Silicon Catalyst is a unique startup incubator / accelerator that focuses exclusively on accelerating solutions in silicon (including chips, IP, MEMS & sensors). The organization has an extensive support infrastructure that includes preferred access to IP, design tools, business infrastructure and fab/assembly. They also provide a broad network of industry advisors and access to investment capital. In short, everything a silicon-based startup needs to get off the ground as quickly and efficiently as possible. We’ve covered many aspects of this special organization on SemiWiki. You can catch up on the buzz here. Read on for the details of how Silicon Catalyst is bringing its unique startup platform to the UK.
For those of us who live and work in Silicon Valley, it’s easy to believe all silicon startups start here. In fact, there is ground-breaking work going on around the world. A recent press announcement detailing the newly admitted companies to the Silicon Catalyst accelerator drove home this point.
Relevant questions include why the UK? And why now? Silicon Catalyst held a press briefing before the announcement that answered these, and many more questions. As for why the UK, some points were offered, below. I have added my own comments in parenthesis:
- Tremendous semiconductor talent recognized globally (remember Arm started in Cambridge)
- Top universities recognized globally (OK, we’ve all heard of Cambridge and Oxford)
- A history of innovation in semiconductor solutions (the UK leads the world in compound semiconductor development)
- An increasing number of UK startups have found Silicon Catalyst and applied to the accelerator (Trameto/Wales, Salience Labs/Oxford are currently in the program)
As for why now, I think the answer is clear. Moore’s Law is slowing – migration to the next process node is still important but a lot more is needed to keep things moving at the typical exponential pace. Hyper-convergent design solutions are the way forward. The intersection of multiple technologies in a dense and highly advanced package. Fueling this kind of innovation means new technology and new architectures. This is where startups make significant contributions and the support provided by Silicon Catalyst is making a big impact on the whole ecosystem – my opinion. To wrap up these questions, Silicon Catalyst explained that there are three new In-Kind Partners joining from the UK. These are the folks who provide all the support mentioned previously. They are: Agile Analog, SemiWise and SureCore.
Heading SiliconCatalyst.UK are Dr. Ron Black and Sean Redmond, both experienced semiconductor executives with international experience and a strong connection to the United Kingdom. Ron Black’s credentials include:
- CEO Imagination Technologies
- CEO Rambus
- CEO Mobiwire
- CEO & Chmn UPEK
- CEO Wavecom
Sean Redmond’s credentials include:
- CEO Vertizan Limited
- Vice Chmn ElecTech – UK
- VP Arc
- VP EMEA Cadence
- VP & GM EU Verisity
Clearly these two gentlemen have the background and experience to build a strong Silicon Catalyst presence in the UK. I had the opportunity to chat with Sean Redmond a bit. Sean has experience working with the UK government and so understands what’s needed to ignite a higher level of innovation in the region. Visibility, support and promotion of the UK’s substantial innovation assets will be important in his view. Silicon Catalyst brings the right resources and focus to help. He described a new funding program from the UK government to fuel innovation – this will fit well with the startup incubation provided by Silicon Catalyst. There is a memorable comment from Sean: “The bedrock of technology development is semiconductor”. I couldn’t agree more.
The press release announcing the UK expansion provides more background on the new operation. Noteworthy are the organizations that weigh in with supportive comments; the list includes Arm, STMicroelectronics, Synopsys and Real Ventures. Silicon Catalyst has substantial support across the semiconductor ecosystem.
The Silicon Catalyst UK organization will be hosting a webinar for start-ups, university staff, investors, and potential in-kind partners on Wednesday, June 23, 2021. The webinar will feature presentations by Vaysh Kewada, CEO of Salience Labs in Cambridge and Huw Davies, CEO of Trameto in Wales, both UK companies in the Silicon Catalyst incubator, as well as other Silicon Catalyst partners and guest speakers. I encourage you to attend this webinar to learn more about how Silicon Catalyst is bringing its unique startup platform to the UK. Registration details will be available shortly, watch their website. For those of you that are part of (or know of) a semiconductor startup, Silicon Catalyst’s application deadline for their next screening cycle is July 2, 2021 – further details at their website.