June 16, 2019

Active Layer Parametrics Receives Order from TSRI for ALPro 50 Metrology Tool

Scotts Valley, CA and Hsinchu City, Taiwan, May 23, 2019 - Active Layer Parametrics (ALP), a Silicon Valley semiconductor metrology equipment vendor, has expanded its reach into Asia with the announcement that Taiwan Semiconductor Research Institute (TSRI) of National Applied Research Laboratories (NARLabs) has agreed to purchase ALP’s electrical property depth profiling tool, ALPro 50.

ALP, a Silicon Catalyst Portfolio Company, has developed a novel technology for electrical characterization of thin films. Semiconductor customers continually demand higher performance electronics that require use of new materials in advanced device structures. Complete and high-resolution characterization of such materials are key to cost effective and accelerated development of new generation semiconductor devices. Unlike other measurement techniques, ALP’s Differential Hall Effect Metrology (DHEM) approach and ALPro technology have the capability of providing carrier concentration and mobility depth profiles through thin layers at sub-nm resolution.

“ALPro 50 electrical property depth profiling tool will provide unique information to researchers to support and enhance their semiconductor layer and device development efforts,” said Dr. Kun-Lin Lin, Materials Analysis Division manager of TSRI. “We are happy to be the first group having this capability in Asia and looking forward working with ALP in further development of applications for their novel technology”.

“We are excited that our first customer in Asia is TSRI, an important center committed to promoting cutting edge science and technology,” said ALP CEO Dr. Bulent Basol. “TSRI’s involvement with a wide range of semiconductor materials and devices combined with ALP’s unique technology will enable both parties to develop new measurement recipes leading to a better understanding of device performance/process condition correlations. We are looking forward to working closely with the team at TSRI.”

“The adoption of ALP’s technology by EAG Laboratories, one of the most respected names in materials analysis, which preceded ALP’s engagement with TSRI, served as a validation that this novel technology is a vital capability for leading edge next generation development,” said Dan Armbrust, Co-Founder and Director of Silicon Catalyst. “ALPro 50 electrical property depth profiling tool is truly a game changer and will usher in a new era of precision metrology.”


About ALP

ALP is a Silicon Valley based semiconductor metrology equipment vendor which has developed a technology with the unique capability of measuring and depth profiling all of the critical electrical properties of semiconductor layers. ALProTM product family addresses the critical needs for development of next generation semiconductor processes by enabling high resolution mobility and active dopant measurements. ALP’s DHEM technique is applicable to all semiconductor materials including Si, Ge, SiGe alloys and III-V compounds. For more information, please visit: www.alpinc.net.

About TSRI

TSRI, the new name of National Chip implementation Center (CIC) and National Nano Device Laboratories (NDL) after their consolidation in 2019, provides services of IC design, chip tape-out, wafer manufacturing as well as corresponding R&D on electronic systems and semiconductor nano-devices. TSRI supports advanced research for academia and collaborates with the industry to prototype their innovations, offering a full spectrum of measurement and verification services at both IC and wafer levels. With its world-class faculties and domain expertise, TSRI continuously cultivates highly-qualified human resource for the semiconductor industry and the global technology communities. TSRI aims at becoming a leading semiconductor technology research center for nano- devices, IC design, fabrication, testing, and system prototyping. For more information, please visit: www.tsri.org.tw/main.jsp.

May 30, 2019

Silicon Valley Bank and Silicon Catalyst Establish Strategic Collaboration

Relationship Will Enable Business Growth for Startups and Early-Stage Semiconductor Companies

Santa Clara, CA. - Silicon Catalyst, the world’s only incubator focused exclusively on accelerating solutions in silicon, and Silicon Valley Bank (NASDAQ: SIVB), the bank of the world’s most innovative companies and their investors, announced the establishment of a strategic collaboration for startups and emerging companies in the semiconductor industry.

The collaboration spans multiple levels of involvement between the two companies, as SVB has become the preferred banking partner offered to Silicon Catalyst’s Portfolio companies. The relationship includes the introduction of startup companies in the Incubator to SVB, working with their innovation centers around the world. Incubating companies will also have access to the “Startup Bundle” of services from SVB. Additionally, SVB will be hosting events at their offices in Silicon Valley and their other facilities in high-tech regions of the semiconductor industry to provide the semiconductor ecosystem with valuable insights, observations and solutions from thought leaders in the industry.

“SVB has helped countless semiconductor startups grow over the past three decades, and our collaboration with Silicon Catalyst will help us continue to do so. Silicon Catalyst and SVB are aligned in our vision to support businesses that invent the future,” said  Joseph Restagno, Managing Director, Silicon Valley Bank.

“We welcome Silicon Valley Bank as our preferred banking partner for the companies in our Incubator,” stated Pete Rodriguez, CEO of Silicon Catalyst. “Our Incubating companies have access to world-class advisors, design tools, semiconductor manufacturers, funding sources and marketing acumen needed to successfully launch and grow their businesses. Now, with the addition of SVB, these companies can leverage our relationship with a global banking powerhouse whose rich tradition of enabling innovative companies is without parallel.”


About Silicon Valley Bank

For more than 35 years, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) has helped innovative companies and their investors move bold ideas forward, fast. SVB provides targeted financial services and expertise through its offices in innovation centers around the world. With commercial, international and private banking services, SVB helps address the unique needs of innovators. Learn more at svb.com.

SVB Financial Group is the holding company for all business units and groups©2019 SVB Financial Group. All rights reserved. SVB, SVB FINANCIAL GROUP, SILICON VALLEY BANK, SVB LEERINK, MAKE NEXT HAPPEN NOW and the chevron device are trademarks of SVB Financial Group, used under license. Silicon Valley Bank is a member of the FDIC and the Federal Reserve System. Silicon Valley Bank is the California bank subsidiary of SVB Financial Group.

May 13, 2019 / SemiWiki by Bernard Murphy

Re-energizing Silicon Innovation  

Hardware is roaring back into prominence in technology innovation, from advanced cars to robots, smart homes and smart cities, 5G communication and the burgeoning electronification of industry, medicine and utilities. While software continues to play a role, all of these capabilities depend fundamentally on advances in hardware and particularly novel chip solutions: in sensing, high performance and/or low power compute and communication, AI accelerators and many more functions. Yet amidst this explosive growth, the semiconductor industry has massively consolidated. Fewer and bigger companies do their part to drive innovation but are naturally more risk-averse and more inclined to evolutionary rather than revolutionary advances. Where’s all the real innovation and risk-taking going to come from in this environment?

Thirty to forty years ago, if you could make a convincing case there were plenty of VCs ready to bankroll your venture. As manufacturing costs for advanced processes grew, VCs found the comparably minor capital needs of software ventures much more attractive and steered away from silicon business plans. But designers didn’t stop having ideas or feeling the itch to start new enterprises; they were just stalled by a seemingly insurmountable barrier to entry - raising seed and Series A funding.

Silicon Catalyst Overview Presentation April 2019.jpg

Everyone knew this, but Rick Lazansky wanted to do something about it. Rick is a serial entrepreneur, actively involved in the investment community. He believed the industry needed an incubator to help silicon innovators with good ideas get past this hurdle. Incubators and accelerators are not new concepts but his creation, Silicon Catalyst, makes particular allowance for the special needs of this domain. They provide a pool of seed investors, two years of design tool access, manufacturing and test, access to a wide range of advisors with lots of industry experience and access to a premium group of strategic partners looking for innovations they need. You’ll still have to raise some of your own investment to prove you have skin in the game, but the barrier is now much less daunting.

Before you quit your job, get a second mortgage on the house and tell your significant other that the family will be living with your parents if your venture doesn’t work out, remember that as with any incubator, you’re going to have to do some work to be accepted; I’ll get to that. But first some more detail on that buffet of goodies to which you’ll have access if you cross that hurdle.

Your immediate concern is probably how you manage EDA, IP and design services, MPW, packaging and test costs. Silicon Catalyst has assembled a group of 25+ in-kind partners who will provide 2 years of free or significantly-discounted access to their capabilities and services from the time your clock starts. These include Synopsys for design tools, S2C for emulation, SiFive and Silvaco for IP, TSMC MPWs for prototype manufacturing, Advantest and EAG for test, Mathworks, AWS, Instrinsix, MEMS design and foundry solutions, patent lawyers, even a CFO app – and many more. They cover pretty much everything you’re going to need to create that prototype. These partners see value in this access because they see the portfolio companies as potential new customers.

There are multiple strategic ecosystem partners, including Bosch, On Semiconductor, Soitec and TI Semiconductor; I met the Bosch representative at a recent event. Strategic partners pay close attention to the portfolio companies working in their areas of interest. Bosch knows that that interesting startups have neither bandwidth nor the nerve to approach a company of their size. By being a strategic partner, they can interact with promising ventures very early on during the screening process and react quickly if they see a fit. Others see opportunities in hot areas such as photonics where they see potential to build further demand for their technology.

Among advisors, full disclosure – I’m now an advisor, but they have some really good people too. Just a small sample includes Dave French (past CEO of Cirrus Logic and EVP at NXP), John East (past CEO of Actel Semi), Misha Burich (past CTO and VP at Altera) and Mark Ross, (ex-Cypress Semi EVP & CTO). There are 120+ advisors aligned with Silicon Catalyst, with skills ranging from globalization to manufacturing development, angel investments, MEMS – it’s all on the website.

Investors include Rick himself, Jim Hogan and many of the advisors. There are options for seed money to come from individual investors, also from an ecosystem investor group to which multiple angels can contribute. Angels particularly are attracted by the reduced risk over personal investing. In the personal approach there's a lot of risk and a lot of work for an investor to decide where and how much they should invest. Investing together with others in in a pre-screened group of portfolio companies can look like a pretty attractive proposition. The Silicon Catalyst approach reduces risk all round - for portfolio startups, investors, in-kind and strategic partners.

Silicon Catalyst looks at opportunities from lots of domains and geographies, spanning pre-seed to post-Series-A chip startups. Existing portfolio companies are in analog-based AI, communications, ultra-low power design and others, some in Silicon Valley but also in Canada, Korea and Singapore. From their founding in 2015, they’ve connected to over 250 startups, receiving applications from Europe, India and other locations. There’s now a joint venture in Chengdu, China focused on the power semiconductor ventures and they’re exploring the possibility of another joint venture to assist startups in Israel.

Silicon Catalyst _Driving Innovation_ Slide.jpg

So what’s the catch? Applicants are screened through a rigorous review process; historically, only one out ten makes it through to becoming a portfolio company. That’s so all those supporting individuals and organizations feel they are getting value for their investments in the domains that most interest them. Nick Kepler (COO) told me that even though selection is obviously rigorous, he wants to make sure that each applicant gets value out of the process even if they aren’t selected. Worth remembering even if you’re not sure you are ready. This could be a way to find out what you have to do to tune up your game.

Silicon Catalyst has around 20 companies in the portfolio, they raised their own investment round last year and they’re planning to get to several hundred companies in the portfolio over the next 7-10 years. As a measure of success, they already have portfolio companies who have graduated from the incubator to Series A funding.

OK, I’m obviously biased. But c’mon – when did you last see an idea this exciting for any would-be silicon entrepreneur? If you want to learn more, first click HERE. Also know that upcoming events for their ecosystem members include a Portfolio Company Update (what others call “Demo Day”) and their Semi Industry Forum, both May 30. And for you entrepreneurs, the deadline to apply for the Fall Screening Event is in July. Check out their website to learn about the application process.


April 23, 2019

Bosch helps to cultivate start-up technology for future IoT microchips  

As new mobility, sensors and IoT electronics bring new demands, Bosch is partnering to develop more innovative and impactful semiconductor-centric solutions

  • To foster semiconductor-centric innovations, Bosch is now a strategic ecosystem partner with Silicon Catalyst, the world’s only incubator focused exclusively on accelerating solutions for semiconductor startups.

  • Bosch has been developing and manufacturing semiconductors for more than 45 years.

