March - 2014 - issue > Cover Story

Mobiveil: Riding the Rapidly Emerging Silicon IP Wave

Anamika Sahu
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Anamika Sahu
What is the perception of a typical two-year old technology startup? A small office where management team is busy framing strategies and working on refining business plans while the engineers are busy developing the initial prototypes. While this is the case with many startups, with Mobiveil, the story is different. The two-year old startup has established itself as one of the preeminent players in the Semiconductor Intellectual Property (SIP) industry by delivering key semiconductor IP components for the data center and wireless infrastructure market. The company has assembled a team of 100 plus employees and has been awarded the best startup in the VLSI/Embedded area. The company established a worldwide sales network that has licensed SIP to brand name customers in the U.S., China, Korea, Taiwan and Europe. Unlike many other companies where the India center is an afterthought, Mobiveil, started its India Development Center (IDC) at the same time it established its head office in Milpitas, California. Kudos goes to the founding team of Ravi Thummarukudy, Gopa Periyadan, Amit Saxena and Srinivasan Durai.

The success factor behind Mobiveil is the founding executives and the core engineering teams who have worked together for the last decade. The team understands a constantly evolving market, customers, competitors and partners. According to CEO Ravi Thummarukudy, the team's strength lies in complementary skills and capabilities and a common vision and culture forged over ten years of working together at their previous startup, GDA Technologies, Inc., (GDA). While Thummarukudy brings over twenty five years of experience in semiconductor IP and electronic design automation, Gopa Periyadan supplies business development skills honed managing large sales operations. Technologist Amit Saxena's contribution is over ten years developing semiconductor IP that has seen successful production in millions of devices. Managing Director of India operations, Srinivasan Durai brings the engineering leadership and India's talented technology workforce to the company. The team has worked cohesively through the up markets of 1998-2000, 2005-2007 and the down markets of 2001-2003 and 2008-2009. This solid foundation brings unique strength to Mobiveil.

Before the venture came into being, the founders identified several large companies providing electronic design services, and determined that none of them were providing both new technology and products in the semiconductor IP space. The founders saw an unfilled market need and in 2012, made the bold move to form the new entity, Mobiveil. This new venture would concentrate on developing new technologies for licensing and provide engineering services for high-growth applications in datacenter, storage, communications and consumer markets. Besides licensing, technology developed for these vertical applications, the company also provided value added services: hardware design, embedded software development, SOC verification and validation, hardware. In a short span of two years, Mobiveil has an impressive list of high profile customers including Samsung, LSI Logic, CSR, IXIA, Sanmina, Silicon Motion, Altera, and Marvel Semiconductor among others.

Today, Mobiveil is one of the pioneers in developing semiconductor IP technology and licensing it to customers worldwide. The company's designs are deployed in millions of silicon chips throughout the communications, consumer and wireless infrastructure products worldwide. "Semiconductor and hardware design is our background and is part of our being," declares Thummarukudy. "The experience that we hold and the network of partners and customers that we have created globally over the years has helped us zero-in on starting another company in the semiconductor space after GDA". Thummarukudy foresees a huge opportunity in this space in the coming years as almost all products are getting embedded with complex semiconductor designs; communication, automotive, toys or gaming. The fast emerging Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to accelerate this trend even faster. This presents a major requirement for fast-paced electronic product development. To exploit a rapidly developing market opportunity when their internal engineering teams are fully engaged, large semiconductor companies are engaging partners with broad IP Portfolio and specialized design experience to fill this vacuum. "over time, the many small Silicon Valley semiconductor companies were either acquired by giants or closed down due to financial crises. Today, the cost of establishing a new semiconductor startup is so high that even large venture capital firms are not willing to fund such companies. The void created by the shortage of VC funded semiconductor companies is filled by semiconductor IP companies today, and has been a blessing for us," explains Thummarukudy.

Working for small semiconductor companies always posed financial risk for their suppliers. "We never knew if we would have a repeat business and always had to worry about collecting payments," states Thummarukudy. "However, the market has matured with larger & more stable companies in operation at the moment. With these big players, we feel safer. We don't have to worry about their longevity or repeat business, as they are stable entities and renowned names in the industry. What we provide them is amongst the best available technologies in the market," adds Thummarukudy.

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