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THE SILICON REVIEW: 50 LEADING COMPANIES OF 2018

Daniel Nenni

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Staff member
Founded in 2010, Fractal Technologies is a privately held company that provides QA software to improve its clients’ productivity by checking consistency and validating all different data formats used in their design. The company realized the need for IP validation as part of the chip design flow.

With moving to new technology production node, the need for a commercial tool for IP validation increased as maintaining internal tools and scripts is not core business for chip design companies. QA and IP validation of such IP blocks historically have always been done by internal developed scripts and tools developed by chip design companies because no commercial tool was available on the market. Hence the company was born for this purpose.

The company is headquartered in Los Gatos, California, USA with Customer support Offices in Austin (Texas, USA), Grenoble (France) and Yokohama (Japan) and development site in Ospel(Netherlands).

Ahead Of Challenges, Lie Opportunities

The first and the biggest challenge for a small company to grow is the myth that lies in the industry where companies are generally reluctant to invest or work with a small startup. Fractal Technologies also had fallen prey of this notion. The other challenge for the company was that every company would say that their internal tool does the job and they don’t need external tool/script for it.

To overcome these challenges, any startup needs to believe in their own product otherwise it is very difficult to convince potential buyers. Focus and commitment at the end of the day will make the difference. The companies must deliver what they promise and they should never commit to anything they cannot deliver.

The First Step is the Most Important One

Fractal Technologies worked first for a US-based company. The company had an urgent need of an IP validation solution and did not want to develop an internal tool/script. The company was willing to work with Fractal Technologies as it believed in the company’s approach and commitment to make this work. As part of the initial cooperation, the company was willing to accept a 3 year TBL license and pay all 3 year upfront. This provided Fractal the working capital to start building the company.

Success Comes To Those Who Dare and Will

The initial years were difficult for the company. It was not easy to convince the clients to use the company’s Crossfire tool suite when they already had a solution that worked in the past years. It was challenging to convince them why it was required to replace internal tools with the company’s IP validation solution. But Fractal Technologies never stopped trying and now it has a huge customer base that includes 50% of the top 20 semiconductor companies. Its existing customer base is a testimonial that its IP validation is accepted as the right way to move forward.

The secret behind success is to never be convinced that the performance is good enough! One needs to always strive for better and always try to achieve to the best of capabilities. “Never assume your customer or staff is happy unless you asked and got confirmation,” quotes Rene Donkers, Founder and CEO of Fractal Technologies. A company must understand the importance of feedback. Fractal gives the entire credit for its success to its workforce.

Products and Services

Crossfire:
Crossfire is a product by Fractal Technologies that reports mismatches or modeling errors for Libraries and IP that can seriously delay an IC design project. The increasing number of components from different suppliers and the number of process corners that need to be covered lead to an explosion in both data-volume and data-variety. Crossfire can help in achieving a working design within a predictable flow by ensuring that every design step is validated and every imported IP-component is qualified. Crossfire helps CAD teams and IC designers achieving a high quality of design data in a short time.

Additional text about Crossfire:

Crossfire Usability Features:
Graphical setup creation, run environment, and batch run support

  • Powerful hierarchical configuration language supporting macro functions
  • Automatic setup generation
  • API
  • Viewing and Debugging
  • Waiving mechanism
  • Reporting
  • Transport (QA deck)

Future Prospects

Fractal wants to grow its position at its existing customers and the overall IP market to consolidate its de-facto certification standard position. The company is coming up with a new project by July 2019. Product specification is discussed and written together with a couple of its major customers.

“We are the first company in the market with a commercial tool for IP validation and we deliver what we promise.”
 
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