  • Automation, connectivity and electrification are fueling growth in automotive semiconductors.

  • Bosch is building a 300mm wafer-fab in Dresden (Germany) to strengthen its leadership.

Plymouth, Mich. and Silicon Valley – In order to facilitate innovation and bring its expertise in semiconductor manufacturing and validation, Bosch has become a strategic ecosystem partner with Silicon Catalyst, a global start-up incubator headquartered in Silicon Valley focused exclusively on semiconductor-centric innovations and solutions. Through this collaboration, Bosch engages with early stage, innovative startups focused on creating higher performing, intelligent and power-efficient solutions in silicon, targeting future mobility, sensing and IoT applications.

“We are extremely pleased to be working with Bosch, as they are an industry leader bringing together comprehensive expertise in vehicle technology and offering complete mobility solutions that include hardware, software and services,” said Pete Rodriguez, CEO of Silicon Catalyst. “The number of connected vehicles on the road is greatly increasing, creating unique opportunities for innovation, especially for semiconductor solutions.”

The Silicon Catalyst ecosystem includes industry-leading companies as in-kind partners, expert advisors and investors specialized in semiconductors. The focus is guiding advancements in silicon from idea to prototype to product. Already more than 250 startup companies have engaged with Silicon Catalyst since April 2015.

Semiconductors – the heart of IoT and mobility

At the heart of new mobility, IoT and sensing technologies is an unsung hero – semiconductors. They are vital core components of all electronic and sensor systems. In the vehicle, semiconductors empower automation, connectivity and electrification advancements. In IoT, semiconductors improve the consumer experience for connected devices by enabling longer battery life.

Bosch has been developing and manufacturing semiconductors for more than 45 years. The supplier of technology and services is responsible for numerous innovations in semiconductors. This includes inventing the deep reactive-ion etching (DRIE) process, now more commonly known worldwide as the “Bosch process.” Bosch has nurtured its expertise since, continuously improving its manufacturing process performance to become the undisputed leader today in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) sensors design and production.

“Bosch is the only company equally at home in the automotive and semiconductor industries,” said Tim Frasier, regional president of Automotive Electronics for Bosch in North America. “We have an unrivaled track record for deploying holistic automotive-grade solutions and applying our knowledge across adjacent markets.”

Going beyond Moore’s Law with more intelligent and power-efficient silicon solutions

In order to support a sustainable growth of semiconductor applications into the future, technology node advancements are no longer sufficient. In fact, the physical limit is being reached and semiconductors can no longer just get smaller. The semiconductor must become more intelligent and efficient.

“Our rich history in semiconductors makes Bosch an ideal business partner that can help to materialize and industrialize new ideas for those technologies,” Frasier said. “The pace of innovation especially in mobility and IoT applications can’t be tackled single-handedly. A dedicated and strong ecosystem for the development of new semiconductor solutions is what we sought and found with Silicon Catalyst.”

Standard bearer for semiconductors in automotive

Within the global semiconductor market, applications for mobility are set to increase, driven by advancements in automation, electrification and connectivity. The global automotive semiconductor market was nearly $35 billion in 2017 and is expected to grow at more than eight percent per year from 2018 until 2027, according to Research & Markets. By 2027, the market will be worth nearly $77 billion globally.

Bosch has been applying its semiconductor expertise to vehicles since the 1970’s, resulting in numerous smart applications for vehicles. Bosch holds over 1,500 patents and patent applications for engineering and manufacturing its semiconductors. In fact, every vehicle newly registered worldwide in 2016 had an average of more than nine Bosch chips on board.

For automotive use in particular, semiconductors must be able to withstand stresses such as strong vibrations and extreme temperatures for a vehicle’s entire lifetime. Bosch uniquely understands the higher standards for development of automotive applications. It is especially about understanding the physical principles at work.

Bosch’s current semiconductor portfolio focuses on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), and power semiconductors and modules. Demand for higher functional integration will ensure more semiconductors with increasingly complex features.

  • Power semiconductors and modules are for instance at the heart of every hybrid or electric vehicle to transfer power from the battery to the electrical motors. Looking ahead, silicon carbide (SiC) power switches open new technical opportunities for better performance and greater range for electric vehicles

  • ASICs are integrated circuits tailored to a particular application thus enabling high functional integration and highly optimized performance vs. costs.

  • Bosch MEMS are the sensory organs of modern vehicles. They supply a vehicle’s ECUs with important information regarding its handling, such as if the vehicle is braking or accelerating, or if it is skidding on a smooth road surface. The ESP electronic stability program uses this information to keeps cars, trucks, and even motorcycles safely on track and in their lanes.

Beyond automotive – semiconductors as a key enabler for IoT and consumer applications

Bosch semiconductors have applications that extend far beyond the world of vehicles. Bosch MEMS-based sensors can be found in more than half the world’s smartphones, and are indispensable for fitness trackers, drones, game consoles, and smart home applications. When it comes to MEMS sensors, Bosch is both a pioneer and the world’s leading manufacturer. 

One billion euros for one of the most advanced wafer fabs

Bosch is underpinning its growth strategy for semiconductors with the single largest investment in the company’s history: it is putting some one billion euros into a new wafer fab in Dresden. Following a rollout phase, pilot manufacturing operations are expected to start at the end of 2021. Up to 700 associates will be involved in the highly automated manufacturing process, working to plan, manage, and monitor production. After Reutlingen, the Dresden plant will be Bosch’s second wafer fab in Germany. With it, the company aims to expand its manufacturing capacity, and thus to further boost its competitive edge in global markets.

Additional information:



About Bosch

Having established a regional presence in 1906 in North America, the Bosch Group employs 35,000 associates in more than 100 locations, as of December 31, 2018. According to preliminary figures, in 2018 Bosch generated consolidated sales of $14.5 billion in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. For more information, visit twitter.com/boschusa,twitter.com/boschmexico and www.bosch.ca.

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 410,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2018). According to preliminary figures, the company generated sales from operations of 77.9 billion euros ($92 billion) in 2018. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. As a leading IoT company, Bosch offers innovative solutions for smart homes, smart cities, connected mobility, and connected manufacturing. It uses its expertise in sensor technology, software, and services, as well as its own IoT cloud, to offer its customers connected, cross-domain solutions from a single source. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to deliver innovations for a connected life. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.” The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiary and regional companies in 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing, engineering, and sales network covers nearly every country in the world. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. At 125 locations across the globe, Bosch employs some 69,500 associates in research and development.

Additional information is available online at www.bosch.comwww.iot.bosch.com,www.bosch-press.comwww.twitter.com/BoschPresse.

Exchange rate: 1 EUR = $1.1811


March 14, 2019

Silicon Catalyst Adds New In-Kind Partners Certus Semiconductor and Silitronics  

Silicon Valley, CA., Silicon Catalyst, the world’s only Incubator focused exclusively on accelerating solutions in silicon, announces the addition of Certus Semiconductor and Silitronics as the newest addition to the continuously expanding ecosystem of In-Kind Partners (IKP). Silicon Catalyst continues to work with key industry players to further develop a complete value chain that economically and effectively supports the semiconductor start-ups accepted into the Incubator. These startups utilize Silicon Catalyst’s world-class network of advisors, design tools, silicon devices, networking, with access to funding and marketing acumen needed to successfully launch their businesses.

Specific offerings from these two new IKPs include:

Certus Semiconductor: Provides the most advanced solutions for optimizing area, power, Electro-Static-Discharge (ESD) protection, features and performance of Input/Output (I/O) circuits

Silitronics: Assembles System-in-Package (SiP) Modules for Silicon Photonics, IoT, Carbon Sensors, LiDAR, Bio-Medical, Networking and Defense applications

“We are pleased to welcome Certus and Silitronics, as our Portfolio Companies require these vital services and IP to move their innovative designs from concept to production,” stated Pete Rodriguez, CEO of Silicon Catalyst. "We have created an incredibly powerful and expanding ecosystem for semiconductor startups which includes our Strategic Partners, IKPs, over one hundred advisors and a large community of investors. We have extended the ecosystem starting in 2018 to Universities, industry organizations, other Accelerators and most recently with our international joint venture with Silicon Power Technology. We’re seeing continued momentum for our business model - with the success of our graduates to raise significant funds, launch winning products and win industry competitions.”

Stephen Fairbanks, Director at Certus stated, “When I first heard of Silicon Catalyst, and how it was creating opportunity for silicon and hardware startup companies, it hit straight home. Certus has delivered some of the most unique and problem solving custom ESD and I/O solutions in the industry, and our best work has always been with startups and small companies looking to create unique and differentiating products. I knew we needed to be a part of Silicon Catalyst to get access to greater startup opportunities where we could really help new companies break barriers and solve difficult design problems. This is pure opportunity where we get to showcase our design expertise.”

Dhiraj Bora, President of Silitronics stated, “We see great value in joining the Silicon Catalyst ecosystem as an In-Kind Partner, as it will give us insight into emerging technology applications and the specialized needs of the Portfolio Companies. Our team looks forward to participating and contributing to the success of the startups in the Incubator.”


About Certus Semiconductor

Certus Semiconductor has assembled several of the world’s foremost experts in I/O and ESD design to offer our clients the ability to affordably tailor their IO libraries into the optimal fit for their products. Certus is offering the semiconductor industry a unique approach to custom I/O libraries, including tailored I/O designs, and ESD solutions based on simulations leveraging specialized silicon ESD models. In addition to offering fast turnaround custom I/O designs, Certus offers independent ESD design, review and debug services. Through partnerships, Certus is also able to provide ESD testing and TLP support. Visit www.certus-semi.com for more information.


About Silitronics

Silitronics has built a solid reputation for quality, craftsmanship and expertise in providing the most advanced and innovative packaging solutions. Silitronics is ideally located in Silicon Valley, California in a 10,000+ square feet facility. Silitronics has the capability to be the fastest time-to-market for your prototype or small-to-medium volume production run. The Silitronics team has attention to detail in their professionalism and expertise throughout the production process.

With ISO9001:2015, ISO 13485:2016 (Medical) and Mil-PRF 38534 and Mil-Std 883 (Defense) certifications, Silitronics earned its reputation by producing the most advanced circuits and maintaining an ongoing commitment to quality. The entire Silitronics team demonstrates this commitment with their professionalism and expertise throughout the production process. Silitronics has the fastest time-to-market cycle time for your prototype or small-to-medium volume production. More information can be found at www.silitronics.com

February 14, 2019

Soitec Becomes Strategic Partner of Silicon Catalyst Start-up Incubator  

Santa Clara, California, and Bernin (Grenoble), France, - Silicon Catalyst, the world’s only incubator focused exclusively on accelerating solutions in silicon, today announced Soitec (Euronext Paris), a world leader in designing and manufacturing innovative semiconductor materials, as its first European Strategic Partner. This agreement provides Soitec access to early-stage silicon technology innovation targeting consumer, IoT and automotive segments and applications.

Silicon Catalyst is a Silicon Valley-based incubator providing silicon-focused start-ups access to a world-class network of advisors, design tools, silicon devices, networking, access to funding and marketing acumen needed to successfully launch their businesses. Soitec will engage in this start-up ecosystem to gain insight into the newest technologies and applications across high-growth markets, and to guide nascent technologies to successful market penetration.

“As a Strategic Partner of Silicon Catalyst, Soitec has a unique opportunity to grow our visibility among early-stage semiconductor companies,” said Thomas Piliszczuk, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for Soitec. “Engineered substrates give semiconductor related start-ups a competitive edge in developing new high-performance, energy-efficient solutions. We are looking forward to supporting emerging trends and technology advancements with Silicon Catalyst’s distinguished portfolio of semiconductor entrepreneurs.”

