10/2014 2:31:43 AM

Whoever wrote this article must have been away from Silicon Valley and its semiconductor industry for a decade or more.

First, it does not take a fortune nowadays (in the context VC type money) to get a fabless semiconductor start-up off the ground. In fact it costs very little, in the range of $1-2M. It is true that to get a semiconductor start-up to the desired liquidity event can take 6-10 years and can cost tens of millions of dollar of venture money. However, the reason is NOT inherent in semiconductor industry. Most of the time it is due to one (or typically more than one) restarts or resets. These, in turn are typically due to either technical problems with the founders' original idea, or, more often, their lack of understanding the target market and its needs and values, as well as problems with execution. Hence, if VCs did a better due diligence (especially better due diligence on the technical and marketing assumptions of the start-up) they could de-risk their semiconductor investment significantly without resorting to "pre-selling" it as recommended by this author. In my experience most VC-s are negligent in technical due diligence, taking the maxim that success depends mostly on the quality of the founders to the extreme. If VC's do not want to take risk then what is their raison d'etre?

Second, as it is pretty well understood in Silicon Valley liquidity events when a large company buys a start-up company much more often than not shortchanges the engineers whose blood and sweat built the start-up the company. Hence, I am pretty convinced that this model, if it becomes the norm, will slowly but surely will kill semiconductor start-ups, as no engineer in his/her right mind want to work 60-70 hour weeks for years solely to enrich the VC-s.

User Rank
Re: Baloney
SiliconValleyEngineer   1/17/2014 12:40:17 PM
I have several things I disagree with what you are saying.

"First, it does not take a fortune nowadays (in the context VC type money) to get a fabless semiconductor start-up off the ground. In fact it costs very little, in the range of $1-2M."

Isn't $1 million to $2 million merely the cost of a few seats of ASIC EDA tools?

It won't even pay for the masks for volume production.


"It is true that to get a semiconductor start-up to the desired liquidity event can take 6-10 years and can cost tens of millions of dollar of venture money."

As an FPGA design person, I shouldn't use FPGA startups as an example, but Tabula has had $200+ million invested, and has existed for 10 years.

As for Archronix Semiconductor, they have had $130 million invested, and has existed for almost 10 years.

Neither have much to show for all that money invested (i.e., big design wins).

Other FPGA startups have all failed in the past 10 years.





User Rank
Re: Baloney
Simon7382   1/18/2014 6:06:16 AM
Well, the differenece in our experience and point of view may be related to the fact that you seem to be a digital engineer and my experience is mostly in the analog/mixed signal area. Design tools are indeed expensive, in the $100k+ area, and you can tape out a chip with a regular maskset and get your 20 wafers for about $120k. So, certainly for $1-2Million a start-up in my area can demonstarte its technology well enough to get a second round funding which enables it to go into production (assuming the technology and the silicon works). Furthemore, I did not argue that all semiconductor start-ups are successful, far from it. If you talk to VC-s they will tell you that only one in ten start-ups is expected to be successful, whether in semiconductors or in any othet field.

<<   <   Page 2 / 2

Top Comments of the Week
Like Us on Facebook

Datasheets.com Parts Search

185 million searchable parts
(please enter a part number or hit search to begin)
EE Life
Frankenstein's Fix, Teardowns, Sideshows, Design Contests, Reader Content & More
Max Maxfield

March 28 is Arduino Day -- Break Out the Party Hats!
Max Maxfield
Well, here's a bit of a conundrum. I just received an email from my chum David Ashton who hails from the "Unfinished Continent" Down Under. David's message was short and sweet; all he said ...

Bernard Cole

A Book For All Reasons
Bernard Cole
1 Comment
Robert Oshana's recent book "Software Engineering for Embedded Systems (Newnes/Elsevier)," written and edited with Mark Kraeling, is a 'book for all reasons.' At almost 1,200 pages, it ...

Martin Rowe

Leonard Nimoy, We'll Miss you
Martin Rowe
Like many of you, I was saddened to hear the news of Leonard Nimoy's death. His Star Trek character Mr. Spock was an inspiration to many of us who entered technical fields.

Rich Quinnell

Making the Grade in Industrial Design
Rich Quinnell
As every developer knows, there are the paper specifications for a product design, and then there are the real requirements. The paper specs are dry, bland, and rigidly numeric, making ...

Special Video Section
After a four-year absence, Infineon returns to Mobile World ...
A laptop’s 65-watt adapter can be made 6 times smaller and ...
An industry network should have device and data security at ...
The LTC2975 is a four-channel PMBus Power System Manager ...
In this video, a new high speed CMOS output comparator ...
The LT8640 is a 42V, 5A synchronous step-down regulator ...
The LTC2000 high-speed DAC has low noise and excellent ...
How do you protect the load and ensure output continues to ...
General-purpose DACs have applications in instrumentation, ...
Linear Technology demonstrates its latest measurement ...
Demos from Maxim Integrated at Electronica 2014 show ...
Bosch CEO Stefan Finkbeiner shows off latest combo and ...
STMicroelectronics demoed this simple gesture control ...
Keysight shows you what signals lurk in real-time at 510MHz ...
TE Connectivity's clear-plastic, full-size model car shows ...
Why culture makes Linear Tech a winner.
Recently formed Architects of Modern Power consortium ...
Specially modified Corvette C7 Stingray responds to ex Indy ...
Avago’s ACPL-K30T is the first solid-state driver qualified ...
NXP launches its line of multi-gate, multifunction, ...
EE Times Senior Technical Editor Martin Rowe will interview EMC engineer Kenneth Wyatt.
Flash Poll