SAN FRANCISCO—Ethernet chip vendor Aquantia Corp. Monday (Oct. 5) announced the closing of $37 million in funding in a Series H round and said that Lip-Bu Tan, CEO of Cadence Design Systems Inc. and founder of venture capital firm Walden International, has joined its board of directors.
Aquantia (San Jose, Calif.), founded in 2005, has raised $199 million over 10 years. The company’s investors include tech heavyweights Intel Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., Xilinx Inc., Globalfoundries Inc. and Venture Tech Alliance, the investment arm of foundry giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. Cisco and Globalfoundries participated in the Series H round, along with Credit Suisse and Walden Riverwood.
Aquantia is the market leader in providing 10GBASE-T chips and also offers a technology called AQrate for enterprise networks. Aquantia is also developing technology for NBASE-T technology for enterprise networking and 802.11ac WIFI.
Cisco has been a strategic investor in Aquantia since 2005, though Monday marked the first time that that relationship had been made public, according to Aquantia.
Aquantia is regarded as the next semiconductor company to be a candidate for an intial public offering (IPO). The Bloomberg news service reported last week that the company may file papers this year for an IPO. Aquantia executives declined to comment on when or if the company will file for an IPO.
Tan, who has served as Cadence president and CEO since 2009, is among the most successful and respected venture capitalists in the Silicon Valley. His firm, Walden International, manages more than $2 billion in investment funds.
In a statement, Tan said the demanding, high-volume market that Aquantia plays in demands superior technology and flawless execution. Aquantia “has delivered consistently ahead of the competition the right products as the right time to become the next networking connectivity leader,” Tan said. “I look forward to helping Aquantia with its worldwide growth strategy.”
Faraj Aalaei, Aquantia's president and CEO.
Faraj Aalaei, Aquantia’s president and CEO, said Tan’s business and technology experience in the semiconductor industry would “provide invaluable insights and direction to Aquantia as we enter new growth markets and accelerate the use of 5 and 2.5 gigabit technology in enterprise networks.”
Aquantia has about 160 employees, most of which are based in Silicon Valley. The company also has development centers in Canada, Russia and India.
Aquantia has had more than 80 patents granted and another 23 pending. The company’s employees had more 200 patents to their credit prior to joining Aquantia. “We’ve got a really dynamic group of employees here working to create technology differentiation,” said Faraj Aalaei, Aquantia’s president and CEO. “What we are trying to do is to take our deep knowledge and all of the brains that are in this company and drive our customers’ roadmap with unique products that are very difficult for our competitors to do.”
Aalaei added that Aquantia is pursuing large markets that require very difficult technology. “We are not about to go and build a processor that everyone else is building with a little bit less power and a little bit smaller die,” Aalaei said. “We want to go after technologies that are truly difficult and multi-disciplinary, because we think that creates sustainable advantage.”
Aquantia is also focused on working with market leaders and making sure that they know who their customers’ customers are, Aalaei said. “If we are going to drive our customers’ roadmap, then we better be talking to their customers,” he said. “If you wait until the customer tells you that they are interested in a particular technology, it’s too late. We have to be the one that goes out there and figures out the trends, figures out how silicon can help, and then provide those proposals to drive our customers’ roadmap. From a business strategy standpoint, that’s what we rally around.”
—Dylan McGrath covers the semiconductor industry for EE Times.