“We are pleased to welcome Soitec as our first European Strategic Partner. Soitec is creating technical advances that are enabling the next generation of products across many market segments. Their SOI technology is a key ingredient to meet the diverse challenges for breakthrough differentiated semiconductor products, combining ultra-low power with excellent analog / mixed-signal performance,” stated Pete Rodriguez, CEO of Silicon Catalyst. “Joining our other Strategic Partners, Texas Instruments and ON Semiconductor, Soitec will participate in the selection of applicants to our incubator and provide guidance for our Portfolio Companies, contributing to the growth of startups that are creating the next generations of semiconductor innovation.”

Soitec’s substrate solutions, most notably silicon-on-insulator (SOI), address the full range of applications for electronics. SOI substrates are designed to support ultra-low power signal processing, wireless connectivity, power, image sensors and silicon photonics applications. Radio-frequency silicon-on-insulator (RF-SOI) substrates are the foundation of the RF incumbent technology for RF Front-End modules used in all smart phones manufactured today. RF-SOI and fully depleted SOI (FD-SOI) material enable ultra-low power connectivity, mobility, distributed AI and edge computing. Adding our new compound and piezo-electric on insulator substrates, Soitec offers a wide range of engineered substrates addressing numerous and fast growing segments like automotive, AI-IoT (AIoT) and 5G.


About Soitec

Soitec (Euronext, Tech 40 Paris) is a world leader in designing and manufacturing innovative semiconductor materials. The company uses its unique technologies and semiconductor expertise to serve the electronics markets. With more than 3,000 patents worldwide, Soitec’s strategy is based on disruptive innovation to answer its customers’ needs for high performance, energy efficiency and cost competitiveness. Soitec has manufacturing facilities, R&D centers and offices in Europe, the U.S. and Asia. Soitec and Smart Cut are registered trademarks of Soitec. For more information, please visit www.soitec.com and follow us on Twitter: @Soitec_EN

Soitec and Smart Cut are registered trademarks of Soitec.

January 17, 2019

Announcing the Grand Opening of Silicon Power Technology

Industry Luminary David French and Silicon Valley’s Silicon Catalyst partner to launch Incubator for Power Semiconductor Startups  

Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China - Today marks the official opening of Silicon Power Technology, an incubator established to identify and nurture China’s most promising power semiconductor companies. Silicon Power Technology is located in the Chengdu High Technology District, based in a newly established incubation center with capacity for up to 20 startup companies in the 2,400 square meter office space. The Silicon Power Technology Incubator offers qualified startup teams and early stage companies comprehensive In-Kind Partner (IKP) and advisory services spanning new materials, design, foundry, packaging & test, technical and marketing planning, sales as well as financing and administrative support.

The Silicon Power Technology management team includes:

  • David French - Silicon Power Technology Chairman and semiconductor industry luminary with more than 40 years of experience in the analog semiconductor market and extensive expertise working with high-technology companies and investors based in China

  • Jesse Parker - Silicon Power Technology General Manager and China veteran with more than 25 years of experience living and working in China, focused on semiconductor investment and the development of early stage companies.

“The China semiconductor market in general, and the power semiconductor market particularly, is accelerating at a very fast pace. Investment in new fabs is at an all-time high. Despite this, the development and training of talented technologist and semiconductor business management lags the market. Our partnership with Silicon Catalyst will allow us to leverage their successful incubation model for startups in China” stated David French. “The Silicon Power Technology mission is to provide a complete ecosystem to support, encourage, train and motivate the most talented power semiconductor entrepreneurs and startup companies to achieve market success.”

The Power Semiconductor sector is a critical sector for China’s overall growth in multiple markets, including the New Energy automotive sector, the continued development of high-speed trains and subways, the expansion of the country’s power distribution network and the continued development of the consumer white goods and enterprise industrial sectors. “The long-term objective is to combine our Silicon Power Technology’s incubator with Chengdu’s UESTC PITEL power semiconductor expertise to form an innovation cluster for power semiconductors, with both national and international recognition,” stated Jesse Parker.

Silicon Power Technology Details

The Silicon Power Technology incubation process is based on the successful model pioneered by Silicon Catalyst LLC, a Silicon Valley incubator that has been working with early-stage semiconductor startups since 2015. The Silicon Catalyst incubator is solely focused on “Solutions in Silicon”, combining key semiconductor industry vendors, strategic partners, investors and advisors, creating a robust ecosystem to assist in transforming technical concepts and prototypes into successful businesses.

“We are extremely pleased to partner with Silicon Power Technology and their world-class team as they utilize our successful incubation process to foster startups in China. The opportunities for innovation are significant in the critical area of power semi’s, especially for consumer, industrial and automotive applications,” stated Pete Rodriguez, CEO of Silicon Catalyst.

Silicon Power Technology will screen startups for admission to the incubator after review by the Portfolio Review Board (PRB). The PRB will evaluate the startup’s plans on a number of aspects: Team Quality, Differentiated Technology, Market Opportunity and Financial Return. Start-ups accepted to the Incubator will typically be admitted for a 24-month period, gaining access to the Silicon Power Technology’s IKPs and advisor network.

Silicon Power Technology has established strategic partnerships with a variety of organizations to create a powerful network of In-Kind Partners. The initial list of IKPs include:

  • China Resources Microelectronics (CRM) for foundry, testing and packaging support

  • Cadence Design Systems for leading-edge electronic design automation tools

  • Silvaco for power-specific design automation tools (TCAD, SiC, GaN)

  • UESTC PITEL for technology advice and support

  • HiWAFER for GaAS and GaN foundry support

  • Chengdu ICC Service Center for testing and rapid packaging services

  • Shanghai ZiXin Semiconductor for Marketing and Sales support

  • China Merchants Bank for banking services and TaiHeTai Law Firm for legal services

“CRM is very excited to partner with Silicon Power Technology. We value the opportunity to identify and work with the most promising startup teams in the power semiconductor sector. CRM’s partnership includes providing foundry services and technology advice to Silicon Power Technology’s portfolio companies.”, said Mr. Chen NanXiang, Executive Vice Chairman of CRM.

Strategic Advisors include (among others) China semiconductor industry experts, including:

  • David French, Chairman Silicon Power Technology Ltd and GaoZhan Consulting Ltd

  • Professor Zhang Bo, UESTC PITEL and Silicon Power Technology Technology Advisory Board Chairman

  • Pete Rodriguez, CEO Silicon Catalyst

  • Professor Ye Tianchun, Microelectronics Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences

  • Mr. Chen NanXiang, CRM Executive Vice Chairman

  • Mr. Huang Xueliang, General Partner Hong Tai Investment Fund

  • Mr. Gao Nengwu, CEO HIWAFER

  • Mr. Zhang Jingyang, Mooreelite.com CEO

“The establishment of Silicon Power Technology’s power semiconductor incubator provides entrepreneurs a comprehensive base from which to develop their startup companies. We are excited that such a platform has been established in Chengdu to promote Chengdu as a power semiconductor development center in China.”, said Professor Zhang Bo.

Silicon Power Technology Portfolio Companies Announced at Grand Opening
The Silicon Power Technology PRB has been actively screening a number of early-stage startups and is pleased to announce the first two companies accepted for admission to the Incubator:

Chengdu Blue Silicon Technology Ltd – Blue Silicon Technology designs and sells competitive MOSFET and IGBT products designed by its engineering team and its supply chain partners.

AmagincTech Ltd – Founded by a talented engineering team, AmagicTech will design and sell analog chipsets for the battery management sector.

About Silicon Power Technology

Silicon Power Technology is a Sino-foreign joint venture company based in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. Established in August, 2018, Silicon Power Technology’s power semiconductor incubator identifies and supports the most promising power semiconductor teams and early stage companies. Silicon Power Technology’s comprehensive power semiconductor ecosystem is comprised of essential domestic and international partners aligned to assist its companies. Silicon Power Technology welcomes promising startup and early stage teams and companies to apply for admittance to its incubator. More information can be found at www.sipowervalley.com.


Silicon Power Technology

Jesse Parker – Silicon Power Technology General Manager


December 17, 2018

Silicon Catalyst Announces Newly Admitted Startups to Semiconductor Incubator

Espre Technologies & Owl Autonomous Imaging  

Silicon Valley, CA - Silicon Catalyst, is the world’s only incubator focused exclusively on accelerating solutions in silicon, announces the admission of two early-stage companies into the semiconductor industry’s highly acclaimed 24-month incubation program:

Espre Technologies

Real-time data analytics & IoT embedded services for wireless networks

Owl Autonomous Imaging

Thermal Ranging™ LiDAR Fusion Camera for Safe Autonomous Vehicle Operation

“Our screening and due diligence process for the recent applicants to our incubator has resulted in the selection of these two exciting new companies. We’re extremely pleased to welcome Espre Technologies and Owl Autonomous Imaging to our incubator, as they are targeting two of the most promising application segments in the industry - wireless communications and autonomous vehicle electronics. We look forward to enabling their growth, utilizing the Silicon Catalyst ecosystem of Advisors, IKPs, Strategic Partners and investor network,” stated Pete Rodriguez, CEO of Silicon Catalyst. “We are seeing a diverse set of startups that are applying to our incubator for our Q1 2019 selection process. The deadline for submitting an application is January 21, 2019, to be considered to present at our Silicon Catalyst Screening meeting in March 2019.”

Silicon Catalyst uniquely provides startups with goods and services from a comprehensive network of In-Kind Partners (IKPs) to dramatically reduce the cost of development. Over the past three years, Silicon Catalyst has reviewed over 250 early-stage companies and has now admitted a total of 18 startups into the incubator. These Portfolio Companies can utilize tools from a variety of design and test vendors, as well as access to shuttle / MPW runs with TSMC foundry fab services. Additionally, the startups can tap into the rapidly expanding Silicon Catalyst network of Advisors, IKPs and investors.

About Espre Technologies


Espre Technologies is an innovative solutions provider developing technologies related to next generation wireless products. The company holds intellectual property related to Internet of Things (IoT) for 5G networks and embedded cooperative network solutions, carrier aggregation techniques in LTE, and A.I. applications related to real-time user wireless data capture and analytics. Espre has developed and patented an industry disruptive communications protocol that is designed to integrate within existing WiFi and cellular networks.

Espre was founded by Dr. John Terry, a recognized industry expert in wireless communication system design in the areas of chaos communications, WLAN & OFDM networks, and carrier aggregation for LTE and WiFi networks. Dr. Terry has generated over 50 issued / pending domestic and foreign patents related to wireless technology. Further company information can be found at www.espretech.com

About Owl Autonomous Imaging


Owl Autonomous Imaging has recently completed and delivered a two-color infrared camera for the US Air Force. Leveraging this technology and the associated patent portfolio, Owl AI is now developing a 4D-camera that combines 1550nm Flash-LiDAR and Thermal imaging (IR) within a single solid-state mega-pixel focal plane, targeting ADAS and Autonomous vehicles. This is a unique sensor fusion solution for the industry.

Owl AI was co-founded by Chuck Gershman. Mr. Gershman has 30 years of semiconductor industry experience in executive management, marketing, engineering, business development, sales, consulting and executive advising. A serial entrepreneur, Mr. Gershman has been a member of the executive team of five startups, three of which as CEO/COO. He has had successful exits with acquisitions by Intel and PMC-Sierra. Further company information can be found at www.owlai.us

December 6, 2018

SPARK Microsystems wins the 6th annual Nokia Bell Labs Open Innovation Challenge for its revolutionary ultra-low power and ultra-short latency wireless platform

Montreal, Canada - Silicon Catalyst Portfolio Company SPARK Microsystems has been named the winner of the Nokia Bell Labs Open Innovation Challenge 2018 for its ultra-low power and ultra-short latency wireless transceiver technology. In addition to the US$100,000 grand prize, SPARK Microsystems will have an opportunity to collaborate with Nokia and Nokia Bell Labs resources to deploy its unique wireless platform.

Marcus Weldon, President of Nokia Bell Labs and CTO of Nokia, said, “This year’s Open Innovation Challenge brought together many innovative startups with impressive products, technologies and solutions that will shape the world of industrial automation. While competition was tight, SPARK Microsystems was selected as the winner for its low power wireless transceiver chipset that has the potential to help ‘spark’ the next industrial revolution.”

