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December - 2015 - issue > Startup of the Year: Semiconductor IP

Krivi Semiconductors: Joined the Elite Club by Pioneering Inimitable Features

si Team
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
si Team
Semiconductor IP development is an expensive and risky venture that crushes startups with behemoth of pressure. Though startups have been the major contributors to the key innovations in semiconductor arena, there is virtually no interest among investors towards these start-ups due to industry consolidation and high risk. Semiconductor IP development requires a startup to create a test-chip, fabricate, package and test that chip. Not only there is a big price tag attached to each of these items, but tragically there is no ecosystem available in India to accommodate these requirements.

Nevertheless, none of these brass tacks extinguished the zeal of a few highly-motivated employees to form an innovative IP company. When ARM, the UK-based semiconductor IP Company, decided to exit from memory interface PHY business, these employees, holding over ten U.S patents to their credit, led by Nidhir (who later on became the CEO of the new company) founded KRIVI semiconductors to operate as an independent company. This laid the foundation for a competent engineering team in the new company with solid experience in state-of-the-art memory interface IP and IO pad library products.

Sheer Focus on Innovation

While the entire founding team came from ARM, this spared the battle of recruiting experienced engineers. But Krivi still had to accomplish the Herculean task of finding partners across the globe and ramping up local vendors to tackle the dearth of semiconductor ecosystem in India. Lack of vibrant startup scenario in India has limited the IC design activity to big MNCs who don't make sourcing decision. Chanting the mantra, 'Stay in game for some time and we will get going', the Krivi team concentrated on building products with differentiated features that compete quite favourably in benchmark performance, power and area. For instance, its DDR IO pad is 30 percent smaller compared to largest selling competitor.

This inimitable phenomenon along with Krivi's unique ability in cutting down the cost of product development to half with its low cost ecosystem, bestowed the company with top-notch customers. The company has gone through complete cycle of IP conceptualization to test chip, packaging, board design and silicon testing without local eco-system or external funding, which places Krivi in an elite league, where only a handful of Indian companies belong.

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