October - 2014 - issue > Startup of the Year - Semiconductor

SilabTech: Conceptualizing and Developing In-House IPs

Sumant Hebballi
Monday, November 24, 2014
Sumant Hebballi
Startups can always be tricky; there is no carved formula which will guarantee its success. Any entrepreneur while ideating to establish a company has to simultaneously figure out ways to keep their company afloat. And in order to keep a startup running, the two obvious but essential requirements are customers and a talented team. But for the Silicon IP companies, there is yet an additional challenge that they have to overcome in order to stay in the market - the gestation period of product development and its acceptance. Since in this industry, the growth is not rapid, it takes a while for their IP to come to the market. "The way it works is different, the design process sometimes takes 18 to 24 months to get the first designs proven," says Sujoy Chakravarty, Founder & CEO, SilabTech Pvt Ltd. But this 2012 founded semiconductor company works on high speed SERDES space and builds design blocks which are the building blocks of ICs. Within just seven months of its inception, the company designed test chip containing 2 high speed SERDES, low jitter PLLs and ADC, and power management IP in leading edge 28nm technology. The company has also designed several other IPs in other technology nodes and at higher speeds and lower powers, thus making it the preferred choice by several organizations.

The founders' years of industry experience made this success viable in such short span of time. But still they had to travel through all the startup glitches including finding the right talent and keeping the organization financially afloat to make it big in the industry. Though the funding crunch was addressed by the investors, but it still strives to get the key to success right, i.e., employees. "It is a reality in the startup ecosystem especially silicon space, that even your past experience is not counted and no consumer comes to you unless you have proven silicon. For the first couple of years, the company has to sustain on its own and prove mettle," adds Sujoy.

The Up Thrust
The decreasing silicon chips cost has put immense pressure for the chip manufacturers. In order to curb the cost involved in manufacturing, companies have to further optimize their solutions. And it is in here where company's like SilabTech come in handy, as they help design the common building blocks which are used by several chip makers. This fully Indian-origin design house conceptualizes and develops all IPs in-house. This helps them reduce the OPEX and the CAPEX. The Hi-tech IP work carried out by the company is done by very few in the world.
SilabTech does not use the most conducive fastest technology nodes for fast SERDES IP development, but focuses on using the slower 'LP' technology nodes and push performance in these. "This is especially important in the design of modern day low leakage SOCs that would otherwise have to choose a higher standby power technology for lack of good SERDES IP," adds Sujoy. The vertically agnostic company caters its IP to various verticals including mobile space, app processes, enterprise, consumer based and even automotive companies.

With things falling on their right place, SilabTech has created a flat organization with a strong team of around 30 personnel where each employee is dedicated to go a step ahead than what is expected of them and reach the next level of perfection. This is why, SilabTech has been constantly recognized by customers for its leading power numbers and concentrated area. The company is dedicated to give its best in every vertical it takes up. It is also working on focusing on much higher speed category, and achieve some of the best performance numbers in regards to that.

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