Fares Mubarak, CEO of SPARK Microsystems, said, “SPARK is honored to be selected as the winner of this year’s prestigious award. Nokia and Nokia Bell Labs are networking, communications and wireless technologies leaders, and we look forward to collaborating on delivering innovative solutions for edge devices, sensors and wearable applications. These applications are a great fit for our ultra-low power and ultra-short latency groundbreaking wireless technology and are aligned with Nokia’s vision of the future.”

Frederic Nabki, cofounder and CTO of SPARK Microsystems, said, “We are proud to have our innovative wireless technology recognized by Nokia Bell Labs, a staple of innovation, and by Nokia, a visionary player in the wireless and networking spaces, behind staple wireless technologies like Bluetooth Low Energy. We believe our technology to be a great fit for edge devices and sensors within Nokia’s 5G network solutions, where short latency, connection robustness, density of connections and low power consumption are paramount.”

Based in Montreal, SPARK Microsystems stood out from more than 300 startups from all over the world. This year’s competition focused on products and solutions for industrial automation and the Internet of Things.

Participants went through two rounds of evaluations and the top six finalists were invited to present their technology to an international jury panel at Nokia Bell Labs. The jury was led by Dr. Weldon and comprised of leaders from across Nokia, Nokia Bell Labs and NGP Capital.

About SPARK Microsystems

SPARK Microsystems is a fabless semiconductor company that is leading the way towards ultra-low power wireless communications for the Internet of Things revolution. With its patented technologies, SPARK Microsystems will bring to market a high performance wireless transceiver that allows for orders of magnitude improved power consumption and latency while providing higher data rates than competing technologies. For more information, please visit www.sparkmicro.com.

About Nokia Bell Labs

Nokia Bell Labs is the world renowned industrial research arm of Nokia. Over its 92-year history, Bell Labs has invented many of the foundational technologies that underpin information and communications networks and all digital devices and systems. This research has resulted in 9 Nobel Prizes, three Turing Awards, three Japan Prizes, a plethora of National Medals of Science and Engineering, as well as an Oscar, two Grammy awards and an Emmy award for technical innovation. For more information, visit www.bell-labs.com.

About Nokia

We create the technology to connect the world. Powered by the research and innovation of Nokia Bell Labs, we serve communications service providers, governments, large enterprises and consumers, with the industry’s most complete, end-to-end portfolio of products, services and licensing.

We adhere to the highest ethical business standards as we create technology with social purpose, quality and integrity. Nokia is enabling the infrastructure for 5G and the Internet of Things to transform the human experience. For more information, visit www.nokia.com.

See the full write up here.

December 5, 2018

Zeno Demonstrates Scalability of World’s Smallest SRAM Bitcell Technology to FinFET Technology Node at IEDM Conference

1- /2-Transistor SRAM Technology Demonstrated at Standard FinFET Process Technology

Sunnyvale, CA, Zeno Semiconductor, a Silicon Catalyst Portfolio Company, demonstrated the scalability of its novel 1-transistor/2-transistor Bi-SRAM (bi-stable, intrinsic bipolar) memory technology to FinFET technology node at the IEDM Conference. The results from 14nm and 16nm FinFET technology nodes from multiple foundries follow previous implementation of Bi-SRAM technology in 28nm technology node.

Zeno’s 1-transistor/2-transistor Bi-SRAM uses a single transistor as the memory bitcell and is therefore 3x-5x smaller than conventional SRAMs which use 6-transistor bitcells (6T-SRAM). Another key disclosure is that the Bi-SRAM technology can be fabricated in baseline FinFET process without any process modifications. This is in contrast to other emerging memory technologies, such as magnetic random access memory (MRAM) or resistive random access memory (RRAM), which requires new materials.

“Given the amount of chip area occupied by SRAM in the state-of-the-art SoCs, 1-transistor SRAM is very attractive. Therefore, it is exciting to see that Zeno has demonstrated the scaling of the 1-transistor SRAM using FinFET devices. Since it was done without process modifications, it paves the way to achieve more functional chips with the same cost of integrated circuits manufacturing,” said Dr. Runzi Chang, Deputy Director of Foundry Technology at Marvell Semiconductor, Inc.

This is echoed by Dr. Victor Moroz, a Fellow at Synopsys, “We have previously used Synopsys’ Sentaurus TCAD to simulate the 1-transistor SRAM in FinFET structure, so the silicon demonstration is somewhat expected. However, the previously simulated 1-transistor SRAM utilizes a buried n-well layer. The new development without a buried n-well layer is significant as it makes the technology fully compatible with standard foundry process.”


The CMOS process compatibility and the small memory size makes Zeno Bi-SRAM technologies as the ideal embedded memory technology. Average die area occupied by embedded memory in a System-on-a-Chip (SoC) is projected to reach >70% in 2019 according to Semico Research, with new architectures (for example in AI applications) see the largest year-to-year increase in the embedded memory content.


Zeno’s business model is to license the 1-transistor Bi-SRAM and 2-transistor Bi-SRAM technologies and IP to semiconductor companies and foundries. Licensees can implement their own memory macros, or they can contract with Zeno to do so.

The technology is available for customer engagement today; please contact Zeno for more details.


Zeno Semiconductor, Inc. (www.zenosemi.com) develops and licenses novel memory and logic technologies which provide innovative paths to scaling semiconductor devices. The memory and logic technologies are manufacturable on mainstream CMOS and FinFET fabrication processes with no new materials or equipment, and with no changes to any of the existing libraries and IP. Zeno currently has been awarded more than 50 patents. Contact Zeno at contact@zenosemi.com.

November 16, 2018

SPARK Microsystems named to EETimes’ Silicon 60

Vanguard of the Machine Learning Revolution

by Peter Clarke

EE Times’ 19th revision of the Silicon 60, our annual list of startups to watch, documents the definitive rise of machine learning as a form of hardware-supported computing. The development atmosphere is feverish, and the technology market has the same air of dynamic, fast-paced change that it had when the first microprocessors launched in the 1970s.

Of course, the Silicon 60 is broader than machine learning. This year’s profiled startups are working on silicon and compound semiconductor manufacturing; conductive materials and metamaterials; analog and digital ICs and systems-on-chip (SoCs); memory; field-programmable gate array (FPGA) fabrics; gallium  nitride for power and lighting; energy harvesting; sub-threshold-voltage operation of ICs; signal-processing techniques; 5G communications for automobiles and the internet of things (IoT); LiDAR; wireless power transfer; environmental sensors; microelectromechanical system (MEMS) design and manufacturing; cloud-based EDA; organic LED and micro-LED displays; neural networks; and other architectures for machine learning, vision, and cognitive processing.

For the Silicon 60, we focus on companies that could have an impact on electronics engineers and technology managers in their professional lives, and that means we seek out companies that have one or both feet in the hardware camp. It is true that hardware companies increasingly must be “platform” providers of both hardware and software. But companies that are pure software or service plays — with the exception of EDA and hard- and soft-intellectual-property (IP) suppliers — are less likely to qualify for inclusion.

Spark Microsystems International Inc.* (Montreal) was launched in 2016 to work on a low-power radio for IoT with an order-of-magnitude-better energy efficiency and latency than Bluetooth Low Energy or Zigbee and supporting faster data rates. Applications include high-end audio distribution and hearing aids. www.sparkmicro.com

See the full list here.

November 27, 2018

Semiconductor Industry Veterans See the Old Order Crumbling

In their crystal ball, they see memories moving to China, Intel building its last fab, and design—not process—innovation stepping up to save the U.S. semiconductor industry

by Tekla S. Perry

What will the semiconductor industry look like in 2024?

That’s the question Pete Rodriguez, CEO of semiconductor startup incubator Silicon Catalyst, asked a panel—and a roomful—of industry veterans earlier this month. And few were shy about predicting dramatic and, for some companies, potentially catastrophic changes.

Memory is in motion

Their first warning went to the companies currently cranking out semiconductor memories, feeding the seemingly insatiable demand for solid-state storage. China has already been working hard to build DRAM factories, they indicated, and a trade war with the United States will likely push that effort into a higher gear.

Said Cliff Hirsch, publisher of Semiconductor Times: “I think the real question is what do MicronHynixSamsungToshiba, and Western Digitaldo when their fabs are sitting idle because China has taken over the memory business.”

 “Years ago, we [in the U.S.] were building DRAMs,” said Jim Hogan, managing partner of Vista Ventures, “and we got killed by the Japanese. Then the Koreans came in.

“It’s not going to happen immediately, but if you are the Chinese government, and you put all this money into DRAM, you aren’t going to buy DRAM from anybody else,” said Hogan. “That won’t be good for Koreans or Micron or anybody.” He predicts that “this is going to have a huge political impact.”

“Is there a value proposition in cranking out DRAM?” asked Hirsch. “Sure, Micron is getting 60 percent margins today, which is unbelievable, but what about in a few years when they are getting 10 percent margins? Maybe it’s time to think of them as the textile industry of the future, and they should be going offshore.”

… read more.

November 8, 2018

Semiconductor Industry Executive Esam Elashmawi joins Silicon Catalyst Board

Silicon Valley, CA, Silicon Catalyst, the world’s only startup incubator focused exclusively on solutions in silicon, announced today that Esam Elashmawi, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer of Lattice Semiconductor Corporation (NASDAQ: LSCC), has been appointed to its Board of Directors.

Esam Elashmawi brings to the role 30 years of semiconductor and equipment technology, and industry experience. Over the past decade, he has successfully managed and developed solutions and equipment for the datacenter, automotive, defense, communications and industrial markets.

“I’m extremely pleased to have Esam join our board, as our incubator has grown significantly over the past few years, now covering a wide range of startups targeting a broad variety of technologies, market segments and geographic regions. Esam’s business acumen, global experience and in-depth executive level expertise in the semiconductor industry will be invaluable to our strategic planning and international expansion plans,” said Pete Rodriguez, CEO of Silicon Catalyst.

Prior to his recent appointment at Lattice, Esam served as Senior Vice President and General Manager at Microsemi Corporation since 2010 responsible for their datacenter, timing solutions and programmable logic product lines. Mr. Elashmawi previously served as Vice President of Product Development at Actel Corporation, which Microsemi acquired in 2010. Earlier in his career he co-founded SiliconExpert Technologies, a component management software company, which was acquired by Arrow Electronics. He holds a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Santa Clara University.

Esam Elashmai stated, ”My involvement in the semiconductor industry has afforded me an opportunity to manage and develop numerous initiatives to drive business growth, at both public and private electronics companies. I’m excited to be joining the board at Silicon Catalyst at this point in time, as it will enable me to remain active in the semiconductor startup scene and to contribute to the on-going selection process and nurturing of the companies admitted to the Silicon Catalyst incubator.”

November 2nd, 2018

Seamless Microsystems Joins Silicon Catalyst Incubator

Silicon-proven IP Company Delivers Innovative ADC Solutions

Silicon Valley, CA Silicon Catalyst, the world’s first startup incubator focused exclusively on solutions in silicon, announces the admission of Seamless Microsystems into the incubator.

Seamless Microsystems is focused on delivering a family of silicon proven designs to address the critical challenges of high-performance Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC) solutions, targeting numerous market segments, spanning medical imaging, LiDAR and next-generation communication systems, including 5G and G.FAST. A key feature of the Seamless Microsystems’ patented IP is Switched-Mode Signal Processing, enabling significant power reduction without sacrificing performance for Analog / Mixed-Signal CMOS designs.

Dr. Jayanth Kuppambatti, Seamless Microsystems CEO and co-founder, is joining the other 15 start-ups selected to join the Silicon Catalyst incubator. “This is a great milestone for our company as this will enable us to focus our efforts to rapidly develop and deliver innovative ADC solutions required by the semiconductor industry for the next generation of mixed-signal devices.”

