Q3 2011 was an excellent sales quarter for Silicon Frontline, and Q4 2011 was the best revenue quarter for the company in its history. January 2012 bookings have already reached the same level as the bookings of the entirety of Q1 2011. Next month, Silicon Frontline will announce a new partnership agreement. Stay tuned!
Late Breaking News Release from Silicon Frontline
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Special thanks to Ms. Georgia Marszalek (ValleyPR LLC) and Mr. Dermott Lynch (Silicon Frontline) for their kind assistance to the EDA WEEKLY writer in preparing this article. The cooperation of the other principals of Silicon Frontline is also gratefully acknowledged.
In the annals of EDA history, “Breker” just may be that unusual company name least associated with chip design or verification. Or is it?
Meet Adnan Hamid, co-founder and CEO of Breker Verification Systems, as he picks up the story: “I was getting an MBA at the University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business on weekends.”
“During our orientation, we went around the room of 90 or so people, introducing ourselves and explaining what we did for a living. When they got to me, I decided to inject some humor and wake everyone up, so I said that I broke things for a living. It broke up the room and my nickname from then on became ‘Breaker‘.”
Breaking things for a living, eh? What the affable Adnan meant, and what he couldn’t explain to a roomful of fresh MBA students, because they wouldn’t know what he was talking about, was his expertise in hardware verification.
Adnan joined AMD in Austin, TX in 1992, after graduating from Princeton University with Bachelor of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. While at AMD, where he first worked for five years, he designed an automated test generator to ensure that the AMD microprocessor was fully compatible with Intel’s. This was a big responsibility, and was successfully implemented as well, leading to the AMD K7 processor and to its taking the market by storm when it debuted in 1999.
The early AMD K7 processors featured multiple superscalar integer and floating point units, higher bus speed (up to 400 MHz), larger L1 cache, multiprocessing (Ahtlon MP), and additional SIMD instructions. The AMD K7 was initially produced in June 1999 using 0.25 micron technology at speeds of 500 MHz.
Adnan left AMD to become a senior member of the consulting staff at Cadence, joining on the very day Joe Costello resigned in October, 1997. He stayed for three years as a system verification expert and worked with the Cadence sales team.
Next, Adnan rejoined AMD in 2000, for his second hitch, to become department manager of the AMD System Logic Division where he worked until starting Breker Verification Systems in 2003.
“When it came time to name our startup, we looked at loads of possible names, but kept coming back to "Breaker", my nickname, which we shortened by taking out the “a.”. Our first generation product is called “Trek,” for trekking icebergs. The names are simple, and memorable, and they’ve stuck.” said Adnan.
This Generation’s Marie and Pat Pistilli?
The M and P of MP Associates, Marie and Pat Pestilli, are now retired, but are fondly remembered as the duo that started the Design Automation Conference (DAC) nearly 50 years ago. Many say DAC spawned an EDA industry that’s still thriving today. Pat, the 2010 Phil Kaufman Award winner, was the talented engineer who left Bell Labs in 1984. to start MP Associatea with his spouse, Marie.
If vision, intelligence and energy are indicators, observers close to Breker feel that Adnan and his CFO spouse, Maheen, could possibly wind up as this generation’s Pat and Marie! After 10 years of success, Adnan’s well on his way to defining and building a new SoC Verification category within EDA...with Maheen’s able assistance, of course!
Maheen runs the business side of Breker, much like Marie at MP Associates. Maheen also has an MBA from the University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business, received in tandem with Adnan. With an investment banking and corporate finance background, she is a strong proponent of entrepreneurship as the way to bring broader change. She is a regular contributor to various business forums and also served as a Partner at Balanced Growth Consulting Partners. Since 1994, Maheen has been a Trustee at the ASHIC Foundation, a non-profit organization to help children living with cancer in Bangladesh (the Hamids’ native land).
Other key executives at Breker include Dave Johnson, Vice President of Sales and Customer Support; and Rick Nordin, Vice President of Business Development.
Dave brings more than 20 years of experience to Breker Verification Systems, most recently as owner and president of FirstShift Technologies, a company focused on sales and business development for startup EDA companies. Prior to starting FirstShift in 2006, Dave worked for a variety of EDA companies including Nascentric, Cadence, Neolinear, Avanti and Xynetix. At Neolinear, Dave held the Vice President of Sales position for 4 years, and he helped to successfully merge Neolinear into Cadence. Prior to his career in sales, Dave was an ASIC designer at VLSI Technology. Dave holds a BSEE from the University of Cincinnati; the EDA WEEKLY writer’s alma mater.
Rick Nordin, Vice President of Strategic Marketing, comes to Breker with a 19-year track record in EDA. Prior to joining the Breker team, he served as Marketing Director at Nascentric and at Silicon Design Systems, as sales manager for Circuit Semantics, as methodology consultant for Cadence, and as District Technical Manager for Synopsys. Rick began his engineering career as a hardware designer with AMD in Austin, Texas. Rick holds a BS degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.
Ms. Jayshree Desai, an EDA sales and business development specialist, is also a member of the Breker team.
The Business of Breaking Things
Breker sustained itself by doing contract work until it released its first product in 2007. The took time to understand the market and the kinds of verification solutions that the industry needed.
Since its founding, the Breker mission has never waivered: “To remove functional verification as the bottleneck for customer technological innovation and project schedules.”
Today, Breker considers itself The SoC Verification Company and the first EDA vendor to solve the functional verification challenges of complex SoC designs, something that “no other EDA company is addressing the way Breker is.”
Breker has 15 employees worldwide and has bootstrapped itself for many years. It raised a modest Series A fund in 2006, and has just closed Series B funding from non-US based venture capitalists .
According to Maheen, Breker carefully manages its cash flow and available resources, following the Lean Startup model espoused by Eric Ries  , even before Ries started writing about it. Their management approach has helped to build an EDA company in a non-traditional way –– agile and customer-value driven.
Are you getting the impression that Breker’s on a roll? The company will soon announce it closed calendar year 2011 with year-over-year growth of more than 150%!
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-- Russ Henke, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.