This is obviously great news for SilabTech, and this is the type of news which will change the perception that we (non-Indian) have of the Semiconductor industry in India. About 15-20 years ago, the India Embedded/VLSI industry was perceived as low cost design resource pool, a good place where to implement design center. The hidden insinuation was that decision power was located in western countries… This is still probably true for multinational companies, except that the cost is no more the main criteria why to rely on India based design center, as the quality of experienced designers is now the major reason to relocate design operation in India!
If we look at the winners list of the Mentor Graphics(R) Leadership Awards for the Embedded/VLSI Industry, we see that only Qualcomm and Microchip (two out of seven) are multinational (the full list at the end of this post):
The winners for this year, by category, are:
— Best VLSI/ Embedded Design — Automotive:
— Best VLSI/ Embedded Design — Consumer Electronics:
— Best VLSI/ Embedded Design — Defense/Aerospace:
— Best VLSI/ Embedded Design — Telecom/Networking:
— Best VLSI/ Embedded Design Company from the Sub-Continent:
— Best Electronic System Design Company — Multinational:
— Best Electronic System Design Company — Startup:
It’s to be noticed that the panel of judges are eminent business leaders:
Sanjay Nayak, CEO & MD,Tejas Networks;
Krishna Moorthy K, MD – India Design Center, Rambus Chip Technologies;
Santhanakrishnan Raman, Managing Director, LSI India R & D;
Guru Ganesan, President & MD, ARM-India Operations;
Dr. S. Jabez Dhinagar, VP – Advanced Engineering Group, TVS Motors;
and Sunil Thamaran, Managing Director-Cypress India.
These judges are mostly coming from multinational companies like Rambus Chip Technology, LSI Logic, ARM or Cypress: their decision to select a majority of India based design companies (and not multinational R&D subsidiaries) is a clear sign that times are changing. Indian semiconductor ecosystem is moving from low cost design service area it was in the 1990’s to a country of entrepreneur, starting Design IP or Electronic System companies, as it appears to be today. Who say this? Walden C. Rhines, CEO and chairman, Mentor Graphics: “These award-winners showcase India’s rich resource of electronic design talent,” “This talent, combined with a spirit of innovation and a strong entrepreneurial drive, is what makes India an exciting place for the electronic information future,” said Walden C. Rhines, CEO and Chairman, Mentor Graphics.
If we come back to SilabTech example, the company has been built around a team of very experienced analog designers, involved in PLL and High Speed SerDes IP. SilabTech is still in start-up mode, although not involved into a start-up “gambling model” where you create a company and staff it as fast as possible as the goal is a fast exit through acquisition. SilabTech is targeting the long term development, investing wisely when needed: the first Interface IP (USB 3.0, PCIe gen-3, MIPI M-PHY to name a few) have been developed in 28nm technology. Because Silicon proven IP is a must have for such advanced nodes supporting expensive chip development, SilabTech has implemented these IP in a Test Chip (first and third above pictures), so they can claim having Silicon Proven IP. This is everything but a low cost strategy! SilabTech is currently developing a 12,5 Gbps SerDes to be released to Silicon soon…
Times are changing and India based design companies (not only design services companies) are emerging, like SilabTech, following a start-up model closer to US than to China, using VC money rather than money coming from government. The next step will be the emergence of India based Fabless semiconductor, no doubt that we will see fabless coming soon to join this dynamic ecosystem.
To read the full PR on the Wall Street Journal, go here
Semiwiki readers already know about SilabTech… remember this article