About Seamless Microsystems

Seamless Microsystems is a fabless semiconductor startup, working on innovative high-speed ADC designs for next generation SOCs in a wide range of applications, ranging from consumer medical imaging, LTE 5G communications, to LIDAR in autonomous driving.

More information can be found http://www.seamlessmicro.com

October 9th, 2018

Silicon Catalyst CEO Pete Rodriguez was a featured panelist at the GSA Silicon Summit

The GSA East event in Saratoga Springs, New York was hosted by both the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership, Saratoga County, New York’s economic development agency and the Center for Economic Growth, a regional economic and business development organization.

Silicon Catalyst's CEO was a panelist along with Brian Pierce / Director, Information Innovation Office / DARPA, Yunsup Lee / Co-founder and CTO / SiFive, and Fran Korosec / Vice President of Program Management / BRIDG speaking on the "Semis Matter – Building a Research Based Innovation Pipeline and Ecosystem" program. In a fast-paced and engaging presentation entitled "Accelerating Innovation by Powering Semiconductor Startups", Pete spoke of the current semiconductor startup landscape which is being shaped by extensive industry consolidation, which has lead to a dramatic decrease in both R&D and innovation. This comes against a backdrop of expanding applications which will find their way onto silicon being fueled by innovations in IoT, bio, wearables, HV, and the like. Hardware is making a big comeback and Silicon Catalyst is uniquely positioned as the only incubator focused exclusively on semiconductor solution startups.

With a theme of “Harnessing Emerging Semiconductor Market Opportunities,” the event served to advance semiconductor technology and to promote collaboration within our industry. The event featured keynote addresses from two industry technology and market thought leaders: Dr. Gary Patton, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Worldwide Research and Development at GLOBALFOUNDRIES, and Mark Lipacis, Managing Director of Jefferies Group LLC and a top analyst in identifying semiconductor trends and opportunities. 

More than 150 leading semiconductor executives and technologists converged on Saratoga Springs for the inaugural event which was a global industry conference aimed at extending semiconductor technology and business, highlighting developing market trends, and enabling opportunities for regional collaboration and growth. 

September 18th, 2018

Silicon Catalyst Advisor John East Q&A’s

John East has had a long and important career in the semiconductor industry in SiliconValley. He served as Chief Executive Officer and President at Actel Corporation from 1988 to 2010. Prior to that, he had worked for other Silicon Valley semiconductor companies including Advanced Micro Devices, Raytheon Semiconductor, and Fairchild Corporation. He has served on the Boards of Directors at Atrenta, Tortuga Logic, Alacritech, Zehntel, MCC, Single Chip Systems, Pericom Semiconductor, and Adaptec.


A. As a kid, I liked to tinker around with crystal sets. When I was ten years old, I got an Amateur Radio License. So -- not surprisingly, I decided to become an electrical engineer when I went to UC Berkeley. When I graduated, I became an integrated circuit design and product engineer at Fair- child back in 1968, when many of the famous guys were still around. The old guard was there or had just been there, guys like Jerry Sanders, Charlie Sporck, Bob Noyce, Gordon Moore, Andy Grove. It was a fun time!!


A. After I retired from Actel, I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life golfing and working crossword puzzles. I wanted to serve a useful purpose. But being on a public board these days just doesn’t appeal to me. The “official” thing to do when you retire from a CEO job is to go on boards of directors. I had been on a handful of boards before retiring and continued to do that after I retired. The problem was, I loved working on products, customers, and markets, those things are fun and interesting. Unfortunately, the trend is that the board meetings at large companies have less to do with what is fun and interesting and more to do with legal, social, and financial matters. The combination of products, markets, and customers is what makes or breaks a company. If you handle those things right, you make a lot of money. If you don’t, you go broke.

But with public company boards these days, you spend so little time on that kind of thing. It seemed to me that the answer to that was to work with startups. So that’s what I’m doing today.

I’ve worked with three incubators including Silicon Catalyst and have also worked with some startups that are not associated with an incubator. My first incubator experience happened with EvoNexus, an incubator located in Southern California. They connected me with a company called Tortuga Logic. I started working with Tortuga as an advisor and then joined their board of directors after they got their seed.

My years as an individual-contributor were mostly spent doing engineering. I didn’t do much hands-on marketing in my youth. Now, though, I worry more about markets and customers. Those areas are totally undervalued by most startups. You win by having more customers. Not by having more megahertz or fewer femtofarads.

I’ve never worked at a company where my biggest ongoing problem wasn’t sales. But that sad fact often eludes the CEOs of super-technical start-ups until it’s too late. So my role in start-ups often comes down to pushing the sales and marketing efforts when everyone else is pushing the engineering.


A. First, I look at the market. I like three fields in particular; IoT, security, and AI. They are growing areas that I’m particularly interested in. I know a bit about them but would like to learn more. There’s no better way to learn than to get involved.

Second, I look for people that I like. You don’t want to work with jerks. Life is too short!!! You want to make sure you have good chemistry with the folks you’ll be working with.

Third, I look for a product that I think has a market, and one that won’t be inundated by hundreds of competitors doing the same thing.

If you find those three things, you can have a win and can have some fun while you’re winning.

I only sign on as an advisor to a startup if they agree to put me on the board when they do form one. Why? Generally, I get emotionally involved and spend a lot more time than a typical advisor does, so I inevitably want more in influence in the company’s future than an advisor would have.


A. I currently am on the board of directors of SPARK Microsystems. I had gone to one of the first Silicon Catalyst events, back when the incubator had about six companies total. Nick Kepler (Managing Partner at Silicon Catalyst) had recommended that I look at the startups, and SPARK in particular. I met Frederic Nabki, Co-Founder of SPARK, and liked him a lot and the concept really grew on me. The more I thought about it, the more I thought we could sell it. SPARK clearly knew what they were doing technically, and it seemed to all of us that they were onto something that could turn into a really big market. So I signed on as an advisor and then went on the board when they raised money late last year.


You can easily get so wrapped up in making the product work that you don’t think about the selling. A lot of times start-ups are based on technology developed by a technical founder who is an expert in the field. He or she usually devotes himself fully to developing the technology and isn’t particularly familiar with the market. Sadly, it’s never just about doing something that you know how to do. It always comes down to getting people to buy what you’ve done.


A. The first observation I have is that some startups really want advice and some just want a name to put on their list of advisory board members.

I am an advisor to one company where I just grab lunch or dinner with the founders once a year or so and occasionally help with an introduction. I have no problem with that. There’s a place for that. If that’s what you are looking for, then you should focus on finding a guy with the right title. That’s pretty simple.

In other cases though, the founder is thirsty for knowledge. Many of these startup founders have never worked in a corporate environment and they don’t know anything about what it takes to make a wafer and to ship a part. They don’t understand semiconductor quality systems or device characterization or why simulations don’t always work. They know they have to do a layout and send the mask set to a fab, but then it goes into a black hole. They’ve never marketed. Never sold. Never kept books. Never raised money. If you’re a founder like this who is aware that you don’t know certain things but need to learn them, then you should look for an advisor who has these experiences and can teach. So in the end, it depends on what you want. If you want a big name, get a big name. If you know you haven’t done business, then you better find someone who has done it. And of course, the chemistry thing is important! Don’t sign up anyone who you don’t enjoy being around!


A. I love incubators, particularly for semiconductors. Who can afford to do a semiconductor start-up without help with the in-kind tools and services? Tape-outs never work right: you need to do them over and over again. You can’t pay for that on your own, you need to get on a shuttle. To do a state of the art product tape-out requires a boat load of tools which you can’t afford to buy on your own. Some of the fabs and design tool companies have programs with which you can get help but it usually isn’t as complete as what an incubator like Silicon Catalyst can provide. So, yes semiconductor start-ups should jump at every opportunity to hook up with someone like Silicon Catalyst.

There’s a less obvious benefit too. Silicon Catalyst also does a good job of giving structure to a start-up. The quarterly presentations of company status and progress force some discipline that might not otherwise be there and the audience of experts in the semiconductor field can often help spot and remedy upcoming problems before they become critical.

Bottom line: anyone who is doing a silicon start-up without an incubator is probably screwing up.


A. We are now about a $400 billion dollar industry. I remember when we were just passing $1 billion for the first time. The biggest, most successful tech companies are totally dependent on silicon. Apple, Cisco, Intel, Facebook, etc. would die in a hurry if semiconductors ceased to exist. In fact the world as it is today would die without semiconductors.

But semiconductors have become a big-company business. We’ve had this surge of “big company eats little company”. That’s a little scary. I believe that most of the innovation still happens with the little guys. If there were no more little guys, innovation would slow down. Fortunately, we haven’t come to that point yet. There always seem to be a few more startups coming on the scene. So, it’s still a workable model, but it’s different than the old model. The Valley used to be full of 100 million dollar companies. Not anymore. They’re all gone. I don’t think that will ever turn back around. There will be a handful of big companies (Intel, Texas Instruments, Broadcom, etc.) that dominate the business. Hopefully, though, there will be a never ending flow of startups bringing innovation.


A. I remember being associated briefly with Exxon, the huge oil company, back in the late seventies. They had an office in Manhattan with a bunch of super smart guys who understood technology. They had experts of every new technology that was coming along. They also had a separate bunch of experts who only understood markets and what was going to be wanted 5-10 years down the road. The goal of that effort was to find the intersection points. Where was an emerging technology going to intersect with a new, rapidly growing market? Where would a new market that was about to emerge intersect with a blossoming technology? That, to me, is a good way to look at things and an interesting way to conduct business. That’s what start-ups should be doing and that is what Silicon Catalyst should be helping them do.

September 11, 2018

EAG is the newest In-Kind Partner with Silicon Catalyst

Focus on Semiconductor Startups

Silicon Valley, CA, EAG, Inc., a global scientific services company, welcomes Silicon Catalyst, the world’s only incubator focused exclusively on solutions in silicon to its Class A Facility in Santa Clara, California, the heart of Silicon Valley. Silicon Catalyst and its Portfolio Companies are already inhabiting the space. 

In addition to providing office and lab space to Silicon Catalyst and its Portfolio Companies, EAG also is providing its advanced laboratory facilities to enable testing and failure analysis of the innovative IC designs from Silicon Catalyst’s leading startup companies.

Aram Sarkissian, General Manager, Engineering Sciences, EAG Laboratories said “At EAG, we recognize the importance of a strong startup community to the health of the semiconductor industry, and Silicon Catalyst is the premier organization committed to supporting semiconductor-focused startups. The ecosystem that they have already built is incredibly impressive. It is with great anticipation that we welcome all the great new companies that will be walking into our doors.”

“We are extremely pleased to co-locate with EAG. EAG is making a huge contribution to our efforts to reinvigorate the semiconductor startup ecosystem, as they are a leader in supporting companies in early, critical NPI efforts.   With a combination of technical expertise and large install base of test, reliability, failure analysis and debug tools, EAG provides a ready ecosystem for our Portfolio Companies to plug into,” stated Silicon Catalyst CEO Pete Rodriguez.  “By providing their facility, EAG is joining a lengthy and continuously growing group of in-kind partners, all committed to creating a viable ecosystem for these startups, right here in Silicon Valley, across the US, and across the globe.”

About EAG

EAG is a global scientific services company serving clients across a vast array of technology-related industries. Through multi-disciplinary expertise in the life, materials and engineering sciences, EAG helps companies innovate and improve products, ensure quality and safety, protect intellectual property and comply with evolving global regulations. EAG operates 20 laboratories in seven countries and serves more than 4,000 clients worldwide.

For additional information, visit www.eag.com

August 27th, 2018

Silicon Catalyst Portfolio Company Graduate Ayar Labs’ CEO and Co-Founder on the Future of Computing

In this episode, IT Visionaries is joined by Silicon Catalyst Portfolio Company Graduate Alex Wright-Gladstein, CEO and co-founder of Ayar Labs. Ayar Labs has developed new electronic-photonic integrated circuits that move data using light instead of electricity.

Alex shares exciting insights around the future of computing with light, and how the technology she’s building at Ayar labs is revolutionizing data transfer.

