New Silicon Value Announces New Business Model For Fabless Semiconductor Start-Ups

Xcubator™ Engagement Strategy Significantly Reduces Risk and Cost of Chip Development


CUPERTINO, California - January 29, 2002 - New Silicon Value plc (NSV), a leading semiconductor provider for ultra-high density full-custom ASICs, announced that it has introduced a new business model to significantly reduce the risk and expense associated with chip development and production for new fabless semiconductor start-ups. The engagement model, Xcubator™, eliminates the need for emerging technology companies to establish their own internal COT (Customer Owned Tooling) operation by relying on NSV's proven strength in chip level design where the chip is efficiently mapped onto silicon. This unique business strategy allows start-ups to concentrate on their core strengths while saving investment money, time and engineering resources associated with establishing their own COT department and buying design tools.

"It is an expensive and risky proposition to establish an internal COT operation that is capable of cranking out complex designs from the onset," said Vacit Arat, CEO of NSV. "The cost to tape out your first chip may add up to $5 million to $10 million that comes out of the precious early investment rounds for start-up companies. We are instituting Xcubator™ as a solution to initially relieve start-ups from this burden, allowing such companies with limited resources to build a cost effective and efficient chip much faster than using internal COT. "

To COT or Not to COT
Most emerging fabless ASIC companies are innovators of a new concept or system architecture where value and expertise come from designing a chip from concept to RTL, but not necessarily from RTL to silicon. Traditionally, these start-ups have relied on their own COT operation because of the ability to control their own chip implementation destiny including cost, capacity, quality and flexibility. However, as chips grow in size and complexity, these technology innovators are forced to spend valuable time and monetary resources on tools and design technology to map their design onto silicon. This is a risky endeavor, especially when designing a multi-million-gate chip with ambitious performance goals for the first time with a brand new design team. As experts in siliconization - that is taking designs from RTL to silicon - NSV eliminates the need for companies to establish an internal COT operation during the early phases of the companies' life and provides a cost effective and proven design solution that speeds their time-to-market.

"NSV reduces risk for their customers and the investors that support them," added Arat. " If you are a start-up doing one or two chips a year, the ability to rely upon the proven design expertise, methods, and services that NSV offers is a huge advantage in terms of cost, time and opportunity, not to mention the additional advantages offered by our automated full-custom design technology"

How Xcubator Works
The Xcubator engagement model allows start-ups to work with NSV initially as if they are developing an ASIC with a typical ASIC company, meaning they provide NSV with the RTL or gate-level netlist for their chip. NSV then completes the physical design of the chip using its unique, automated full-custom technology called ASiX™, manufactures the silicon and delivers working prototypes and pre-production quantities. This phase may involve several spins of the chip as desired by the customer, as well as rigorous reliability testing, qualification, and stabilization of yields as the production ramp takes place. NSV then transfers ownership of the physical design to the start-up and it remains in a support and maintenance mode through the production phase of the chip, giving start-ups the flexibility to work directly with NSV's supply chain network of established manufacturing partners. The result is a highly competitive production-ready chip with small die size and low power at a fraction of the cost of using an internal COT operation.

About New Silicon Value
New Silicon Value plc, a subsidiary of Zen Research plc (LSE: ZEN), is a leading ASIC manufacturer that specializes in ultra-high performance and ultra-high-density ASICs targeted for communications and consumer applications. Its breakthrough full-custom design technology, the SiliconMaster™, enables quick integration and timing closure of complex, high-performance designs in small silicon areas - often as small as half the die size of other cell-based ASICs. This results in unprecedented reductions in manufacturing costs; integration of much more circuitry on single chips; higher performance; lower power consumption and faster time-to-market. New Silicon Value plc has offices in Cupertino, California; Boxboro, Massachusetts; and Jerusalem, Israel.


Editorial Contacts:
Thomas Blaesi
Silicon Value, Inc.
+1 (408) 863 2783
Email Contact

Mark Way
Zen Research plc
+44 (20) 7382 0470
Email Contact

# # #


This press release contains forward-looking statements regarding among other things the future success of New Silicon Value's Xcubator ™ business model, ASiX ™ chip design technology, SiliconMaster ™ custom design technology and other aspects of New Silicon Value technology. These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual events and results may differ materially from those described in these forward-looking statements, as a result of several factors, including the successful implementation of New Silicon Value technology, the ability of New Silicon Value to successfully market and sell its products under current market conditions, and other risk factors.

ASiX and SiliconMaster are registered trademarks of New Silicon Value, Inc. All other product names or company names are mentioned for identification purposes only, and may be trademarks of their respective owners.


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