After looking at various aspects of this company, to sum up, I couldn’t find any better statement than this; thoughtful management here is actually leadership with passion which achieves tangible results. This reflects in the methodology of doing things in this company which has given it a place among top EDA companies in a span of 12+ years; amid so many macroeconomic uncertainties during that time. Of course, the CEO and the top management of the company have spent many more years in this industry and are well known. You must have guessed it right from the picture; I am talking about Atrenta, or better I should say, SPYGLASS!
[Dr. Ajoy K. Bose along with Sushil Gupta and his staff at the Ribbon cutting ceremony at Atrenta, Noida]
On this Monday, 19[SUP]th[/SUP] Aug, I attended the inauguration ceremony of Atrenta’s expanded new facility at Noida and had an opportunity to talk to Dr. Ajoy K. Bose, CEO of Atrenta. Seeing Atrenta’s success in the SoC Realization arena, I had certain queries, or rather some assumptions in my mind; those were cleared during my talk with Ajoy. From this conversation, one can easily make out that the above statement holds true.
[Sushil Gupta, V.P. and MD at Atrenta, Noida lighting the auspicious lamp]
The Conversation –
Q: Your Noida centre has grown to about 200 people, the largest R&D centre in this beautiful, world-class, spacious facility. Of course there would be several reasons to invest in Noida, but tell me one prominent, compelling reason to invest in India, Noida.
This goes back to my initial days in early 1990 when I Joined Cadence and got involved with their India operation which had about 20 people at that time. It was then that I learned about power of Indian engineering. We had a shortage of talent in EDA R&D at that time, and we found that the kind of expertise and competence Indian engineers possessed, their attitude, willingness to learn and do, software development skills, process adherence, quality consciousness etc. were the right fit for us. And that is continuing today. Now the second part – why Noida? That is because of grooming of people around this region into our domain since then and availability of fresh talent.
[Ajoy addressing the staff at a communications meeting]
Q: What are your major product developments in Noida?
At Noida we have our largest development centre; we have almost all of our products being developed here except a few. We have a team in Grenoble, France; they are experts in formal verification and power. Last year we acquired NextOp and they brought us a team in Shanghai that created an assertion-based verification solution. Recently, we have set up a team in Colombo, Sri Lanka too.
Q: Yes, I’d heard about your Sri Lanka initiative. That’s leading by example; I guess no other EDA company is there in Sri Lanka. So, what made you think of Sri Lanka?
There are couple of aspects – I knew some of the best brains and enthusiastic people from Sri Lanka in my career, those people were influencers. Then, the undergraduate courses in universities there are very strong in science and mathematics and the skills required in our kind of industry. And then, proximity of Sri Lanka with India, that plays a vital role in working of the two teams together; the two cultures also assimilate easily.
Q: Now coming towards business side; I see that there are about 350 employees and 200+ customers at Atrenta. So, I guess the employee to customer ratio is quite low?
Yes, but it should not be looked at from that ratio perspective. We have a sufficient number of people to serve our customers well. Field AEs are available where required. The number depends upon the nature of the product. For example, the RTL physical product requires more AEs than we do in other SpyGlass products. And then it depends on size of the business, and the state of maturity of the product too. It’s a time varying phenomenon; we have a flexible organization which is optimized as required.
Q: My other query is related to employees; I see that 75% of work population is in R&D. How do you compare this with the rest of the industry?
Yes, we are high on R&D. We invest in developing new products. We have about 10 products developed in-house and we have been successful in doing that.
Q: So, how do you see the revenue per employee?
We are quite profitable there; R&D costs are very much optimized. We are flexible here. Mature products need less new R&D while new product development requires more initial investment.
Q: That’s quite impressive business leadership. On the technical side, I see that your organization has 49 patents (23 granted, 26 pending). Are all of these productized well? What is the average lead time?
Yes, we have all of these innovations integrated into products; we consciously invest in that. Often, it takes about a year or even two to conceptualize an idea along with some partner customers and then the usual product life cycle takes place. So, it takes about 4 to 5 years to make a full-blown product.
Q: I see that your concentration is on SoC Realization at the RTL level. There are other companies also offering products in that space. So, what is your POD (Point of Differentiation)?
We provide the most complete coverage at the RTL level. These are not used as point tools, although they are best-in-class in their capabilities. We provide a complete solution; SPYGLASS is a complete sign-off platform at the RTL level.
Q: Considering the overall flow from RTL to GDS, are you also focusing on POP (Point of Parity)?
There we cover all aspects of the complete flow, from micro architecture creation to modelling the physical implementation, but we abstract all that to the RTL level. Our theme is to complete the major job at the RTL level and hence save cost in detailed chip design and manufacturing.
Q: SPYGLASS is one of the top EDA products. You must be putting conscious effort towards branding it?
Yes, in DAC 2012 we initiated a major promotion of this brand and the effort is continuing. People know us more by SPYGLASS than Atrenta!
This was a very nice conversation with Ajoy. To conclude on my views, I believe that this company has all that is needed by a top class, productively expanding company. That is, a strong and flexible organization, business leadership, technology leadership and IP leadership. With presence in 11 countries across the world, Atrenta is the largest privately held EDA Company.
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