August 20, 2018

Silicon Catalyst CEO Pete Rodriguez on the unique proposition of Silicon Catalyst, it’s ecosystem and advisor network

By Cromwell Schubarth  – TechFlash Editor, Silicon Valley Business Journal

Rick Lazansky, left, handed the reins at Santa Clara semiconductor incubator Silicon Catalyst to Pete Rodriguez, right, in June.  Lazansky is now chairman and Rodriguez is CEO.

Rick Lazansky, left, handed the reins at Santa Clara semiconductor incubator Silicon Catalyst to Pete Rodriguez, right, in June.

Lazansky is now chairman and Rodriguez is CEO.

Santa Clara-based Silicon Catalyst bills itself as the world's only incubator that is focused exclusively on semiconductor startups. Some of the companies that it has worked with are just starting to emerge from the three-year-old program that is supported by major players in the chip industry like Texas Instruments and On Semiconductor Corp.

Pete Rodriguez, who was named CEO of the incubator earlier this summer, spoke to the Silicon Valley Business Journal about why it's so hard to do a semiconductor startup, how his program helps and whether Washington's new focus on Chinese chip deals has complicated what it does.

The Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.

Startups in the semiconductor world aren't as frequent as in other sectors. How are you helping with this?

Rick Lazansky, our co-founder and chairman, was at Sand Hill Angels and most of the companies he looked at there were software startups. So, he thought: What can we do to reduce the table stakes and barriers to operations with hardware companies, which can easily involve having to raise millions and millions of dollars. The idea was to make it look more like a software company to an investor. That was kind of the premise to start Silicon Catalyst. 

There are fewer hardware startups than software startups, but we have looked at well over 200, probably around 240 now, in the last three years. The heavy consolidation in the semiconductor industry, combined with a focus on reducing R&D, has created opportunity to start a company for people who made money in the consolidation, like at the Qualcomms and Broadcoms of the world. So we have looked at a lot. We haven't selected a lot, but we have looked at a lot.

What's the hardest part of doing a startup in this space and how do you help them get past that?

The hardest part is raising enough money on an idea to get to a prototype. We help reduce that barrier significantly. In the old days, you raised $20 million, you leased an office, you hired engineers, you bought some computers. And then you spent several million dollars on EDA tools. And then six months later when you were done with your first design, you'd spend millions of dollars to build that silicon. 

Many of these guys have been doing a design on sweat equity. They've been doing it at home in their garage. So we help them with design tools that they can now use for free for a period of time. We help them with shuttle runs that they can get for free. We help them with tester and tester access and that is a huge part. 

When we did a survey before we started, those were the top three problems with getting a company started. Now with our benefits and a little solid equity, you can get to a prototype. So you get to the Series A quicker with much less raised. 

Is there a common theme or quality for the ones that you have selected?

We look at the team because they are the ones who will at least take it part of the way. We look at the value proposition, the differentiation and the technology. And then the go-to-market and business plan. If it doesn't make any sense, we provide feedback and try to help, regardless of whether we accept them into the incubator.

We've taken a couple on a test drive basis. We see a couple of holes in their plan that we think we can help them fix over a few months. Then maybe they can apply again. We've done that with a couple of companies. 

But, particularly, we look at all the things that a VC does. We have a very deep team. We have hundreds of years of experience, not only as entrepreneurs and technologists in the semiconductor industry, but also as investors and angels.

Is there an investment that comes with being accepted?

At this point, no, although our chairman has personally invested in a handful of the companies, and I've invested in one. We do help our companies raise an investment round to accelerate what we see as a great opportunity. We are also raising a fund that will invest in Series A or Series B rounds. About 7 percent or 8 percent of the companies that come in are all pipe-lined. 

But we do provide free or greatly reduced in-kind services that are as good as cash. We believe our companies get on the order of about $2 million in business services from us. It may not be cash in the form of a check. But it's as good as cash. In the case of some of our foreign companies, they've been able to go to their government and get matching grants based on the in-kinds and services that we've given them. That’s harder to do in the U.S., but we have helped companies get DARPA grants.

Where has the money come from that you have operated with for the first few years?

That has been a combination of three things. We have grown to 25 in-kind partners, including Taiwan Semiconductor, Synopsys, Keysight, Ansys, MathWorks and Autodesk. Our in-kind partners have been very kind in terms of making office space available to us and lot of marketing, etc. 

In addition, we have a couple of strategic partners — Texas Instruments and On Semiconductor — and we plan on growing that. Our strategic partners help fund operations. 

In addition to that, as our companies become more mature, they raise a certain amount of funding. We take back a very small amount in program fees from them. We've got a few of those in place today. 

Finally, most of the team are guys that have worked 30-plus years in the industry and have done pretty well. They're not working completely for charity, there is some equity in lieu of salaries that has gone on. 

Is there a common flaw that you see in the companies that you don't accept?

There isn't one common flaw. But the most common is that they don't have a good handle on their value proposition. They don't know specifically what the value is that they're going to sell to their customers, how this is significantly better or fills a hole that the customer has. They don’t know what they're going to price it at or how they're going to go to market with it.

They’re mostly pitching the technology versus how the technology fits in the product, how the product fits in the marketplace and how to price it to win in the marketplace.

You have been operating Silicon Catalyst for about three years now. Have there been any graduates?

We actually had a couple of the companies graduate. Another couple are in the process of graduating. There's a couple that we may extend for a period of time if we believe that we can add real value and they believe we can add real value and they're easy to work with. If it's a win-win, then we can extend them for a period of time. Not forever, obviously, but maybe another six months to a year. Possibly that's probably one in three, one in four that we will end up doing that way. 

Tell me about your graduates.

One is Ayar Labs, which is miniaturizing fiber optic transceivers and making them in silicon chips. The other is Aeponyx, a fabless micro optical switch semiconductor startup designing and manufacturing chips for fiber optic access to the cloud. 

We don’t focus on any specific part of the semiconductor industry. We focus on what we call silicon solutions. Frankly, we'll take any semiconductor startup, not just ones working in silicon. But semiconductor seems to be an ugly word when you talk to VCs and others.

Companies in our portfolio (include businesses) like Eridan Communications, which is building a broad-based transceiver that could definitely revolutionize 5G technology. It could help with defense and first responders by replacing 40 pounds worth of radios with one radio the size of your cell phone. 

Ayar Labs is doing silicon photonics for networks and data centers. Zeno is doing a one-piece cell SRAM and they have IP in multiple modes of silicon and major foundries. Probius is doing an electrical array that could smell out E. coli in a small sample, which would be very important for food safety. We have a couple of AI companies. We have a company that has a unique solution for reducing power in displays. We have another company that has a very low-power radio, with high bandwidth. 

We're looking for companies that have an e-solution. What we mean by that is they have a solution that is the chip-plus-software, or chip-plus-a-sensor, or chip-plus-a-system, or any combination of those — not just a jelly bean piece of silicon. When they come out of the incubator, we expect that their value proposition is stronger and clearer, their strategy is clearer. They will have a prototype in hand that they can either sell to customers or have started selling to customers. And that they're either getting close to landing a Series A.

One thing you say you have helped your portfolio companies with is getting set up in China. It seems like it's getting more complicated these days to do almost anything in the semiconductor space that involves China. Has increased focus on deals like that complicated what you're doing?

No, because in our case, we're actually getting ownership of companies there. We're not transferring any IP. We're transferring some know-how in terms of how to screen companies and how to select companies and how to help companies. But we're not transferring any intellectual property. We're actually getting ownership in Chinese intellectual property. 

From a U.S. government standpoint we're actually getting things from there. From a Chinese government standpoint, we're helping incubate their companies. So I think this is kind of win-win. We hope that once all the saber-rattling is done, we get back to regular business in some period of time. 

But, again, to specifically answer your question on China: I think if we were to try to sell our U.S. companies to China that would be a problem, or if we were to transfer IP from here to there, that could be a problem. 

And vice versa. But, I think in what we're doing, we're trading some know-how in terms of how to screen companies and incubate them for ownership in Chinese companies. That's U.S. ownership of Chinese companies. So, I think it's kind of a win-win.

August 15, 2018

Interview with Silicon Catalyst Director and Semiconductor Luminary Jim Hogan

Silicon Valley, CA, Silicon Catalyst, the world’s only startup incubator focused exclusively on solutions in silicon and recipient of the prestigious UBM Canon Startup Company of the Year, announced today that veteran venture capitalist and semiconductor / EDA industry luminary Jim Hogan has been appointed to its Board of Directors.

Jim has worked in the semiconductor design and manufacturing industry for more than 40 years gaining experience as a senior executive and board director in electronic design automation, intellectual property, semiconductor equipment, material science and IT companies. He was a general partner at Telos Venture Partners and senior vice president of business development at Artisan Components Inc., now part of ARM Holdings PLC. He held executive engineering, marketing and operational management positions at National Semiconductor Corporation (TI), Phillips Semiconductor (now NXP) and Cadence Design Systems, Inc. Mr. Hogan holds a B.A. degree in mathematics, a B.S. degree in computer science and an M.B.A. all from San Jose State University. 

"Jim is a legend in our industry and is the quintessential activist board member providing advice in strategy, fundraising, and personnel, among other areas of vital importance to a company with a global footprint. We are honored to have him sit on our board. Over the past three years, Silicon Catalyst has gained a critical mass, having screened well over 200 startups, with 16 Portfolio Companies having been accepted into our incubator since 2015. His engagement and valuable input at this point in our company's evolution is a significant milestone," said Pete Rodriguez, CEO of Silicon Catalyst.

"Pete and his team at Silicon Catalyst have conceived and are executing on the right thing at the right time, filling a much-needed void in the semiconductor industry for seed stage companies. The company slogan of 'its about what's next' sums up the entire value proposition," Hogan said. 

“The thing I'm most concerned about nowadays is how do we innovate at a reasonable and economic level, because there's a lot of great ideas but they never see the light of day because they can't find a way to fund them. The Silicon Catalyst incubator provides startups a great way to take care of the big expenditures that happen right off.  Outside of people, when you do a semiconductor startup you're going to worry about design tools and then foundry access. Another aspect of the Silicon Catalyst incubator is the mentoring of the startup’s technical founders on how to run their business.  I’m looking forward to interacting with those technical innovators and hopefully make them more successful. I am also excited about both the prospects for the company and my involvement to help drive semiconductor innovation and overall industry growth,” added Hogan.


A Conversation with

Jim Hogan


Click on audio files to listen

July 30, 2018

Excelpoint makes investment in Silicon Catalyst Portfolio Company CLOPTech

▪    Maiden investment of S$0.3 million in a convertible loan in Singapore-based semiconductor chip design company, CLOP Technologies Pte. Ltd. (“CLOPTech”).
▪    CLOPTech is a spin-off company from A*STAR, a Singapore Government-funded research agency, and a portfolio company of early-stage tech investor, “IncuVest” and semiconductor/hardware start-up accelerators, “Silicon Solution Partners” in Singapore, and “Silicon Catalyst” in Silicon Valley, USA.
▪    The investment is part of Excelpoint’s strategy to invest in, support and collaborate with early- to mid-stage start-ups in Singapore and Asia that are related to the Internet of Things (“IoT”) ecosystem.

SGX mainboard-listed Excelpoint Technology Ltd. (“Excelpoint” or “the Group”), is pleased to announce that its wholly-owned subsidiary, PlanetSpark Pte. Ltd. (“PlanetSpark”), the Group’s entrepreneurial and investment arm, has undertaken its maiden investment of S$0.3 million in CLOPTech, a Singapore-based company with deep technology know-hows, design experience and intellectual properties in semiconductor chip design.  

Established in 2015, CLOPTech has global business partnerships with foundries, equipment manufacturers and technology providers. Their intellectual-property protected commercial chipset product, CT6100 – 60GHz baseband, has been customized for use in long-range wireless infrastructure products, and it has secured lead customer orders for product design integration.

As a leading regional business-to-business platform providing quality electronic components with integrated research and development capabilities, Excelpoint has been an integral part of the global electronics technology value chain for more than 30 years. 

Recognizing that IoT applications are expected to be integrated into communities (such as Smart Cities and Smart Homes among others) in the near future, Excelpoint has made a strategic focus to broaden its business model with this emerging market segment.  Starting with an investment commitment of S$5 million, PlanetSpark targets to identify and invest in IoT innovators and start-up activities, focusing on the development of viable technological products and solutions that caters to the growing market opportunities related to the global IoT ecosystem.  With Excelpoint’s extensive business presence and networks within the Asia Pacific region, together with its emphasis on innovation, PlanetSpark is positioned as a platform for these start-ups in Singapore and Asia to accelerate their growth and stay ahead of the innovation curve in the global electronics and technology industries.

Mr. Albert Phuay Yong Hen, Chairman and Group Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) of Excelpoint Technology Ltd., said, “We are very excited for this investment and partnership with CLOPTech. Our team sees the potential and strengths of CLOPTech’s capabilities in semiconductor chip design, particularly their focus on wireless connectivity, which will provide a strategic edge within the growing IoT ecosystem. With the establishment of PlanetSpark, we look forward to supporting and accelerating the growth of innovative and high-potential start-ups, where their technical capabilities and technological solutions in IoT can complement what Excelpoint has been offering over the years, and together, we can create positive impacts across global markets.” 

“Excelpoint is a well-established and prominent electronics industry player in this region. We are equally excited to partner with them, and deliver technologies and solutions to address the Global Smart Cities and IoT industry,” said Mr. Albert Chai, CEO of CLOPTech.   

About Excelpoint Technology Ltd. 
Excelpoint Technology Ltd. (“Excelpoint” or “the Group”) and its subsidiaries are a leading regional business-to-business platform providing quality electronic components, engineering design services and supply chain management to original equipment manufacturers (“OEMs”), original design manufacturers (“ODMs”) and electronics manufacturing services (“EMS”) in the Asia Pacific region. EBN, a premier online community for global supply chain professionals, recognised Excelpoint Technology Ltd. as one of its Top 25 Global Electronics Distributors in 2017. 

Excelpoint works closely with its principals to create innovative solutions to complement its customers’ products and solutions. Aimed at improving its customers’ operational efficiency and cost competitiveness, the Group has set up research and development centres in Singapore and China that are helmed by its dedicated team of professional engineers. 
Established in 1987 and headquartered in Singapore, Excelpoint’s business presence spans more than 10 countries across Asia Pacific with a workforce of more than 700 people from different nationalities and cultural backgrounds. 
For more information on Excelpoint, please visit www.excelpoint.com

About PlanetSpark Pte. Ltd. 
PlanetSpark Pte. Ltd. (“PlanetSpark”), an entrepreneurial and investment arm of Excelpoint Technology Ltd., invests in, supports and collaborates with promising early- to mid-stage start-ups in Singapore and Asia that are related to the Internet of Things (“IoT”) ecosystem. For more information on PlanetSpark, please visit www.planetspark.com.sg

About CLOP Technologies Pte. Ltd. 
CLOP Technologies Pte. Ltd. (“CLOPTech”) is a privately-owned technology company that  spun off from A*STAR, a Singapore Government-funded research agency.

With a vision to provide affordable and low latency wireless solutions and smart connectivity, CLOPTech builds on core IC design capabilities, supplies custom chipsets for high speed wireless connectivity, and delivers complete end-to-end solutions to address Smart Cities and IoT markets.

CLOPTech is one of the few fabless semiconductor start-up companies globally. It is a portfolio company of semiconductor/hardware start-up accelerators, “Silicon Solution Partners” in Singapore, and “Silicon Catalyst” in Silicon Valley, USA. CLOPTech’s latest investment funding round was led by Singapore early-stage tech investor, “IncuVest”. 
For more information on CLOPTech, please visit www.cloptech.com


June 12, 2018

Silicon Catalyst announces significant strengthening of its leadership team

Silicon Valley, CA, Silicon Catalyst, the only incubator for solutions in silicon, announces significant strengthening of its leadership team.

  • Semiconductor industry veteran Pete Rodriguez, who joined Silicon Catalyst in 2017, has accepted the CEO role.

  • Silicon Catalyst co-founder and serial entrepreneur Rick Lazansky steps into the Chairman role, where he will continue doing what he does best as Chief Entrepreneur and Chief Strategist.

  • Managing Partner Nick Kepler, who for the past three years has driven the significant progress at Silicon Catalyst, is promoted to COO.

Pete Rodriguez is a veteran of the semiconductor industry, with an impressive history of leading both large public companies and small startups to success. From CEO of Xpedion Design Systems to CEO of Exar to VP & GM at NXP, Pete has demonstrated an excellent ability to establish and build successful teams, deliver great products, and grow revenue.  

Semiconductor industry luminary David French states, “I am very pleased to be joining the Silicon Catalyst team, both as an advisor and an investor. The strong operational team led by Pete and Nick has led me to commit time and significant capital to help make Silicon Catalyst the global leader in incubating semiconductor companies.” 

Silicon Catalyst has grown its semiconductor ecosystem to 75 advisors, over 70 investors and 27 industry-leading partner companies, including key strategic partners Texas Instruments and ON Semiconductor. In the past 30 months, Silicon Catalyst has reviewed over 200 startups from the U.S., Europe and Asia and has admitted 16 to the incubator.  These startups are developing innovations in energy harvesting, silicon photonics, memory technology, wireless communications, smart lighting, machine learning, biomedical devices, and more.  Silicon Catalyst is planning for significant growth in 2018 and is targeting to launch internationally in key industry markets.

"ON Semiconductor's growth has been fueled by the cultivation of strategic business and technologies, complimentary to areas where we are innovating internally," said Mamoon Rashid, senior vice president of strategic business ventures at ON Semiconductor. “My role is to look outside the company and fill innovation and technology gaps, and the need for a strong ecosystem for the development of new semiconductor companies and their innovations is clear. ON Semiconductor is excited to participate in the Silicon Catalyst ecosystem, both gaining access to early silicon innovations as well as providing guidance and intellectual resources needed to support ongoing development in the semiconductor industry."

“Venture capital investment in semiconductor startups has been stalled for the past decade,” stated Yatin Mundkur, partner at Artiman Ventures.  “Silicon Catalyst has put together an ecosystem that makes it interesting, fun, and profitable to be back in the game.”

John East, former CEO of Actel and Senior Advisor to Silicon Catalyst startup SPARK Microsystems, added, “I’m having a blast working with all the startups and young entrepreneurs connected to Silicon Catalyst!  They have a tremendous amount of talent and energy.  I’m thankful that they value my experience, and it’s exciting to contribute to their success.”

“Synopsys values startups that are creating novel solutions in silicon and contributing to growth of the semiconductor industry,” said Sassine Ghazi, Corporate Staff, co-GM Design Group at Synopsys. “The ecosystem that Silicon Catalyst has pulled together helps the strongest of these startups succeed. As an important member of this ecosystem, Synopsys supports early-stage startups to develop the next wave of product innovations and build strong relationships with technology disruptors.”  

Doug Kirkpatrick, former Program Manager and Chief Scientist at DARPA, and CEO of Silicon Catalyst startup Eridan Communications, said, “The Silicon Catalyst team is broad, diverse, and deep. Our Advisor and his Silicon Catalyst teammates have helped us identify a process node for our integrated CMOS IC and they’re working closely with us to help implement our design. We love working with them – they give us a bench strength and knowledge base of the ecosystem that is invaluable to startups like ours.”

Management Team Bios

CEO: Pete Rodriguez has over 30 years of experience in the Semiconductor industry.  Prior to Silicon Catalyst Pete was VP & GM of Interface and Power at NXP Semiconductors. Prior to NXP Pete was CEO of Exar Corporation, CEO of Xpedion Design Systems, Chief Marketing Officer at Virage Logic and Major Account Manager at LSI Logic. Pete spent twelve years as an entrepreneur with three different startups and has raised over $30 Million in venture capital.  He also retired from the US Naval Reserves with the rank of Commander. Pete has served on public, private, advisory and non-profit boards of directors.  He is a graduate in strategy and policy of the Naval War College, has an MBA from Pepperdine University, an MSEE from Cal Poly Pomona, and a BS in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology.

Chairman: Rick Lazansky is a serial entrepreneur, active investor, and coach of many startups. Rick was inspired to start Silicon Catalyst by the growth of software startups, supported by incubators, accelerators, and open source software, and the need for ‘hard’ technologies to have the same level of ecosystem support. Rick has invested in more than 40 startups as an angel investor with Sand Hill Angels and as an LP in several venture funds. He had coached startup projects and classes at Stanford, Carnegie Mellon University, UC Santa Cruz and Berkeley. His startups include Vantage Analysis Systems, Denali Software, and RedSpark. He has served as a Board Director at three other incubators – i-GATE Hub in Livermore, Batchery in Berkeley, and Barcelona Ventures in Catalonia. He has a BA/BS in Economics and Information Science and an MS in SC/CE from Stanford.

COO: Nick Kepler has over 30 years of experience in the semiconductor industry, with varied leadership and technology management roles including semiconductor process technology development and manufacturing, design enablement, technical program management, and customer-facing marketing and technical sales.  Prior to Silicon Catalyst, Nick was VP of Products for SuVolta, a startup developing semiconductor technology IP.  Prior to SuVolta, Nick was VP of Corporate Program Management and previously VP of Design Enablement at GLOBALFOUNDRIES.  Nick spent 23 years at AMD in a variety of management and technical roles concluding with VP, Advanced CMOS Process Technology Development.  Nick has BS and MS degrees in EECS from the University of California at Berkeley.



May 16th, 2018

Silicon Catalyst adds RF transceiver startup Eridan Communications to its growing list of Portfolio Companies

Silicon Valley, CA, Silicon Catalyst, the world’s only startup incubator focused exclusively on solutions in silicon, announces the admission of the RF transceiver startup company Eridan Communications into the incubator.

Eridan Communications is developing RF transceiver technology for 5G software-defined power transceiver applications.  Their solution is spectrum-flexible from VHF through 6 GHz, and offers unprecedented data bandwidth-efficiency and unequalled power efficiency.  It is applicable to 5G wireless infrastructure, defense and first responder, and IoT applications.

Eridan Communications is led by CEO Doug Kirkpatrick, former Chief Scientist at DARPA, and CTO Earl McCune, former founder and CTO of Tropian.  Earl offered, “Like all startup companies, we have limited resources.  Silicon Catalyst has pulled together an excellent ecosystem of In-Kind Partners, such as Mathworks and Keysight, that provide their goods and services at no cost or dramatically reduced cost.  That’s a huge benefit for us.  In addition, the Silicon Catalyst team and their network of Advisors will help us go to market more effectively.  We’re excited to join Silicon Catalyst.”

Doug Kirkpatrick added, “We were surprised to learn of the value that the Silicon Catalyst ecosystem provides to startups such as Eridan Communications in exchange for a relatively small amount of common equity.  Eridan’s incubation by Silicon Catalyst is a terrific complement to our series-A fundraising.  We look forward to working with Silicon Catalyst to change the industry with Eridan’s RF transceiver technology.”

Silicon Catalyst founder and Chairman Rick Lazansky said, “Eridan Communications is a perfect fit for Silicon Catalyst.  They have a strong team, feasibility demonstration of a differentiated technology that will impact several significant markets, and a need to integrate their current solution into an integrated circuit.  Doug and his team are exactly the type of startup we envisioned when we started creating the Silicon Catalyst ecosystem of In-Kind Partners, Strategic Partners, Advisors, and Investors.”

In the past 30 months, Silicon Catalyst has reviewed over 200 startups from the U.S., Europe, and Asia. The 16 startups admitted to the incubator are developing innovative solutions in a variety of areas including energy harvesting, wearables, silicon photonics, memory technology, IoT, high performance computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, wireless communications, and biomedical devices. 

About Eridan Communications

Eridan’s breakthrough transceiver technology enables breathtaking wireless capabilities and allows for unprecedented communications systems performance. Combining breakthrough gallium nitride devices and a novel system architecture, Eridan is enabling a new level of spectrum efficiency, bandwidth efficiency, and power efficiency – simultaneously and without tradeoffs. With applications from 5G wireless infrastructure to handsets and from Vehicle-to-Everything to IoT, Eridan’s products will affect every facet of future wireless business. Eridan was founded in late 2013 by four Silicon Valley serial entrepreneurs, has developed an extensive IP portfolio on its unique technology, and has delivered early prototypes to first systems developers.

Visit Eridan Communications at http://www.eridancommunications.com/


April 4, 2018

Silvaco and Silicon Catalyst announce that they are teaming up to provide silicon proven IP, a critical element to the rejuvenated semiconductor startup ecosystem.

Silicon Valley, CA, Silvaco, a leading EDA and IP provider, and Silicon Catalyst, the world’s only startup incubator focused exclusively on solutions in silicon, announce that they are teaming up to provide silicon proven IP, a critical element to the rejuvenated semiconductor startup ecosystem.

 Silvaco is making its extensive portfolio of IP available to Silicon Catalyst Portfolio Companies. Under the agreement, Silvaco’s IP blocks and subsystems are available at no cost to eligible Silicon Catalyst Portfolio Companies. IP is one of the most expensive and essential elements of semiconductor development. This agreement enables semiconductor startup companies access to IP that was previously out of their reach. Silvaco’s offer also includes training and support.

Fares Mubarak, SPARK Microsystems CEO said, “We have an opportunity to make a real difference in radio technology. Our technology has proven to make best use of radio spectrum, and the applications are massive. But as a startup, we have limited resources. We really need to apply our scarce engineering resources to our differentiators, and take advantage of the available IP. Up to now, we could not do this because the cost of quality IP is simply out of reach. Now thanks to Silvaco’s generous move, we’ll be able to access the advanced IP that we need to bring our solution to market.”

“We are seeing a revitalized semiconductor start-up market in recent years with the advance of highly specialized solutions being needed in the IoT and Automotive markets. Our start-up customers tell us that a key element they need for their success is IP, and we are in a position to help them with that. We’re looking forward to helping launch a new generation of successful semiconductor companies,” said Warren Savage, General Manager of the IP Division of Silvaco.

Rick Lazansky, CEO of Silicon Catalyst said “Over the past two years, Silicon Catalyst has been working with key industry players to develop a complete ecosystem that economically and effectively supports the new wave of semiconductor startups that we are seeing today. Our Portfolio Companies have consistently been requesting IP as the critical element that we had not been able to deliver. Silvaco’s offering fulfills a real hole that has been impeding the success of these startups. We are glad to deliver this capability as we continue to build the semiconductor start up ecosystem.”

In the past 30 months, Silicon Catalyst has reviewed over 200 startups from the U.S., Europe, and Asia. The 16 startups admitted to the incubator are developing innovative solutions in a variety of areas including energy harvesting, wearables, silicon photonics, memory technology, IoT, high performance computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, wireless communications, and biomedical devices. 

About Silvaco Inc.

Silvaco, Inc. is a leading EDA and IP provider of software tools used for process and device development and for analog/mixed-signal, power IC and memory design. Silvaco delivers a full TCAD-to-sign-off flow for vertical markets including: displays, power electronics, optical devices, radiation and soft error reliability and advanced CMOS process and IP development. For over 30 years, Silvaco has enabled its customers to bring superior products to market with reduced cost and in the shortest time. The company is headquartered in Santa Clara, California and has a global presence with offices located in North America, Europe, Japan and Asia.

Visit Silvaco at http://www.silvaco.com


March 14, 2018

Silicon Catalyst Admits Deep Learning Startup

Silicon Valley, CA, Silicon Catalyst, the world’s only startup incubator focused exclusively on semiconductor solutions, announces the admission of the reconfigurable high-performance computing company Xceler Systems into the incubator.

Xceler’s patent pending revolutionary Artificial Intelligence technology provides at least 10x performance improvement over existing CPUs and GPUs with no change in source code in applications such as next generation IoT or Edge Applications. Xceler Systems applies Deep Learning techniques to optimally reconfigure Xceler Graph Engine for a wide variety of applications, enabling new engines to be deployed in as little as 30 minutes, while reducing power requirements to 1/10th of GPUs.

Xceler Systems founder Gautam Kavipurapu has a lengthy history of innovation, including inventing packet-based interconnects in PC systems, graph-based router with plug in FPGA cards with offload processing similar to NFV and tensor flow, coupled with a track record of entrepreneurial success. Kavipurapu said “Through several decades of invention, I am most excited about the potential for Xceler Graph Engine to drive forward all applications that can benefit from artificial intelligence.”

Diane Miller, Head of Marketing, Ectron Corporation said “We were looking to grow our business and launch new product lines and were introduced to Xceler Systems.  We decided to partner with them to offer cutting edge machine learning based Industrial IoT solutions to our customers.”

Silicon Catalyst CEO Rick Lazansky said, “Xceler is the company that I envisioned would emerge when we founded Silicon Catalyst. Xceler’s Artificial Technology can make a strong impact on an immense range of our lives including autonomous automobiles, robotics, and any number of everyday applications that we take for granted today. ”

In the past 30 months, Silicon Catalyst has reviewed over 200 startups from the U.S., Europe, and Asia. The 14 startups admitted to the incubator are developing innovative solutions in a variety of areas including energy harvesting, wearables, silicon photonics, memory technology, IoT, high performance computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, wireless communications, and biomedical devices. 

About Xceler Systems

Xceler Systems Inc. was founded in 2016.  The Xceler team has been involved in several firsts in the industry. The Xceler team has experience in Semiconductors, Systems, Networking, Computing, Signal Processing and Communications. Xceler’s objective is to enable the next generation intelligent edge with the ability to run machine learning and AI algorithms. Visit Xceler Systems at http://xcelersystems.com


February 12, 2018

Power Down Semiconductor Joins Silicon Catalyst to Power Down Next Generation of Electronics

Silicon Valley, CA, Silicon Catalyst, the global incubator focused exclusively on solutions in silicon announces the admittance of Power Down Semiconductor. Power Down provides the technology that bridges the gap between the great demand on smarter next generation electronics and the greater energy demands of that intelligence.

From Smart Homes to Autonomous Vehicles, the electronic revolution is demanding smarter and smarter electronics, placing a huge burden on the ability to power these devices. The smarter electronics become, the more power they require. Power has become a dominant constraint on modern electronics, and left unresolved will curtail the pace of advancement of electronics. Power Down’s Founder and CEO, David Huffman has been addressing this issue for three decades, and is now commercializing the unique technique that he has developed.

Huffman said, “I’ve dedicated my professional life to the issue of lowering the power requirements of electronic systems. Power Down Semiconductor is providing the solution that will empower the next generation of electronics by reducing power needs by up to 90% without sacrificing performance.  PD Semi’s “Low Power Processing” (or LPP) technology leverages a novel multi-level charge recycling technique which actually raises the supply rail in order to maximize the speed of the devices.  Other competing low power IC companies are reducing power by crushing the supply rail to a few hundreds of millivolts, but that power reduction comes with a big performance hit along with reduced noise margin and soft errors. Our silicon-proven solution will find its way into battery-less IoT products as well as LCD and OLED display panels.  Silicon Catalyst provides exactly the support needed to commercialize Power Down’s technology. I am confident that Silicon Catalyst was the right choice for my company and the technology we're trying to introduce to the world.!”

“The next generation of electronic systems simply will not happen without aggressive techniques to harness the coming out-of-control power demands”, said Rick Lazansky, CEO of Silicon Catalyst. “Power Down Semiconductor is an excellent example of today’s semiconductor-focused startups providing the innovation that the electronics ecosystem thrives on.” 

In the past 30 months, Silicon Catalyst has reviewed over 200 start-ups from the U.S., Europe, and Asia. The 14 startups admitted to the incubator are developing innovative solutions in a variety of areas including in energy harvesting, wearables, silicon photonics, memory technology, IoT, high performance computing, machine learning, wireless communications, and biomedical devices. 

About Power Down Semiconductor

Power Down Semiconductor was founded with a very simple goal in mind: Reduce integrated circuit power consumption.  We strive to squeeze every picowatt from your chip's transistors while maintaining the performance that you require.

Visit Power Down Semiconductor at www.powerdownsemi.com

January 16, 2018

Intrinsix and Silicon Catalyst add Semiconductor design and IP In-Kind access to rapidly expanding semiconductor start up ecosystem

Silicon Valley, CA, Intrinsix Corp., an advanced semiconductor design services firm, and Silicon Catalyst, the only incubator focused exclusively on semiconductor solutions startups, announced today that they have established an in-kind partnership for semiconductor design services and IP. This partnership provides Silicon Catalyst’s portfolio companies with access to experienced chip designers and IP to bring their products to market. 

Silicon Catalyst’s vibrant and growing portfolio of early stage companies need proven semiconductor design services to fuel their growth. Intrinsix addresses this need with IP and design services to support the full scope of semiconductor design, including leading edge digital, analog, RF and mixed-signal ICs. Intrinsix services for Silicon Catalyst Portfolio Companies span from product concept to fabricated and validated ICs ready for commercialization. In addition, Intrinsix is providing over 100 unique IP cores for design and verification including such elements as an extensive suite of processor peripherals for digital and mixed signal infrastructure chips, a family of analog jumpstart kits with building blocks for power, precision analog and RF projects, and a Cryptographic NSA Suite B Security Subsystem.

“By bringing world-class design capabilities and intellectual property from Intrinsix to our Portfolio Companies, this in-kind partnership enables our startups to accelerate their time to market and reduce commercialization risk,” stated Silicon Catalyst COO Pete Rodriguez. “Moreover, Intrinsix analog, AMS and RF-focused design services and IP nicely complement our existing network of in-kind goods and services which include EDA tools, PDK access, design services, silicon access, test equipment and other critical capabilities.”

Intrinsix has a 30-year history of creating semiconductors that work right the first time. Over this period, the company has contributed to the success of numerous early-stage companies.

“While in the initial stages of developing our breakthrough electronic lab-on-a-chip for medical applications, we turned to Intrinsix for IC and system level architectural assistance and trade-off analysis”, said John LaLonde, COO of TheoremDX.  “While we know semiconductors and the markets for medical devices, Intrinsix has outstanding expertise with the wide breadth of technology options. Their ability to architect and design at the leading edge has given us a distinct market advantage to quickly chart our course, budget correctly and start down the path to optimum silicon with confidence. 

This in-kind partnership brings resources, IP and a deep knowledge base from Intrinsix to a new generation of product innovators in their formative stage.

“Intrinsix is proud to support Silicon Catalyst’s vision of reenergizing the semiconductor startup community and ecosystem.  We look forward to collaborating with these early-stage companies as they develop their innovative products.” said Jim Gobes, CEO at Intrinsix.  “Our working knowledge of, but independence from, the vast selection of fabs, technologies, tools, and IP that will become the core building blocks for these exciting start-ups will be pivotal as they decide their future.”

In the past 24 months, Silicon Catalyst has screened over 140 start-ups from the U.S., Europe, and Asia. The 14 startups admitted to the incubator are developing innovative solutions in a variety of areas including in energy harvesting, wearables, silicon photonics, memory technology, IoT, high performance computing, machine learning, wireless communications, and biomedical devices. 

About Intrinsix Corp.

Intrinsix Corp., headquartered in Marlborough, MA USA, is a design services company for advanced semiconductors with clients around the globe. The company has been servicing the needs of electronic product and semiconductor companies for more than 30 years. Intrinsix has the platforms, process and people to ensure first-turn success for industry-leading semiconductors.  

Visit its website at https://www.intrinsix.com